What is a Plat Map?

Plat MapDuring your research into a parcel of investment land for sale you have probably run across the term “plat” associated with it.  Plat is a term for a survey of a piece of land to identify boundaries, easements, flood zones, roadway, and access rights of way.  It is the legal description of a specific piece of real property and is required if land is to subdivided for building homes, creating parks, and setting aside rights of way.  Any change to the plat creates a replat which is still a plat.

This makes it sound like every piece of land is platted but that isn’t the case.  Platting only occurs in subdivided land and finding out if your property is platted is pretty simple.  If the deed describes the land by lot numbers within a subdivision, it has been platted.  If the land is described using metes and bounds, it has not been platted nor subdivided.

When you are purchasing property the title company will often include a plat map of the subdivision and parcel with the preliminary title paperwork.  This is very important to read and keep for future development on that property and to learn exactly where easements and other set asides are placed to eliminate any future headaches and extra work if the municipality comes in with a new roadway or utilities.

The plat map provides you with a tract number and probably the name of the subdivision itself if the builder has given one.  The lot numbers for each parcel in the subdivision will be shown along with the approximate lot dimensions.  The plat map shows you the shape of the parcel, an especially good piece of information if it is irregular.  Pie shaped and many sided parcels may have been carved out depending on the shape of the original investment real estate.  The plat map gives approximate dimensions, great to know for sellers and buyers.  The plat map also includes the builder’s lot number and a parcel number assigned by the county assessor’s office.

The definition of a plat pretty much tells you why plats are used.  The term is a way to describe land in a way commonly used across not only the real estate and building industry, but also for legal purposes. Most states and local jurisdictions require subdivided lots to be platted prior to building or sale.  As you may have guessed, platting has fees associated with it.

Understanding plats is one of the most basic requirements of dealing in real estate.  The plat tells you exactly what you are buying, what you have to sell, and what to take into account while planning the development of that lot.  To learn more about plat maps give Gratia Group a call at (239) 333-2221.


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