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What is a Plat? And what should I know as a home buyer?

What is a plat?

A plat is another name for a subdivision. For example, Fircrest is a well known city of about 6,000 near Tacoma. Residents know that Fircrest is not just one neighborhood, but a combination of many unique, smaller communities. And usually, these neighborhoods are named from a subdivision, or plat, that defines the land within a specific area. So, Fircrest residents may think of their particular neighborhood as Fir Tree Park, Linden Manor, Regents Park, or Monterey Park. Each of these ‘neighborhoods’ started as a ‘plat’ or ‘subdivision.’

Seeing a copy of the plat is important because it provides information that may not be recorded anywhere else. Often ‘the plat’ provides specific locations of lots and other features in a visual way on the survey map. Seeing an easement drawn on a map is easier for most of us to understand than reading the legal description would be. Also, a plat creates simple and logical legal descriptions for lots which are far less prone to error or misinterpretation than are metes and bounds legals.

Plat Map Markers

Click to Download the Interactive Plat Map

5 benefits or restrictions you may see on the face of the plat (download interactive map):

  1. Utility easements: can be for power, water, sewer, phones, cable
  2. Access easements
  3. Greenbelts, Native Growth Protection Easement/Area (NGPE/NGPA) open space
  4. Recreation areas: some plats contain features like playgrounds or bridle trails
  5. Monuments and dimensions for measuring and identifying lot boundaries

The notes section or the map may contain valuable information about:

  • Who is responsible for maintenance of common areas
  • Who can use specific tracts and for what purpose
  • Which tracts will remain as greenbelts and which are designated for future development

Do you have questions about a particular plat? Need some help, understanding some of the important items on a plat? Ticor Property Information Specialists are at your service!

Click here to download the interactive plat map.

Ticor Email for Property Info: cs.wa@ticortitle.com
Ticor Seattle / Renton: 206-720-6969 / 425-255-6969
Ticor Bellevue: 425-467-0377
Ticor Puyallup / Pierce County: 253-383-0055
Ticor International: 425-204-5113

Note: Some charges may apply, in accordance with Washington State Insurance Commissioner Guidelines, but profile, map and deed are always free.

*Correction 4-26-2011 – Fircrest is a city near Tacoma, not a neighborhood in Tacoma.

4 Comments
  1. One small point of contention: Fircrest is a city, not a part of Tacoma.

  2. Thank you for pointing that out, Michael. We will make the correction post haste. Our apologies to the City of Fircrest!

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