When you buy a new home, your property description may include four elements: site, buildings, fixtures and personal property. It’s vital to clearly define each of these sections in your purchase and sale agreement. If you provide an incomplete property description, you may not get what you think you’re getting when you buy a home. A thorough property description that details the site tells you exactly what you’re getting, and prevents the seller from making any last minute changes or substitutions. When you’re writing a property description for your home site, these are the things you need to consider:
Every property has a legal description, by which it is recorded in the registry of deeds and assessed for land use. The legal description typically includes things like plot number, property address, current owner, and prior recording information.
A copy of the plot plan can help you identify your property’s size and shape. What seems like a large tract of open land may in reality be only a small, oddly-shaped sliver of what you see; the plot plan will reveal that.
Site Dimensions and Boundaries
The site dimensions and boundaries are crucial when you’re considering buying a home. Again, you may think that what appears to be a large open space is a great buy, but you may actually be buying only a small portion of what you see. Site dimensions and boundaries can tell you if the fence belongs to you or your neighbor, and alert you to encroachment issues that can be quite costly down the road. If you’re worried about encroachment issues, have a survey done to get a real assessment of the site dimensions and boundaries.
The size of the property is something you can derive from the site dimensions and boundaries, but it still helps to put it in writing. You may look at an ad that says the property is close to an acre, but the seller may be more accurate in the contract and you could discover that the property is only a third of an acre. Including size in the contract helps avoid disputes later.
You may want to walk the property and take note of any plantings on the site. It’s not beyond some homeowners to remove valuable plants; some small trees and large bushes may be valued at hundreds of dollars. Don’t assume that the landscaping you see is what you’ll get; put it in writing in the site description.