The laser-accurate square-footage measurements that come with iGUIDE floor plans quickly became the second largest revenue stream for Brandon Cooper’s real estate photography business.
Brandon’s company, RealPics, is based in Fort McMurray, Alberta in the heart of Canada’s oil sands industry. With a population of 80,000, it’s not a big market. In Brandon’s words the housing tends to be “cookie cutter.”
Brandon does everything—real estate photography, virtual tours, 3D virtual tours, floor plans, and measurements. Because there isn’t a lot of variation among the floor plans, the 3D tours aren’t as big of a draw in Fort McMurray.
But thanks to Alberta’s Residential Measurement Standard (RMS), the square footage measurements and floor plans are critical. And iGUIDE technology is the reason Brandon capitalizes on that so well.
In 2016, the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) adopted a standard that all agents and brokers must follow when providing the square-footage measurements of all residential properties. Some bad actors had been including balconies, outdoor parking spaces, and the like in the total square footage calculations.
Brandon had a part-time employee who measured the rooms of every house by hand and wrote the measurements down. The information was compiled later at home, and then sent to a firm that also did the picture editing for Brandon.
Brandon says that took too long. There were too many people involved, and too many opportunities for mistakes. He had to insure the person for errors and omissions and it was taking at least 45 minutes to measure each house. He wasn’t making much money on the measurements either. There wasn’t enough profit to warrant the risk.
“It was more of a service-add so my clients didn’t have any reason to go elsewhere,” says Brandon.