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Lyman J. (Greg) Gregory, III



90 Southside Avenue,

Ste 100

Asheville, NC 28801

90 Southside Avenue Suite 100


90 Southside Avenue Suite 100

A Legal Moment

The Importance of Property Descriptions


        I currently have a case that prompts me to write about one of the basic elements of real estate contracting - the legal description of the property.  Here are the facts.

        A developer plats a new subdivision for Happy Acres in Plat Book 500 at Page 10,  and starts selling lots.  In both the MLS and all contracts, the listing broker identifies each lot as "Lot #, Happy Acres Subdivision," and does not include a reference to the plat book and page.  During construction of homes, the developer must alter the boundaries of three lots in order to provide enough room for the driveway on Lot 101.  To do so, she records an amended plat in Plat Book 500 at Page 72.

        Over the next couple of months, the developer, using her broker's descriptions, contracts to sell Lots 99, 100, and 101.  The lots close in the following order with the following descriptions:

        "Lot 101, Plat Book 500 at Page 72" - the new plat

        "Lot 99, Plat Book 500 at Page 10" - the old plat

        "Lot 100, Plat Book 500 at Page 72" - the new plat.

        The result is that Lots 99 and 100 overlap by three feet.  The listing broker initiated this problem with a lack of precision in the listing and contracting descriptions.  Neither the selling brokers nor the developer's or buyers' attorneys for Lots 99 and 100 caught the problem.  There are now pending title insurance claims, possible litigation, and possible reports to broker and attorney malpractice insurance carriers.

         The listing broker could have avoided this problem for all parties by using a plat book and page reference instead of the name of the subdivision.  I suggest you, as brokers, pay very careful attention to the property descriptions in contracts when listing or making an offer.

        In the next issue, I will address the legal reliability of various property descriptions under North Carolina law.



Do not hesitate to contact me to receive more information on this topic or to suggest topics for future editions of 'A Legal Moment'. You may not rely on this content as legal advice for any specific situation, but should instead contact an attorney for specific advice.

Marshall, Roth & Gregory, P.C. • 90 Southside Avenue Suite 100 • Asheville, NC 28801
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