Sunday, January 27th, 2019 January27th2019

Sell for More Trivia: Why do we measure land by acres?

Published on January 27th, 2019

Sell for More Trivia is a weekly blog series that playfully presents a trivia question about commercial real estate.


When marketing a commercial property for sale we generally disclose the size of the building in square feet but the size of the land in acres. Why?

First, let’s figure out what an acre is.  The “acre” is a unit of land area traditionally defined one chain by one furlong (66 by 660 feet) which is exactly equal to 10 square chains.  Or 1⁄640 of a square mile.  Or 43,560 square feet.

The acre is a statute measure in the US and was formerly one in the United Kingdom and almost all countries of the former British Empire.  So….it’s an old school measurement that we inherited from the Brits.

Practically speaking, few people can imagine what a piece of land that measures one acre looks like.  We’re much more familiar with square feet as that’s how we measure our homes.

When we market commercial properties for sale, we have a rule of thumb.  If the piece of land is two acres or less, we state its size in square feet.  For example, 1.5 acres becomes a 65,340 SF lot.  If the lot is over 2 acres, we present it’s size in acres.  We do this mostly because people also have a hard time picturing what a 87,120 SF lot looks like.  At some point the number gets too big to be useful.

It’s not a perfect measurement system but we do our best with what we’ve got.


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About Beau Beach, CCIM

Beau is a tenacious Commercial Real Estate Broker, author and adoring father of four. His clients appreciate his no-nonsense demeanor and his legendary work ethic.

Beau leads Prowess IRES which is a commercial real estate broker for sellers in the Nashville, Milwaukee, South Florida and Chicago markets.

He’s the author of the books The 3 Reasons: Why Most Commercial Properties Don’t Sell and True Wealth: What Every Seller Should Know About 1031 Exchanges.

Beau can be reached at 414.324.4938, 615.603.9770, click to schedule a call or