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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Home, Home on the Section, Township, Range

In colonial times, just after the Louisiana Purchase and smaller land acquisitions, the United States was faced with a major problem as to how to develop and describe the new land so
settlers could easily know who owned this real estate.  The government also wanted to encourage people to move West in order to homestead the newly acquired land.  This in turn would make the territory permanently part of the United States.  The Federal Government wanted to give land away to early pioneers daring enough to move, but this vast expanse of territory was lacking an adequate legal description in which this real estate could be conveyed from the government to individual landowners.

Along came Thomas Jefferson and others with the idea of the Public Land Survey System or PLSS.  This rather ingenious way of describing and surveying land was based on Meridians (Longitudinal lines) and Baselines (Latitudinal lines) lying within the United States.  Just about every modern legal description we use in the western United States, except in Texas, comes from this method of breaking up land into Sections, Townships and Ranges.

A Section is one square mile or 640 acres. A Township is designated either North or South depending on its position to a baseline.  Townships are six miles vertically.  A Range is
designated either East or West depending on its relation to a meridian line.  Ranges are six miles horizontally.  A permanent monument or marker is usually placed at each corner of a
section to designate its exact location.

In a given Township and Range there are 36 sections or 36 square miles which are contained in a six mile by six mile box.  Sections can also be broken down into Quarter Sections known as Northeast, Northwest, Southwest and Southeast.  All of these quarter sections are 160 acres, and can even be broken down further into quarter quarters of 40 acres and so on.  For
example, here in Thurston County we use the Willamette Meridian and Baseline.  A common designation would be the Northwest quarter of the Southwest quarter of Section 18, Township 17 North, Range 2 West of the Willamette Meridian.  This division would be 40 acres of land.

History was forever changed when the United States and its early settlers moved West.  With this new ability to describe land it became extremely easy to convey property from the
government to individual citizens.  This in turn encouraged early pioneers to move, knowing full well that they could have their very own piece of the American land pie.

Resources of unimaginable abundance were discovered along the way, especially here in the Northwest, along with a whole new coast used for the transportation of goods and services .  None of this would have been possible without first being able to come up with a legal way of describing these lands.  The idea of surveying the West by breaking it into Sections, Townships and Ranges, dramatically increased the speed at which this new land could be settled.  Without encouraging settlers to homestead the West, the United States would never have become the nation it is today.

Author: Unknown. Many thanks to Kari E. Hayes of Thurston County Title Company, Olympia.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Don't Let Summer Pass You By

Now's the time: check out these sweet deals on truly exceptional waterfront estates in the beautiful pacific northwest:

To schedule a showing, call Jim 360-870-6767 or Anya 360-870-5191 today!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Just Unveiled: New Explanation of Cost Valuation Report for Thurston County Real Estate

Time and time again, as REALTORS, we hear the age old statement "But my property is assessed for $X".  While you might see this figure as good, or bad, our recently appointed Thurston County Assessor, Mr. Steven J. Drew, offered a detailed explanation of the work he and his team have accomplished since taking office January 2011.  To read his letter, click here.

You may have recently received a postcard from the Thurston County Assessor's Office with the upcoming tax year assessed value on your real estate.  I encourage you to read Mr. Drew's new Cost Valuation Report online.  To do so:

  1. go to and locate your property by parcel search or property address
  2. once found, click on the parcel number at the right of the page
  3. this page will take you to your property's home page with numerous tabs; the 5th tab on the second row is 'NEW! Cost Val Rpt' - please select this tab
I'm hopeful you'll find this information helpful.  One step further, should you be curious about how property taxes are determined in Thurston County, you'll want to click here.

And as always, contact Jim & Anya for all your real estate needs.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Six Keys to Farm Land Value

photo courtesy of Jerry Lasky photos
Farmland investment income rests on crop production for much of its return on investment.  What makes for a productive farm?

  • Soil quality
  • Fertilizer requirements
  • Percentage of tillable land
  • Water availability and control
  • Topography
  • Proximity to transportation
As always, call me, your personal REALTOR when looking to invest in real estate: 360-870-5191.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Today & Tomorrow: The 2011 Big Home & Garden Show in Olympia

The Olympia Master Builder’s Home and Garden Show is this weekend, September 10th and 11th at Saint Martin’s University on Pacific Avenue in Lacey.  

Click here for your printable coupon to enter the 2011 BIG Home & Garden Show!

Olympia Federal Savings & Loan will have a discount coupon, available only at the home show, for an owner occupied home purchase or construction of a green home which gives ½% off the loan rate!  This could be big savings!