One of the most important factors, it seems, for home buyers is the square footage of a home. I have had buyers say they want a 2200 square foot house and they won’t even consider previewing a home that has only 2100 square feet. That’s when I have to step in and advise them on the unreliability of calculating square feet. You see, you can have 10 different people measure a home and you will come up with 11 different measurements!
In the State of North Carolina Realtors® are not required by Real Estate License Law or the Real Estate Commission to report square footage of property whether it be for sale or rent. Does that surprise you? I can say that I have not seen one property marketed WITHOUT square footage included but just note, we are not required to disclose that information. When we publicly report square footage we must be as accurate as possible.
A few sources that you do NOT want to rely on for square footage are:
- Public Tax Records
- Appraisal connected with an earlier transaction on the property
- Current Homeowner
Determining square footage is most often done by physically measuring the property. However, there are many gray areas that add confusion as well as different industry professionals use different methods even for measuring. For instance, a Realtor® may use and entirely different set of guidelines to measure a property then say that of an Appraiser.
More often than not, you will find square footage in North Carolina described as Living Area or Heated Square Footage. Living area is generally defined as heated, finished and directly accessibly from the living area. Please note that it does not have to be centrally cooled! While that may seen straightforward there are still deviations in the definition of “living area” and many times this can result in measurements being different from one professional to the next. (Example: A bonus room over a garage that has been finished and heated but is NOT connected to a central air conditioning system IS considered living area.) When we do measure a property and publicly report square footage we are expected to be as accurate as possible however, a difference of up to 5% is acceptable.
The next time you preview a property and you have concerns about the square footage you can most certainly have YOUR agent measure it. Keep in mind, reporting square footage will ALWAYS be tricky. Again, 10 different professionals can measure the same property and you will end up with 11 different measurements.
If you have any questions about this post and square footage please feel free to give me a call or simply send me an email – I would be happy to assist you!