Commonly Used Property Description Terms


A written instrument that conveys an estate or interest in real property.


Party selling or conveying the property.


Party buying or receiving the conveyed property.

Joint Tenant or Joint Tenancy

Means two or more people own the property with right of survivorship. If one of the owners dies, the remaining owner(s) is automatically entitled to the property. The deed or document creating the joint tenancy must state this fact. If it doesn't, per Colorado state statute, the property is owned as "tenants in common" (see below).

Tenants in common

Means two or more people own the property together, but without right of survivorship. Owners each have a separate interest in the property, and that interest does not pass at death to the other owners. Rather, it is transferred to the heirs of the decedent owner. In this type of ownership, each person or party may own different amounts of undivided interest in the property.

Legal Description

Is a description of the property identifying it from all other property in the world. It may be a description of a lot, parcel or tract within a platted subdivision. It may also be described by a "metes and bounds" description.

  • Metes and bounds description is a way of describing a property that is not in a subdivision by using bearings and distances and may also use known attributes, such as a road, creek, other recorded documents and monuments in or on the ground. The surveyor writes these descriptions.
  • An address does not qualify as a legal description.

Subdivision or Plat

This is a survey that has gone through city or county planning processes and approvals for land to be divided into one or more parcels. The parcels are assigned numbers or letters for block, lot or tracts to identify them on the map. The plat is given a unique name and is recorded with the Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder's Office.