If you own land, how far above and below do you own?

Is building a house on your land worth it?

Owning a piece of land that’s away from the trappings of everyday life is an appealing dream for many folks, and why wouldn’t it be? You can create your little utopia precisely the way you want it to be instead of living in a cookie-cutter home that’s most likely governed by an HOA.

The cost of building on your land doesn’t have to be expensive. You can build a cozy cottage for as little as $24,000. If you want to live in a log cabin, there are affordable kits that include everything that you need (minus utility hookups). You could even build a concrete house in the middle of Tornado Alley for a reasonable price and know that’ll be virtually indestructible!

When it comes to choosing what type of house to build on your land, you need to consider the desired square footage, the location of your property, and the regional cost of labor and materials. Of course, if you’re a handy person, you could cut costs significantly if you DIY your home.

Whatever you decide, make sure to do your research and remember to factor in unexpected expenses that may arise. With a little bit of planning, you can turn your vacant plot of land into your little slice of heaven.

Header Image Source: (Magda Ehlers / Pexels)

All product names, logos, and brands are property of their respective owners. All company, product and service names used in this website are for identification purposes only. Use of these names, logos, and brands does not imply endorsement or any affiliation with HomeLight.

Acreage of my Home Calculators

You can find acreage calculators online to do quick calculations for you. Most of them work fine if the property you’re measuring is a simple square or rectangle. For land that is irregularly shaped, you’ll want to search for area calculators. Area calculators list shapes other than squares and rectangles, like triangles, trapezoids, ellipses and sectors.

Using the map you obtained from your county recorder or tax assessor, draw lines to break the land up into smaller, simpler shapes. Plug the measurements of each broken down shape into its area calculator. Add them all up to get the total estimated land area in square feet. Divide that total by 43,560 and you’ll have an estimate of your acreage.


Internet and Cell Service

Unless your goal is to unplug completely, living without internet access likely will be tough. That’s why it’s important to note the internet providers and cell signal strength at all potential properties. Your cell phone could save your life one day, so don’t make the mistake of choosing land with sketchy service unless that’s a selling point for you.

Where is land the most affordable? 

If you have some flexibility on where to buy land, you may want to keep some of these more affordable spots in mind. The following five states are where you’ll find the most affordable land in America. 

1. Wyoming

Value per acre: $1,558

2. New Mexico

Value per acre: $1,931

3. Nevada

Value per acre: $2,116

4. South Dakota

Value per acre: $2,135

5. Montana

Value per acre: $2,283

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 Calculate Acres

The easiest way to calculate the number of acres in your land is to use the calculator above. If you know the length and width, simply enter them. The calculator will provide the number of acres, as well as the area in other units.

It will also give you perimeter. If you already know the acres but want the area in other units, use our acreage unit conversion tool.

To calculate acres by hand, multiply your length and width (in feet) to get square feet. Try our length conversion tools, if needed. Then divide by 43,560 to determine the size of the land in acres.

Example: Your city house lot is 33′ wide by 102′ long. How many acres do you have?

33′ × 102′ = 3,366 sq ft 3,366 sq ft ÷ 43,560 = 0.077 acres

You can quickly find the square footage of an area using our square footage calculator.

Unfortunately, property is not always divided into perfect squares, and finding the acreage of irregular shapes can be a little more challenging.

The trick to finding the size of these irregular plots in acres is to break down the land into smaller geometric shapes first. Find the size of those smaller spaces separately, and then add them together.

Another great way to find the area of irregular shapes is to use the interactive map above to determine the actual size in acres.

What is an Acre

An acre is a measurement of land area used in the Imperial measurement system (U.S.A. and informally in the U.K. and its former colonies). It was originally the amount of land a yoke of oxen could plow in a day.

Now, it is defined as an area measuring one chain by one furlong — not entirely more useful units either!

We’ll discuss how much an acre is in a more reasonable way below. But, know that an acre is still a common land area measurement used in the U.S., especially in real estate and government land transactions.

Insects and Other Pests

How much do you dislike mosquitoes and black flies? How about raccoons or skunks? Depending on how far from civilization you’re planning to build, these critters may quickly become a major nuisance. There are certainly ways of dealing with them, but you need to decide how you feel about measures like an electric bug zapper, a live trap for skunks and raccoons or possibly even a firearm.


Leave a Comment