A real estate deed contains a legal description of the land conveyed. That land can be split into two separate parcels and then conveyed as two deeds. The process of splitting a deed into two deeds does take time and money. In most cases, it requires a survey of both parcels and approval from the appropriate governmental agencies. Deeds are prepared and recorded along with the surveys.
Division of Land
It's up to the owner of the land to decide whether, and how, to divide the property. The main consideration is the presence of existing easements and structures, as these may affect where the new land boundaries go. Each parcel must have access to a public right-of-way or the owner will not be able to access their land. Alternatively, you can create a new right of way over the land you are retaining. You'll need an attorney to draft this for you.
The owner then meets with a surveyor and explains the proposed division. They may meet on the land so the surveyor can see how the owner wants the land divided. Walking on the property is a good way for the owner and surveyor to discuss the division.
Dividing the Land Requires a Survey
The surveyor takes the directions from the owner and prepares two separate legal descriptions. These descriptions are the result of the field work in making accurate measurements of all boundary lines. Each description is drawn on a plat that meets the requirements for approval by all necessary governmental agencies. The play, or plan, will be attached to the new deed to show exactly where the boundaries are and which land you have sold.
In addition, each plat is ready to be recorded once all the approvals are obtained. If the surveyor encounters any problems, he advises the owner so any necessary adjustments can be made.
Governmental Approval Requirements
The extent of governmental approval varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In general, the concerns involve the size of each parcel, access to public right-of-way and are any zoning problems. If you're selling the land for residential development, then each parcel must be large enough to accommodate a home or other structure. Its access must not create a safety problem with the highway system. The two new parcels need to be in compliance with all zoning regulations.
Preparation and Recording of Deeds
Once the surveys have been approved and signed off by all the required government agencies, the surveyor will deliver them and the legal descriptions of each parcel to an attorney. The lawyer drafts two deeds using the names provided by the owner. These deeds are signed as part of the closing process when the balance of the purchase price will change hands (or more accurately, bank accounts).
The lawyer records the deeds and surveys in the appropriate recording office of land documents. One deed has now been split into two deeds, each with its own folio number. Anyone searching the public records will be able to see that the parcel is now divided into two legal lots.
It's perfectly possible to split a deeded real estate title into two or more lots and sell them off to different owners, thus creating two or more new deeds.
Robert Alley has been a freelance writer since 2008. He has covered a variety of subjects, including science and sports, for various websites. He has a Bachelor of Arts in economics from North Carolina State University and a Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina.