Quinte, On. real estate agent: May 2010

Metes and Bounds

When I took the course to get my real estate license, there was one particular section that I struggled with a little. I have no idea why, because the concept seemed easy enough. Perhaps after years of not having studied too hard my brain was being a little lazy. I understood the principles of metes and bounds, but whenever I tried to put it into practice and work on an actual problem, as often as not I'd end up somewhere where I shouldn't be, certainly not back at the beginning.

To me, the whole system seemed somewaht archaic and I didn't think I'd ever have to use this knowledge. At the time I still had the vague impression that being a real estate agent entailed;

1)Meeting people at their house

2)Advising them to paint their walls neutral colours and tidy the place up a bit

3)Finding out what the house next door sold for last year

4)Add $5,000 to that price ($10,000 if it's been a good year)

5)Sign some papers and hammer a sign into their lawn

6)Field some phone calls, show the house, and eventually sell it.

Nowhere in the above procedures did I think I would have to figure out anything having to do with "metes and bounds", so I bargained with myself a little. If I studied everything else really hard and did well on the exam, I could afford to bugger up the metes and bounds questions.

Fast forward to yesterday.

I had to do a little leg work for a client (well - hopefully a client). He purchased a parcel of land back in 1979 which the county had sold because it had been in tax arrears.  He had some anecdotal knowledge that this parcel had once been three seperate acreages which had been merged into one, and he would like to sever the land back into the three parcels and sell two of them.  The problem is that he couldn't find a record of this, and he was beginning to think that maybe he had some false information. Initially I believed him to be wrong also, because the original land grant from the King in 1808 showed the parcel to be intact also. Obtaining a severance on this land might be difficult because it falls under the jurisdiction of a local conservation authority, so a historical precedent might help things along.

I went to the land registry office in Cobourg and did a search, going back instrument by instrument, each time the land had been bought and sold. I felt like I was a detective in a movie, and perhaps there should be some theme music in the background as the camera closed in on my sweaty face as I scanned the microfiche in the boiling hot basement of the Sir Sanford Fleming Building looking for that vital clue.

Sure enough, my client was correct. For a brief period in history the land actually had been severed into three seperate parcels before being merged into one again. There were no surveys that actually showed this, only tax arrears certificates (apparently lots of people had trouble paying the taxes on this land in the past), which descibe the lots using metes and bounds.

metes and bounds

I'm really hoping now that he wants someone else to figure out what these metes and bounds actually mean. So far every time I try to do it, I'm ending up in the middle of the Trent River.


Comment balloon 22 commentsMalcolm Johnston • May 29 2010 03:29PM
Metes and Bounds
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