When purchasing land, the unit of measurement typically used to measure size is acreage. But what if the seller uses square feet? How many feet are in an acre?
When you are starting to search for land to purchase, you may notice that land size is typically measured in acreage. However, where you are looking to purchase land is also important to consider. Also, the amount of land matters too. For example, maybe you are looking to purchase some hunting land in Canada? In that case, you may start to see measurements in hectares or square meters rather than square feet or acres. Or what if its smaller plots of land in the United States? Then it may not be uncommon to see land sold by the square foot. In that case, you may want to know how many feet are in an acre.
If you are wondering how many feet are in an acre, you should know that one acre of land equals 43,560 square feet. If you are looking for the metric equivalent, then you should know that one acre of land equals 4,047 square meters.
It is important that you not limit your knowledge of how land is measured when it is being surveyed and potentially plotted to be sold. As the acre is commonly used in the United States and the British Commonwealth, if you are looking to expand your land search internationally, you are going to need to familiarize yourself with all the different ways that land is measured to be bought and sold.
Let us take a look at the acre, its history, how it compares to other units of measurement in terms of size, and also explain all the different ways that land is measured when it is surveyed to be bought and sold.
Table of Contents
What is an acre?
The acre has an interesting history in how it came to be. In the Middle Ages, an acre was thought to be the amount of land that a single man with one team of oxen could plow in a single day. This may seem like an inconsistent way to measure land since one man could likely plow more or less than another, however, the difference was small enough that it was insignificant in the eyes of the tax collectors during the Middle Ages in England.
Later, a more exact measurement was formed that defined an acre to be one chain by one furlong. If a chain is equal to 66 feet and a furlong is equal to 10 chains, or 660 feet, then an acre is measured at 66 feet by 660 feet or 10 square chains. That means then that 66 feet by 660 feet are equal to 43,560 square feet. Sound confusing? Well, forget about chains and furlongs, in the modern area only acres and square feet are used to sell property in places where the imperial system is still used to this day.
Here is a quick breakdown of how one acre of land sizes up to other units of measurement.
- 1 acre = 66 x 660 feet or 43,560 square feet
- 1 acre = 4,840 square yards
- 1 acre = 0.404687261 hectare
- 1 acre = 4,046.8564224 square meters
As an acre is most commonly used for measuring the size of land for the purpose of sale, when it comes to properties like homes, industrial plants, and commercial properties, you may most likely encounter the property being sold in square feet. The building itself will be measured in square feet to give a buyer an idea of how much surface area, or living space, is actually within the walls of the structure. For example, the average size home in the United States is approximately 2,301 square feet. That is the average size of a single-family home typically occupied by a family of four.
What is a hectare?
If you are looking to purchase land outside of the United States or the British Commonwealth, then you may find that it is far more common to encounter the hectare or square meter than the acre. Sometimes the hectare can be used in the US as well if you are looking to purchase incredibly large amounts of land. Typically, this is done because one hectare contains 2.47 acres.
A hectare is an incredibly easy measurement to use, and arguably, many people prefer it over the acre simply because everything is divisible by 100, which is how the metric system works. For example, one hectare is equal to a 100 x 100-meter area or 10,000 square meters. If someone is looking to purchase one square kilometer of land, then they simply would need to purchase 100 hectares. The simplicity of the hectare is typically why it is used most often for international purchases are large amounts of farmland or land to be developed for specific purposes.
As the unit of measure for land in metric system countries is the hectares, homes and smaller plots of land, are typically measured in square meters. For example, in France, the average-sized home is 88 square meters and the average size new home is 113 square meters.
So, how are these units of measurement gathered when it is time to determine how large a plot of land is to be bought or sold? The act of measuring land to be plotted is called surveying and the person who does it as a profession is called a surveyor.
What is surveying?
The technical definition of surveying is the science of calculating two-dimensional and three-dimensional positions of points, distances, and angles on earth. Once the points are positioned, then a land surveyor can calculate the distance and angles between the points. This is how maps are made, boundaries are drawn, the land is plotted, and points are designated for construction projects. Surveying has been around since ancient times to help with many aspects of daily life as well as for project planning, transport, navigation, and more.
The main tools that are needed to properly survey in the modern world are the theodolite, measuring tape, GPS, a level, and a rod. You may have seen surveyors out when a new highway construction project is taking shape. The surveyor will mount the equipment on a tripod which they can carry through the field.
What industries heavily rely on surveyors and their skills?
Surveyors are instrumental in so many industries and daily operations for our society that they may often be overlooked as simply the people you see on the side of the highway during a road construction project. However, do not take them lightly, they are critical. The first and most obvious use of surveying is when land needs to be measured to be bought or sold. A surveyor can come and map out the property lines to ensure that the buyer, seller, and neighboring landowners are all on the same page when it comes to where the property lines are drawn. Surveying can be used to settle property line disputes as well. After that, these are some of the most common places surveyors make their largest impacts.
Before any construction can place on a plot of land or construction site, a surveyor needs to measure, secure, and investigate the site. All this information then is passed along to the engineers who are helping to design the structure, choose the materials, and decide where the most structurally sound place would be to break ground that would ensure the integrity and longevity of the structure.
Rail and highways
All rail, roads, bridges, and highways need surveying to ensure the route of the pathway is optimal and that tunnels are the correct size, roads are the correct width, basically every detail that matters to keep commuters safe each day as they pass through.
About THE AUTHOR
Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down because of COVID-19. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.Read More About Brittany Melling