Most brokers know that an acre is comprised of 43,560 square feet. But why such a strange and specific number? In the middle ages, an acre was defined as how much land a farmer could till with an ox in one day. It was later standardized to be 1⁄640th of a square mile, or about 4,046 square meters.
An acre can be a rectangle or square, or odd-sized, and is a measurement determined by a registered surveyor. Whether buying a half-acre or ten acres, one should always use a registered surveying company to determine how much land is included and what its boundaries are.
While a boundary survey will allow a buyer to view the basic dimensions of a property, an ALTA Survey is considered the gold standard of surveys, and will give buyers and mortgage lenders the most comfort.
What is an ALTA survey? An ALTA Survey is a detailed survey performed by a registered licensed surveyor, prepared in accordance with the standards specified by the American Land Title Association (ALTA) and the American Congress of Surveying and Mapping (ACSM). An ALTA Survey shows the boundaries of the property, the location of improvements on the subject property, including any and all structures, fences, utility lines, roads, etc., along with the location of any/all easements.” – Source
Although you can expect an ALTA survey to cost more than most other surveys, it has its advantages, particularly in the amount of detail it promises. Even when simply buying a house on a one-acre site, an ALTA survey would let the buyer rest easy knowing the home, driveway and fencing are all within those one-acre boundaries. A title report, obtained from a local title company, will also be used by the surveyor to examine the history of the property and describe those boundaries in detail.
On a final note, “God’s acre” is a term for land behind a churchyard used for burials – which most of us would rather not have in our backyards!
Kevin Callahan, SIOR
Co-Founder, Premier Crowdfunding
Senior Partner, Premier Development Partners