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Before You Buy Rural Land: Confirm The Acres

By Tom Brickman on September 12, 2012

Survey only exact way to know

Here’s an interesting fact:  most rural Alabama land has never been surveyed. The fact is, without a survey, no one really knows exactly how many acres are in a tract. For example, the deed may say 160 acres because the property is 1/4 of a Section (a perfect Section is 640 acres), but the tax assessor may say 155 acres. Each have their reasons, but without a survey neither should be viewed as exact.

Survey or “rough check”?

Because surveys are expensive ($0.40 to $0.80 per foot), most land buyers make a “rough check” on acres and live with the ambiguity. Examples of “rough checks” include:

Getting some help

Your forester can help you do this and may have a GPS which is also a good “rough check”.  Sometimes a lender, seller or buyer will require a survey.  Unless there is reason to suspect a problem, a “rough check” will find serious errors and save a lot of money if you can live with a little uncertainty.

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