Metes and Bounds Legal Description Explained

By
Commercial Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto)

baseball field

Metes and Bounds Legal Description Explained

Ontario Real Estate Source

By Brian Madigan LL.B.

I see that many real estate professionals continue to experience difficulty understanding "metes and bounds".

So, here's a simple way to approach the subject. I'm going to ask you to describe a certain location. But first, I'm going to give you some directions so that you can find it:

1)              you are going to start at a point

2)              then you are going to travel due south in a straight line, 210 feet,

3)              then you are going to make a right turn ( a 90 degree right turn)

4)              then you are going to travel a distance of 90 feet to a point,

5)              then you are going to make a left turn ( a 90 degree left turn)

6)              then you are going to travel a distance of 90 feet to a point,

7)              then you are going to make a left turn ( a 90 degree left turn)

8)              then you are going to travel a distance of 90 feet to a point,

9)              then you are going to make a left turn ( a 90 degree left turn)

10)          then you are going to travel a distance of 90 feet to a point,

11)          now, you are back to the point where you started

However, you still don't know where you are!

I need to tell you that #1 was the right field foul pole at SkyDome

Now you know that you just ran around the infield.

Where you are dealing with metes and bounds, there are two significant points:

1)    the reference point, and

2)    the point of commencement.

Most of the time, when there is some confusion in the understanding of a description, these two points get mixed up in some way.

The reference point is the right field foul pole, and the point of commencement is first base. You were told to start out at the foul pole and go to first. Once you got there, you were told to go to second, third, home and then back to first, the point of commencement.

The rectangle, square or diamond enclosing the infield is the lot. And remember, you started at first, the point of commencement and travelled back to first, again the point of commencement. The course you travelled encircled the lot.

Don't get confused and think you had to go back to the foul pole. That was the reference point, not the point of commencement.  You would have no idea where you were without knowing that we were talking about the foul pole at SkyDome.

So, what do they call the foul pole in real life? Probably, the northeast corner of Concession lot 7.

Here we are talking about a description of a piece of property in Concession lot 7. The other side of the street is Concession Lot 8 and it's 66 feet away. The northeast corner will be the upper right corner of this entire Concession Lot.

Also, a Concession Lot is one and one quarter miles wide by one and one quarter miles long. Inside, you will find that it is exactly 200 acres. Around the edge will be a road 66 feet wide, before you get to the next Lot.

Ever wonder how far away the main streets are in the City of Toronto: Yonge, Spadina, Bathurst, Dufferin, Keele, and Jane? One and one quarter miles!

So, let's go back to Concession Lot 7 and imagine a piece of paper:

Top right corner:        northeast corner of the Concession lot

Bottom right corner:   southeast corner of the Concession lot

Bottom left corner:     southwest corner of the Concession lot

Top left corner:          northwest corner of the Concession lot

The reference point will be the northeast corner of the Concession Lot 7. Imagine Bloor Street or Eglinton Ave, or Lawrence or Steeles as the eastwest boundaries. Remember, the one and one quarter mile distance.

For the sake of our example, let's assume that the northeast corner of our imaginary lot is at the intersection of Yonge and Bloor. Here, Bloor is the north boundary and Yonge is the east boundary. Your reference point will have to be at the corner on the south side of Bloor, and the west side of Yonge. If you go to the east side of Yonge (66 feet away), you are now in the northwest corner of Lot 8. The reference point is very important.

1)         you are going to start at a point (northeast corner of Lot 7)

2)         then you are going to travel due south along Yonge in a straight line, 210 feet,

3)         then you are going to make a right turn ( a 90 degree right turn)

4)         then you are going to travel due west a distance of 90 feet to a point,

5)         then you are going to make a left turn ( a 90 degree left turn)

6)         then you are going to travel due south (parallel to Yonge)  a distance of 90 feet to a point,

7)         then you are going to make a left turn ( a 90 degree left turn),

8)         then you are going to travel due east (parallel to Bloor)  a distance of 90 feet to a point,

9)         then you are going to make a left turn ( a 90 degree left turn),

10)       then you are going to travel due north along Yonge  a distance of 90 feet to a point,

11)       now, you are back to the point where you started.

Really, that's just about all there is when you are considering a metes and bounds description. Very old descriptions referred to oak trees and so on. Naturally as time went by, they really weren't good reference points.

Sorry, I can't help you if you are a soccer fan!

Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker is an author and commentator on real estate matters, if you are interested in residential or commercial properties in Mississauga, Toronto or the GTA, or you would like a free market evaluation of your home in Erin Mills, Credit Mills, Credit Woodlands, Sheridan Homelands, Sawmill Valley, Bridlepath, Pheasant Run, Sherwood Forrest or Mississauga Oakridge, you may contact him through Royal LePage Innovators Realty, Brokerage 905-796-8888
www.OntarioRealEstateSource.com

 

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Show All Comments
Rainmaker
967,956
Edward & Celia Maddox
Solutions Real Estate - Queen Creek, AZ
We Take The High Road

Great explanation and example of meters and bounds.

April 16, 2011 11:38 AM #1
Rainmaker
795,743
David Spencer
Keller Williams Team Realty - Bloomingdale, IL
Chicago Area Commercial-Residential R.E.

Good explanation; however Metes & Bounds description are read clockwise. you would have to go to 3rd base first.

April 16, 2011 12:14 PM #2
Rainmaker
563,924
Chris Smith
Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage - New Tecumseth, ON
South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta

Brian, finally a topic I have always felt comfortable with... so many of my friends over the years have fretted over deed's with metes and bounds description, and most realtors do not touch it after segment 2 (or whatever they are calling it now).  I love the challenge of deciphering them (the penmanship usually seems so formal =)

April 16, 2011 05:13 PM #3
Rainmaker
895,352
Brian Madigan
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto) - Toronto, ON
LL.B., Broker

David,

Good point. In Ontario, most but not all metes and bounds descriptions will be clockwise.

That would then be 300 feet to home, 3rd, 2nd, 1st and back to home.

Brian

April 16, 2011 05:39 PM #4
Rainmaker
447,863
Malcolm Johnston
Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario - Trenton, ON
Trenton Real Estate

Once we get a bit of experience with metes and bounds it becomes a bit simpler to deal with.

April 17, 2011 10:22 AM #5
Anonymous
Anonymous
Monica Vivian

I still do not understand Metes and bounds...i've been searching the internet for hours and it doesnt get any easier. i feel like everyone understands it but me.

September 01, 2012 02:01 PM #6
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Brian Madigan

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