Visualize your Tax Delinquent Property Using Plat Maps

Visualize your Tax Delinquent Property Using Plat Maps

Plat maps are important in tax lien property investment, especially when no clear address has been given to the property. As we all know they are illustrations that help us locate certain monuments in the area. This gives evidence of familiar landmarks. This is a way to identify if the property has road access or other rights of way. Knowing that kind of information can help you determine if that property you are looking to invest in has access to a public road, which is a legal requirement imposed by the government.

Plat maps visually provide you with important information pertaining to the property such as: property dimensions, shape and position. Most plat maps also point out landmarks. (like rivers, train tracks, roads, trails, and sometimes elevation). You can use a plat map to locate a street address or find the GPS coordinates if a parcel has none on record.

To obtain a plat map you will need first the APN (Assessors Parcel Number) or the property. This number is the county’s unique identifier for the property. Once you have this number check you see if your county has a website. Most counties allow you to search property records online. If your county does not offer their records online, then you can physically go to the Assessor’s office in your county that you have chosen to invest in and look up documents from there. But for now, let’s assume you can use the internet as your research tool, which I personally think is an absolute necessity in this business. You are well on your way to finding your property. Using the counties plat map search tool, type in your properties APN and pull up the plat map. This is usually accessed in a .pdf or .tiff file format.

The plat map that you pull will show you a bunch of parcels with identifying numbers or letters. Each parcel may have the dimensions printed beside them and may contain outlines of roads, landmarks, rivers, trails or tracks. Each county is different in the way they identify a property on the plat map, so check with your county on this, but as a general thumb rule most counties use the last digits of the APN number to identify the parcel. For instance if an APN number reads 380-477-058, then the on the plat map the property may be marked with a circled 058 number. Also look at your properties legal description if the legal reads “Lot 2 in Block A of the San Fernando River Subdivision” then you would need to pull the plat map for block A of the San Fernando Subdivision and look for the lot that has 2 printed on it.

Plat maps are official recorded documents that give you a visualization of the lots in any given area and they are invaluable when doing your due diligence before an investment purchase. For instance, you will be able to determine if you are investing in a one acre lot surrounded by large 40 and 80 acre parcels or a one acre lot next to one to two acre lots. Another great reason to view the plat map is that the plat map is that it gives you a quick overall view of the area. Properties zoned for residential use next to a train track may not be what you what to invest in and will probably significantly reduce your chances to sell the property later on. By taking a quick look at the properties plat map you should be able to weed out a lot of the parcels that you don’t want to buy. My favorite example though on why you should look at the plat map is that sometimes, although very rarely, you will come across parcels that are 1 acre however they are only 10 feet wide and 4356 feet long. This type of parcel is deceiving and if such a parcel is for sale in a great neighborhood for a very low price you maybe tempted to react in haste. But remember, Always view the plat map… in the above case you will be glad to have caught this junk property before you purchased it.


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