Ever been in a position where the house that you just sold, ended up being not as presented? What if, the square footage of the property was not as per the measurement standards that it should have adhered to, as you just went by some old property data that you had access to? Well, nobody expects you to be a master of measurements. But the expectation of professionalism, reliability, and accuracy is something that every Real Estate Agent is held accountable for. It all begins with best practices when it comes to marketing a property, by targeting one of the most important factors of any listing; accurate square footage.
You can hit the sales bullseye by having your listings measured with precision and accuracy. And, the best way to do that is to start with the right tools. A simple digital camera and measurement app are not good enough to provide the consumer with the best possible experience. If you want to lead the way, you need the latest technology backed by proven raw data. Measurements fall into three categories, reliable, reused, and reprehensible. Are you hitting the right target or are your listings 6 feet under?
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Residential Measurements
Residential Measurement Standards (RMS) like the ones used in the province of Alberta, provide one set of rules to accurately represent the size of a property. Why is it important to have accurate measurements? Both buyers and sellers look at size as a way to compare the value of each property.
When laser-accurate measurements paired with all in one package of photos, floorplans, and 3D tours are offered a buyer can see the value and develop a deep understanding of a property. For the seller, the benefit is better marketing through reliable information to get the top dollar for their home. For you, the Real Estate professional, accurate measurements help build trust with the consumer, elevate your brand, and encourage better leads and referrals.
Relying on your ability to self measure a property is not the best practice. Sure, you were a maths whizz in school and even part of your university’s Calculus Club, but Real Estate Agents with measuring tapes, and old school devices can be a problem.
Knowing what to measure and what not to measure becomes a challenge and often leads to misrepresenting a property’s size by either too big or too small. According to Zolo, you will be hard-pressed to find any “standard” when it comes to measuring the square footage of residential properties across Canada with exception of the RMS in the province of Alberta. No standard means you may not be getting the numbers correct. Another no, no, is using blueprints, someone else’s expired listing measurements, or relying on tax data.
Blueprints are often altered when homes are being constructed and the homes themselves go through renovations long after the initial build is complete. Obviously, your competitor’s expired listing information poses a few dilemmas, that may include inaccurate square footage calculations or perhaps even missing sections of the home altogether.
Then there is tax data. Municipalities do not always have updated information on a home’s measurements past the submission date of the original build. What about that additional mother-in-law suite that got added a few years back? Not including or excluding renovations will get you off the Dean’s list and onto the probation list.
Wrong measurements either by accident or on purpose, like missing laundry rooms, and walk-in closets, or adding in areas like open stairwells, exterior patios, decks, and porches are a whole lot of ugly. Misrepresenting the size of a house just to increase price based on square footage is a fraud, but marketing a home using inaccurate data can get you, the buyer, and the seller involved in a lengthy and pricey lawsuit. As a Real Estate Professional you owe fiduciary duties to the consumer that include providing accurate square footage for every listing.
You can not assume every piece of the floor plan is living space. Can you really include both bay and bow windows, dormer windows, and crawl spaces in the square footage? These areas are difficult to measure and should not always be added to the total size of a home. Ceiling height is an important factor when it comes to useable living space. Having a precise floor plan can show you whether or not you should actually consider the attic in the total square footage.
How do you calculate accurate square footage? Do you measure around the exterior perimeter of a home or the interior? A condo plan represents size using the exterior method of measurement when, in fact, the actual living space is measured from the interior walls, a substantial difference in square footage. When there are so many questions surrounding the square footage calculations, you need to hit the mark every time.
How can you inch your way up to the top of the real estate leaderboard?
Residential measuring techniques vary from place to place throughout Canada and the United States. How do you know what numbers you can trust and does it really matter? Accurate measurements affect the CMA of a home. When a home is measured precisely to a set of standards it provides value, fosters communication, and builds trust. Companies like iGUIDE partner with professional Real Estate Photographers to provide a reliable consumer conscious method of calculating square footage. With laser accurate measurements backed by cutting-edge technology, you can market properties and give your clients the best consumer experience.
If a picture paints a thousand words, a detailed floor plan with precise square footage speaks a thousand tongues. Show your professionalism and get your measurements done by a professional. Accurate measurements together with precise floor plans communicate value to both the buyer and the seller.
Ugly measurements mar the Real Estate industry, bad measurements interrupt the consumer’s journey, but good measurements are like a Shakespearean sonnet that allow for accurate rhythm and flow of every home, with no poetic license.