A property plat is used by land developers, especially when it comes to subdividing a tract of raw land. The plat is a type of property map, and it will describe every characteristic of a piece of land, from its size to its boundaries, and any roads or real property on the land. The plat uses metes and bounds to describe the boundaries.
Understanding plats can help you understand rights that you may have as a landowner, especially if you intend on developing or dividing the land.
Metes and Bounds: An App for Plats
People looking for an app such as Metes and Bounds to draw plats likely want easy entry of the calls from a legal description. It's useful for the app to draw out the parcel, verify acreage or square footage, and allow the user to export the data or email it out of the app.
Fast Data Entry
A tester chose to test an entry for a lengthy legal description of a land parcel of around 30 acres in size, and entered 25 calls from the legal description, all something like this: N 44 deg 30' 25", 231.25 feet.
In the app, 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 the tester's first time to use the software.
The Lines Didn't Close! Data Errors
For this first experience, the tester 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, the tester knew there wasn't supposed to be a problem with this parcel.
But, there was an issue with the entries made into the app. The tester hadn't made an error, but the legal description they were 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.
The App Creates a Drawing
The app created the drawing for the tester, and once he corrected the length entry that was in error, the lines closed at the point of beginning, and all was well. The app provided 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. A user can email out the calls and also the drawing, so they 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 $69.95 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.
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 and its underlying 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.