Use Metes and Bounds App to Draw Plats from Legal Descriptions
What I wanted from an app like this:
First and topmost, I wanted easy entry of the calls from a legal description. Then I wanted the app to draw out the parcel, verify acreage or square footage, and allow me to export the data or email it out of the app. Here's the app for the iOS. Here's the app for Android.
Data Entry Was Really Fast:
I chose a lengthy legal description of a land parcel of around 30 acres in size. I entered 25 calls from the legal description, all something like this: N 44 deg 30' 25", 231.25 feet.
The N, S, E and W entries are just buttons for each, and the degrees minutes and seconds are typed in from the number keypad that pops up when you tap on the box where you need to enter the number. It was easy to enter the 25 calls in about 10 minutes, even though it was my first time to use the software.
The Lines Didn't Close!
For this first experience, I was ready to blame the app when the final leg of the property didn't close at the POB, Point of Beginning. There was a gap. Since there had already been an ILR (Improvement Location Report) done, I knew there wasn't supposed to be a problem with this parcel. But, there was with my entries. I hadn't made an error, as the legal description I was using from the title binder had a typo. One length was shown as 12.5 feet, when it was supposed to be 72.5 feet. That's where the drawing failed to close the points with a 60 foot gap.
Another great story was when I decided to show the app to another broker. She had a listing of a small acreage land parcel. I input the description calls and everything worked, but the plat showed the parcel to be 1100 acres! Apparently the deed and description she was given was for a larger parcel of which her listing was a part. I think she got the app the next day!
Creates a drawing:
The app created the drawing for me, and once I corrected the length entry that was in error, the lines closed at the point of beginning, and all was well. The app gave me the parcel square footage and acreage as well. If for no other use than checking legal descriptions, this is a very useful app for $4.99. I could email out the calls and also the drawing, so could use this to provide a client with basic information about a parcel.
Export to desktop software for a lot more power:
While you can't do a whole lot more within the app, you can export out the data via an email attachment. The desktop version of the software (different levels of options up to $69 for Pro), opens the attachment and you can then do a lot of labeling and formatting of the data to produce a more professional-looking report.
I haven't figured out how yet, but you can also overlay your plat on a topo map and send a KML file to place it on a Google Earth map as well. Today's buyers and sellers are really very tech-savvy. You'll stand out as a professional using tools like these.
At the least, useful - At the most a valuable tool:
If all you need to do is check legal descriptions to see if they plat out correctly, or if you have a legal and no survey or plat, this app at $4.99 is a real value. You can take just a few minutes and show your client the shape of the parcel.
If you want to do more, especially as a rural listing agent, this app & software is amazing. If you don't have the GPS coordinates for the point of beginning, you may be able to go out to the property with a GPS device and get them. Once you have them, you can then create a file that will show the plat on a topo map or on Google Earth. This should really impress the seller, as you're going to place this info on the Web so interested buyers can see the property's shape and dimensions on the map.