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Legal Types of Property

To understand how land is subdivided in Texas, first you have determine what type of land you have. In Texas, there are two different kinds of property.

Unplatted Property

Raw land is generally known as, "unplatted" property.  The legal description for unplatted property is usually a, "metes and bounds" description.  In this type of description, a surveyor precisely describes in words the boundaries of the land.  Generally, you cannot obtain building permits or utilities for new construction on this type of property.

Platted Property

State law provides that anyone laying out a subdivision have prepared and approved by the appropriate local government, a plat.  A plat is a legal map of the property adopted by the owner and approved by the local government.  Once a plat is approved and recorded in the county courthouse, the lot number, block number and plat name becomes the official legal description of the property.   Even if your property is platted you may not be able to build or improve it if you own more than one lot or a partial lot.  Most cities will require a re-plat to combine all of your property into one whole lot.