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Legal description, tax description, Parcel ID? What are these different descriptions and how does a surveyor know which to use?

When you buy real estate the description on your deed tells you what you bought. It is called the legal description, or sometimes the deed description. The surveyor uses this description to locate your land boundaries. Deeds are found in the Cook County Recorder’s Office at the county courthouse in Grand Marais.

The tax assessor will put a description on your tax bill. Usually it is a shortened version of the legal description. It’s there so you will know what piece of land you are paying taxes on, but it’s not the legal description that describes what you own. What you own is described on your deed.

The Parcel ID is also used by the tax assessor to keep track of which property is which. 

For properties which have been bought or sold within the last 20 years or so, we can use the Parcel ID to find your deed at the courthouse. Then we will use the legal description from your deed to survey your boundary.

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