I’ve been in the real estate industry for several years.
And if I’m to pick the most popular questions I’ve been asked, they are going to revolve around the sizes of land.
For instance, people ask me:
What does acre mean?
What does hectare mean, etc.
And at times, I see people who wonder how many plots of land they need for their plan. In other words, if understanding this kind of things, is what brought you here, then you’re reading the right article.
I’d be discussing every important thing needed to be understood, about land sizes in Nigeria.
What is a Plot of Land in Nigeria?
Before delving into the core of this article, one thing I first have to clear is the meaning of plot. A lot of people assume plot to mean a particular dimension of land in Nigeria. And that’s why you’d often hear things like:
How many plots of land do I need for my duplex?
How plots of land do I need for my 5-bedroom flat?
But if the truth must be told, plot means a piece of land that is meant to be owned by a single owner in a given neighbourhood. The size of a plot in any neighbourhood often times depends on the flexibility of planning standard of the area and also the ownership of the estate/neighbourhood. This implies that plot sizes in the neighbourhood (A) may be different from the plot size in the neighbourhood (B).
if the plot size in neighbourhood (A) is 648 square meters, this implies that prospective landowners in this neighbourhood are entitled to a land of 648 square meter per head. Another neighbourhood (B) with plot size 864 square meters implies that each landowner is entitled to a piece of land of that size. Thus, what has considered a plot of land varies in size from one neighbourhood to another.
However, common plot sizes that can be found in different neighbourhoods in Nigeria are listed below;
- 18 metre x 30 metre
- 18 metre x 36 metre
- 30 metre x 30 metre
We can see that plot sizes is often used to ensure uniformity within neighbourhood making households having relatively equal plot sizes. However some house hold may choose to have more than one piece/plot of land to themselves in the same neighbourhood. So now that I’ve spelt out the meaning of plot, I guess we can now move on to the main content.
Square metre, Square feet, Acres, and Hectares
When trying to buy a piece of land [or a plot] from a person, they’d most likely describe the land with any of: square metre, square feet, acres, and hectares. But what exactly do all these things mean? Well, these are what we’d be examining in this part of this article. So read on.
Square metre (sqm)
When trying to buy a piece of land in Nigeria, what should ordinarily be used, is square metres. And you must have noticed that this is how companies and processionals describe pieces of land.
But what exactly does this means?
Well, imagine a piece of land which has a breadth/width of 200 metres and a length of 500 metres. If we’re to describe this piece of land in square metre [sqm], we would call the piece of land a 100,000 sqm [200m x 500m = 100,000 sqm] piece of land.
So when someone tells you they’re trying to sell a 100,000 sqm, just know the length and breadth of the land [in metres], were multiplied to get that 100,000.
You should, however, note that a plot having a dimension of 100 x 1,000 can also be called a 100,000 sqm piece of land, since 100 m x 1,000 m would also give 100,000 sqm.
In short, sqm simply tells you how big a plot is, but not necessarily how long it is, or how much breadth it has. If you’d like to know the breadth or length of a land described in sqm, you have to specifically request the dimension of the plot.
Square feet is another common way Nigerians describes pieces of lands.
For instance, a seller may tell you they’d like to sell you a 120,000 square feet piece of land. But what does square feet mean?
Well, square feet is similar to square metres. But given that meters is the SI unit for measuring length, square metres is more popular among educated people, square feet is more popular among the old land sellers who are used to the old measuring scale. But if you ask me which of them is recommended, I’d ask you to always describe land using sqm, whenever possible.
And as regards how many feet equal 1 metre, approximately 3.28 feet would give you 1 metre.
In other words, if we’re to describe the land mention above [the 200 x 500 metre land], in feet,
We can say its dimension equals 656.17 x 1,640.42 feet.
And how did I get 656.17, you ask?
Well, I did that by multiplying 200 by 3.28 [200 * 3.8 = 656.17]. And as for the 1,640.20,
I got that buy multiplying 500 by 3.28 [500 * 3.28 = 1,640.20].
In short, once you can always remember that 1 metre equals 3.28 feet, converting feet to metres or metres to feet should be no problem.
However, if you want to convert square feet to square metre or square metre to square feet, you should understand that 1 square feet isn’t equal to 3.28 square feet.
Square and square metre and different.
So for you convert between square metre and square feet, you should understand that 1 square metre equals about 10.76 square feet [3.28 feet x 3.28 feet].
So the land above [the 200 x 500 metre land] which is stated to be 100,000 square metres, can also be said to be 1,076,000 square feet [100,000 x 10.76].
In short, most professionals should communicate with you in square metres.
But when you find someone communicating with you in square feet, just multiple whatever they tell you, by 10.76. And if the person is talking about feet [not square feet], just multiply whatever they tell you by 3.28.
Imagine your boss asks you to go to a company [company B] which sells a machine your own company [company A] needs. But when you got to company B, to ask about the price of the machine, one of their sales representatives tells you that the machine sells for N132,000,000,000,000.
You’re probably going to get angry at first 😉 .
Then after calming down, you’d go ahead and count the number of 0s in the number. And after counting you would realize the sales rep is just trying to say N132 trillion.
Can you imagine that kind of scenario?
The sales rep is trying to say N132 trillion. But rather than simply saying N132 trillion, she decides to list all the 0s in the number. You see, this kind of thing, is similar to the relation between square metre and hectare. Just as N1 trillion means the same thing as N1,000,000,000,000, 1 hectare means the same thing as 10,000 square metres.
In other words, if you want to write something like 20,000 square metres, you can simply write is as 2 hectares. You can see how 2 hectares is simpler and easy to understand, when dealing with a lot of numbers.
So if we are to apply this to the land discussed above [the 100,000 square metre land], we can call the plot a 10 hectare piece of land. In short, square metre is the standard way of describing land in Nigeria, but at times we use hectares to make things simpler.
Remember we stated earlier that one of the main difference between metre and feet, is the people who use them. Metre is often used by educated people, while feet is often used by the illiterate. In the same way, hectare is mostly used by educated people, while acre is common among the illiterates.
You should, however, note that the conversion between hectare and square metre isn’t the same as the conversion between acre and square metre.
While 1 hectare equals 10,000 square metres, 1 acre equals approximately 4,046.86 square metres. In other words, the piece of land mentioned earlier [the 100,000 square metre land], could also be described as a approximately 24.71 acres [100,000 / 4,046.86 = 24.71].
Other meanings of plot
While I stated earlier that a plot is simply another word for a piece of land, there are actually people who used to word to refer to a specific dimension of land.
For instance, when some people use the word plot, they are referring to one of the following dimensions:
You should, however, try to refrain from taking part is such a word abuse.
This article was genuinely written to help people understand all these jargon used, when talking about the sizes of lands. However, we might find one or two people who still didn’t get what I’ve been trying to communicate. And if you’re one of such people, you should consider re-reading this article. The things I’ve discussed in this article are very simple.
In other words, you only have to calm down, and take some time to digest them properly.