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Measuring and Calculating Acreage - How to Calculate Acreage

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Created on Wednesday, December 30, 2015
Updated on Monday, February 26, 2018
by Land Century

When you buy a piece of property, one of the most important things is the amount of acreage that is available. Calculating the size of your land parcel is a process that is normally left to a professional. You may hire a surveyor to undertake the job, but you can also do this yourself given a lot of time and patience.

Whether you just want to know how to do it out of curiosity or are looking for high acreage property, it’s very important for anyone that invests in land to know how to calculate acreage appropriately.

I want to mention that there are many calculators that can help you online, including:

* CSG Network
* The Calculator Site

You’ll also find many other neat tools that will work when you have a basic understanding of how many square feet the land is after your own calculations.

But to get started, you’ll need to follow a few steps.

1. Measure the Length of the Land

Find the border of your parcel of land, and begin to measure. In most cases, this is done by yards or meters, but feet will also work perfectly. The length will indicate the longest dimension of the property, and you want to use a measurement tool. Several measurement tools exist, and you can utilize a laser distance meter, which is your best option. A surveyor wheel will also do the job well. If the land is square, you’ll need to make one measurement, and then you’ll move on to further steps. Land that is rectangular in shape will require more steps as follows.

2. Measure the Width of the Land

The width of the land will follow the same basic idea as step one. You’ll need to measure the edge of the land that is shortest. You’ll use the same exact tool that you would use in step one to complete this process. In technical terms, the width can be noted as the “breadth.”

3. Squaring Your Measurement

Making note of your land in feet is needed to perform the proper calculations to understand acreage. If you’ve used meters or yards, you’ll can convert them to feet using the following equations:

- Meters to Feet: Number of Meters * 3.28084 = Feet
- Yards to Feet: Number of Yards * 3 = Feet

But you don’t need to do this as long as the measurements are all done using the same measurement method. You can’t have the width in feet and the length in meters. If both of your measurements are using the same unit of measurement, you can skip calculations.

These are both simple equations that anyone can use to convert these measurements. Remember that you want to be as precise as possible, meaning that you need to include the decimal points wherever possible. Now that you have the approximate number of feet for both your width and length of the property, you will be able to enter these numbers into the following equation:

Width * Length

An example of this would be a width of 700 feet and a length of 800 feet. Using the equation above, we would multiply 700 * 800, which would come out to 560,000. This is the total amount of square feet that you have, and that number will then be converted into acreage. You now understand the area of your property.

Note: We simplified the process by converting meters and yards to feet. But you can choose not to do this if you don’t want to. We’ll be going forward discussing how to convert these measurements into acres for yards, feet and square meters.

4. Converting Your Measurements to Acreage

The next step in the process is to understand how many acres there are in each respective unit of measurement. Keeping your total land size from the previous calculation, you want to make note of the following:

* 1 acre = 43,560 square feet
* 1 acre = 4,840 square yards
* 1 acre = 4046.8564 square meters

These figures will now be used in the following equation: total acreage = total size / acreage conversion rate. This is all the information that you need to accurately calculate the amount of acreage that you have. Working through an example, we'll use the same figures that we presented to you earlier: 700 feet width and 800 feet length.

- 700 * 800 = 560,000 square feet
- 560,000 square feet / 43560 = 12.85

The total amount of acreage that you would have using the figures above is 12.85 acres. Keep in mind that this is all for a lot that is not irregular. When dealing with an irregular lot, we highly recommend that you hire a professional surveyor that has been through the process before.

Professionally Calculated Acreage

In virtually all cases, it’s much better to hire professional surveyor to calculate the amount of acres that you have. You never want to undergo the process on your own if you’re going to invest a lot of money in your land and don’t have a lot of experience in measuring acreage.

A survey will also help you determine the basic geography of the land and other pertinent information. Most sellers will provide a recent survey of the land so that you know exactly how much acreage is available. You’ll also want a surveyor to pinpoint where your land borders are so that you do not utilize property that is not your own legally.

Anyone that is selling land needs to know the exact amount of acreage they have. Adding just .5 acres more to your lot can have a significant impact on the price. While it may be difficult to miscalculate acreage for a regular lot (square or rectangular), it's very easy to overlook acreage on an irregular lot.

If you’re a buyer, having a recent survey done will give you peace of mind in knowing that the land that you are buying is listed appropriately. The last thing you want to do is buy a property that states it is 12 acres of land, only to find out that it was miscalculated and you spent more money than necessary.
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