How to Figure Out the Lot Size of a Property

Check the Deed

One quick way to find out the acreage of your home property without doing any math is to check your deed. The number of acres a property contains is listed on the deed as part of the property’s description. If you’ve misplaced your deed, or you need the information quicker than the time it would take to find it, go to your county recorder’s or tax assessor’s website.

Deeds are public records. So, in most municipalities, you can look yours up (and anyone else’s) on one or both of these websites. You’ll need the property’s address to look up the deed.

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What to leave out

A good rule of thumb to ensure you’re taking proper measurements is to exclude space you can’t walk on or live in. These types of spaces do not count as “gross living area.”

“Someone might think, ‘If I get the measurement of my first floor and I have a two-story house, I just multiply that by two,’” Day says. However, if that first floor includes a two-story foyer, you can’t count the non-usable space.

Basements and garages, even if they are finished, don’t generally count toward total square footage. Basements are typically excluded because they are built below grade, meaning below ground level. If your state does allow basements to be included in the total square footage of a home, though, you’ll likely need an ingress and egress, or a safe way to enter and exit the basement to the outside.

Finished attic spaces — with some regulations, including ceiling heights — can count toward the total square footage of your home. If you are planning to sell your home, work with a real estate agent to craft a listing that accurately reflects your property.

Third option

The third option is to utilize an online service such as ‘FindLotSize’ or ‘DaftLogic’, which use Google Maps to find the location of your lot.

Then, you can use this same imagery to work out how big your lot is.

They can do this using the same functionality as Google Maps uses to measure the distance between your location and your destination.

All you have to do is find your lot using the address, and then you will be able to find out the measurements using the pictures.

9. Pacing

Even though pacing may not be the most accurate way of determining a lot area, it is a quick and easy way to figure out something that is close enough and where accuracy is not too important.

Pacing involves measuring the length of one of your steps, measuring the number of steps it takes to walk the site for both the length of the site and the width of the site, and then doing some basic math to calculate the area of the site.

Hire a Surveyor

If, after you’ve done your research and calculations, you still want to be absolutely certain about the acreage of your home, consider hiring a professional surveyor. If your property is of walkable size, the surveyor will use a theodolite and very long measuring tape, along with other tools to calculate your acreage. A theodolite is an instrument mounted on a tripod that can measure horizontal and vertical angles.

If your property is very big, the surveyor may use a drone to get accurate measurements. The cost of a professional land survey ranges from several hundred dollars to thousands of dollars depending on factors like the size and location of the land. But you’ll save money in the long run if you ever need the survey results for legal or financing purposes.

The only type of land survey that has any legal clout is one done by a professional surveyor. While step-by-step instructions on how to do your own survey are easy to find online, if a property dispute lands you in court, a DIY survey is meaningless. Professional survey results are also the only kind a bank will look at if you’re using your land as collateral to get a loan.

How to Find the Property Lot Size

If you aren’t sure about the lot size, annual tax updates and other state-generated information may provide the lot size along with the other relevant information. The public records office in your city or county also will have your original lot size on hand.

These are official departments, so you can be sure that you have the correct lot size to use in any legal capacity you may need.

12. Use the Pacing Method

Pacing is another interesting way of figuring out your lot size. However, the pacing method might not be the best option if you’re looking for accuracy. It’s a pretty easy and quick way to find out dimensions that are close enough, though. 

This method entails measuring the length of one of your steps then counting the number of steps required to walk the site (both the length and width). After getting all these dimensions, you proceed with doing some math to get the area. 

How many buildings can I construct per acre?

Taking an acre of land, for instance, traditionally you can build around five homes on your this acre.

This gives you approximately 8,600 square feet per home.

2. Use Online Services

Another interesting option you can adopt is the use of online services like DaftLogic. This online service makes use of Google maps to find the location of your lot. 

You’ll be able to discover how enormous your lot is by using this strategy. This could be accomplished by utilizing the same functionality as Google maps and finding out the distance between where you are and where you’re headed. 

You need to find your lot through the address, and then you can get the measurement through the use of pictures.

Warnings

  • Land is often sold XX acres, (+ or -), leaving the purchaser with less land than advertised.

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3. Subdivision Plat Map

For a property that is a part of a neighborhood subdivision, you should be able to obtain the actual area size of your lot from the overall subdivision plat map of the neighborhood. You could find your lot on this map and read the area of your parcel that should be labeled in the lot.

If your property is in a neighborhood that is still being constructed, a subdivision plat map should be easily available from the company who sold you your lot.

If the neighborhood is not still being constructed, you might be able to obtain a subdivision plan map from your local municipality.

Related: What Is a Subdivision Plat and Why Are Plats Important?

How Lot Size Is Calculated

To calculate your lot size, you need to know its value in square feet. After determining this, convert the plot size into acres and compare it to other land plots.

Here are the basic steps to calculating lot size:

Step 1

If the land plot is square or rectangular, the first thing to do is measure its length and width in feet.

If the plot is triangular, you can divide it into a series of right triangles. Once divided, measure the height and base for each right triangle.

Step 2

To get the area of a rectangular plot in square feet, multiply the length and the width. 

For example, if a rectangular plot has a length of 115 feet and a width of 120 feet, the lot size will be 13,800 square feet.

For triangular areas, multiply the base and height from Step 1 for each triangular section. Divide by 2. Then add the result for each triangle together. 

For example, a triangular plot is divided into right triangles A and B. A has a height of 40 feet and base of 20 feet, and B has height of 30 feet and base of 40 feet.

Area of A = (40 x 20) ÷ 2 = 400 square feet

Area of B = (30 x 40) ÷ 2 = 600 square feet

Total area of the triangular plot = 600 + 400 = 1000 square feet

Step 3

Divide the number obtained in Step 2 by 43,560. The number 43,560 is a constant used when converting square feet to acres.

From the above rectangular plot example, 13,800/43,560 would give you a lot size of 0.32 acres.

For the triangular plot example, 1000/43,560 = 0.023 acres.

Data Services

Services like DataTree and PropStream can be used to lookup properties in most areas of the U.S. and find parcel maps.

You can see how it works in DataTree here.

Want to check out DataTree? Get discounted pricing when you go through this signup page.

Even with how convenient DataTree is, it isn’t perfect. There will be some counties where the parcel maps either aren’t quite right, or the information isn’t even available.

Luckily, there is usually another reliable fallback option if you’re able to find the county’s GIS mapping system online.

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