Land is measured by the “dunam” or 1,000 square meters. The size of zoned land is quoted in net dunam. When purchasing unzoned land it will usually be quoted in gross dunam. The buyer must verify how much land will remain after expropriation for public use, such as roads, public facilities, etc.

The use of a property or its potential for a particular use, is determined by the city building plan, which defines the permitted uses of a specific site or area, and the size and bulk of a building which may be erected on the site, as well as additional requirements such as landscaping, parking or sewage hookups. These building plans are typically initiated by the local government and must also receive approval at regional and national levels. Various city as well as national and regional plans can be in effect simultaneously, each governing a different aspect of the overall form of an area, with one for roads, another for building rights and permitted uses, a third for parks and public facilities, and so forth.

Land owners can also initiate new building plans or changes in existing plans, to enable new development on their properties or changes in use.

A potential purchaser of real estate must check the relevant plans governing the property he is considering in order to verify that it meets the relevant criteria, and to evaluate the potential or danger of changes in the future. Such changes can raise or lower the value and potential of a property. The city plans are generally available in the local municipality or building department, and consist of a map and set of regulations. Plans in preparation and under consideration are normally begun at the local level, and then publicized for public comment by the regional planning board. After all public comments are received and dealt with, the plan is finally approved by the Ministry of Interior. The process is lengthy, and can take several years.