How do you get ahead of the real estate market and propel your business further? Start providing accurate property measurements based on a measurement standard. Measurement standards are about to change the Canadian real estate market if they haven’t changed your regional market already.
First, we saw Alberta adopt a Residential Measurement Standard to help buyers and sellers make accurate comparisons between properties. Then, we saw the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) rule that real estate agents are prohibited from using their propertyline™ data on the size of homes, whether on MLS or their private websites.
These are signs that accurate measurements are becoming more important to buyers, and that organizations in the real estate market don’t want to be liable for misinformation. For real estate agents, getting accurate square foot information is becoming essential. Some regional real estate boards and organizations require agents to list the size of homes and those who used to use propertyline™ data will need a new source of information and an accurate one.
Getting ahead of this trend can reap you benefits. By providing your buyers with accurate square footage measurements, based on an established standard, you assure your clients they are really buying the size of home that they expect. You provide more value to them and bolster the perception of your profession as a whole.
A lack of global or even province-wide measurement standards does a disservice to buyers and sellers, harms the perception of real estate agents, and may undermine your business.
For starters, the lack of official standards may allow less scrupulous real estate agents to outcompete you. Agents’ opinions differ on whether they should include balconies, garages, unheated spaces, and even basements in their measurements. If an agent chooses to add spaces to their measurements that you don’t, they may inflate their listing’s perceived value. Thus, they may draw your potential buyers to their properties and get a larger sale price than you could on the same property.
However, the inconsistency in the market and practice of adding unusual spaces to a property’s square-foot measurements creates mistrust between real estate agents and their clients. Clients have sued real estate agents for making inaccurate claims about square footage. Out of area buyers and sellers are especially liable to feel misled, as they typically don’t realize that measurement norms vary even more dramatically by region than they do between real estate agents in the same region.
Buyers are more aware of these issues and are looking to work with real estate agents who inspire confidence and trust. The WAV Group released a report arguing that offering verifiable square footage measurements is becoming the new standard for professionalism for real estate agents and can benefit your reputation.
Even if your real estate market hasn’t adopted a measurement standard yet, you can choose one and work with a measurement provider who uses the right technology to help you get consistent results.
You can adopt Alberta’s Residential Measurement Standard, or if you work with condominiums or apartments, you may choose to subscribe to BOMA International’s multi-unit residential standard. It’s more important to adopt a standard than to waffle over which. Once you do, you can refer your clients to the standard so that they understand exactly what kind of spaces you include in the measurement and which you don’t. Providing a floor plan with the spaces mapped out can help communicate this to potential buyers too.
As for the actual measurements, you should choose a service provider, like an iGUIDE Service Provider, who uses laser technology to measure spaces. Unfortunately, smartphones are just not equipped with the right technology to create consistent measurements, even though there are phone apps that purport to do this.
In the future, accurate measurements, and related information like floor plans and 3D tours, will be commonplace as photos. By getting ahead of the trend and starting to offer accurate measurements that line up with a recognized standard now, you can inspire trust and elevate the profile of your business.
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