What is a Plat?
A plat shows how a piece of land is divided into lots and usually shows information including setbacks, coordinates, and easements. The Office of Mapping and Geographic Information receives preliminary subdivision plats to assign street addresses or adjust parcel boundaries. These plats show the metes and bounds of multiple lots and do not typically show building footprints or other ground features.
Plats are often requested by the Department of Building & Development or HOAs for building permits.
Plat vs. Survey
A plat is not the same as a survey and the county does not have or perform individual property surveys. Surveys are performed by independent, state-licensed land surveyors and are often required or offered during the home buying process as part of the closing documentation. Surveys typically show the property with locations of ground features and improvements, such as buildings, fences, water features, and driveways. The title company may be able to provide copies of closing documents.
However, surveys are not included with the required documents that are legally recorded at the Clerk of the Circuit Court when there is a change in real property ownership.
If you decide to have your property surveyed, you will need to hire an independently licensed surveyor. You can check surveyor records through the VA Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation. There are different survey types with varying levels of detail and price ranges, a surveyor will be able to explain the options and make sure that it meets the HOA’s or other requirements.
Obtaining Copies of Plats
The Office of Mapping and Geographic Information has most subdivision plats for properties located within the county and outside of the incorporated towns. Please fill out the Plat Request Form with your property address or parcel identification number (also called PIN or MCPI). We will respond within two business days and will send a pdf copy of the subdivision plat, if available.
If you need plats for more than 5 parcels, please contact our office at 703-771-5778 or send us an email to discuss your needs and how to send us a comprehensive list of parcels. Please do not submit large batches of plat request forms, your requests will not be fulfilled and we will email you to ask for more information.
The Clerk of the Circuit Court Land Records can provide copies of the deed and any other documents that have been legally recorded for a property for a small fee ($0.50/page). If you call ahead or email, they will check their records and give you a page count. It is helpful if you provide the property’s PIN and/or tax map number for their research. Payment can be made over the phone by credit card and records emailed, or you may request printed copies by mail.