Why Are Purchasers Advised To Measure?

Any person contemplating the purchase of real estate is advised to measure the dimensions of the property they intend to buy.

There are two important reasons for measuring the property:

First, measuring the property ensures that you have properly identified the property being purchased. When you measure the property you are forced to carefully consider the plan provided in the contract, and to locate the land described in the contract “on the ground”.

Second, measuring is the best way to determine exactly how much land is being purchased. If the fences have been erected inside the correct boundaries, you may be paying for more land than you’re actually receiving!

Identifying the Land

While it may sound silly to suggest that a person may purchase the wrong property, consider the situation where a new subdivision comes onto the market, and there is nothing to indicate which block is which, apart from white marker pegs. The sales representative may have a pile of contracts for the blocks, all looking exactly the same except for the Lot numbers appearing on each.

Measuring the property ensures that the purchaser has properly matched the contract of sale with the correct block. The description of the land as it appears in the contract is used to identify the block on the plan, and then the plan is used to find the actual block “on the ground”.

Checking the Land

  • What if the fences have been erected inside the boundaries of the property you intend to buy, so that you’re not getting all of the land as described in the sale documents?
  • What if the estate agent tells you that the unit you’re thinking of buying has two parking spaces, but in reality there is only one carpark included in the sale?
  • What if the vendor has “claimed” the old laneway at the rear of the property, and informally (and perhaps illegally) extended the side fences, so that the backyard appears bigger than it really is?

If you measure the property properly, you can discover such anomalies.

How To Measure

There are two ways to measure the property. You can have surveyor perform a “check survey” and provide you with a plan showing the title boundaries, and the actual boundaries of the property. The down-side of this approach is that surveyors can be expensive.

Some people measure the property themselves, but the down-side of this approach is that the person who does the measuring carries full responsibility for getting it right!


You should always measure the dimensions of the property BEFORE you buy. If you’re not sure as to how to go about it, contact us or discuss the matter with your lawyer. Remember, caveat emptor or “buyer beware” applies in real estate sales.

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