How to Subdivide a Lot & Refinance

Subdividing your lot requires the expertise of a professional surveyor.

Subdividing your lot requires the expertise of a professional surveyor.

You want to build your dream house, but your land has more space than you need. Subdividing your land and selling the extra acreage means unloading excess land and earning some extra construction cash. As long as you talk with your lender and send formal letters to track your subdivision actions, you should have few problems working out lending to sell the extra parcel and still keep your financing. Be careful — failing to inform your lender of your plans means the bank could call your loan, which means it would ask you to immediately pay the full amount of the loan.

Buy a title report with a map of your land issued by a title insurance company. If your land is a recent purchase, the title report supplied in escrow has current land information.

Obtain a map of your parcel from your county or town assessor's office. This shows the legal boundaries for your property, as recognized by the tax office.

Study the title report and look at the county appraiser's documents for your land to make sure the boundaries and easements match on both documents.

Read your neighborhood association guidelines, if you have any, to determine the regulations for your property and any roadblocks to subdividing your land.

Talk with your state department of natural resources and county zoning board, tax appraiser and planning board to determine if subdividing your land is possible. Ask each group for specific legal guidelines for dividing your parcel.

Notify your lender of your intent to subdivide the land.

Hire a licensed surveyor to measure the land boundaries and divide the parcels according to your subdivision plans, once your lender gives you approval.

Create a map for the two parcels meeting the guidelines for your state and county assessors and planning and zoning boards.

Apply to the appropriate local board or office for tentative approval of the subdivision and pay the required fees. This typically requires the grant deed and copies of the surveyor's report.

Take out announcements in a local newspaper and post subdivision signs on the property, if required by local laws.

Attend the public hearing, if required by law, to present your changes and defend the subdivision application.

Hire the surveyor to draw the final plat map.

Record the final plat map with the county recorder, court clerk or county commission and pay the filing fees.

Obtain separate deeds and titles for the two parcels.

Submit your new plat map, parcel and titles numbers, and copies of your original loan to your lender to refinance or modify your loan. If the original loan is more than a few months old, the lender needs current proof of employment, income and credit information to assess your financial situation.


  • Chat with any neighbors surrounding your land. Neighbors are less likely to oppose a subdivision when you approach the group on a personal level.


  • Easements used for transportation or utilities can't be used for construction.

About the Author

Lee Grayson has worked as a freelance writer since 2000. Her articles have appeared in publications for Oxford and Harvard University presses and research publishers, including Facts On File and ABC-CLIO. Grayson holds certificates from the University of California campuses at Irvine and San Diego.

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