What’s an acre? Most of us know the word to mean a parcel of land of a certain size, specifically 43,560 sq. ft. of good old Mother Earth. Here’s a little history of the word from an etymology website.
“a unit of area used for measuring real estate in
English-speaking countries. "Acre" is an Old English
word meaning a field. The acre was originally defined
as the area that could be plowed in a day by a yoke
of oxen. It was in use in England at least as early
as the eighth century, and by the end of the ninth
century it was generally understood to be the area of
a field one furlong (40 rods or 10 chains) long by
4 rods (or 1 chain) wide. Thus, an acre is 10 square
chains, 160 square rods, 43,560 square feet or 4840
square yards. There are exactly 640 acres in a square
mile. In metric countries the unit corresponding to
the acre is the hectare, which is 10,000 square meters
(the area of a square 100 meters on each side). One
acre is equal to 0.404 hectare.”
So, like a lot of things, the word comes to us from the Brits.
Realtors should know all about acreage but unfortunately acreage gives our profession all kinds of problems. First, most homeowners have no clue how much acreage they own. If they err it’s generally on the high side. An acre lot is huge folks and unusual in the Louisville market where our lots are typically 1/4 to 1/3 acre in size. A 1/2-acre lot is BIG and it’s easy to think you own more than you do. A square or rectangular lot makes it easy to determine acreage. Just multiply width in feet times depth in feet and divide the answer by 43,560. Your acreage pops up. The so-called “irregular” lot is another matter. Many lots are multi-sided with no 90-degree angles to be found anywhere. What to do. Surveyors use modern technology to determine the size of any surveyed property. Software programs will take the lengths of multi-sided lots and the angles of their connection and come up with the answer. What they used before computers only the slide rule crowd knows. Most property surveys will indicate the acreage somewhere on the document and those of us connected to the internet can use the public site LOJIC.org to locate a property in Jefferson County where its acreage size is a part of the information provided.