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The Ugly Truth About Square Footage

Did know that assessed square footage numbers are, on average, off by 13.6% or 231.8 sq. ft.?*

Square footage is one of the key metrics when selling a home. A difference of 200 sq. ft. could mean a seller loses 10s of thousands of dollars.

Not only that, a difference of a few hundred square feet could limit your pool of potential buyers. Your house might not meet a minimum amount of square footage, when in reality it does exceed the minimum.

When selling a home accurate square footage really matters. Don’t unknowingly misrepresent the home.

Why are square footage numbers often wildly wrong? What can you do about it?

Why Assessed Square Footage is Unreliable

There are several reasons why public assessed square footage data is so unreliable.

First, some calculations are from pre-construction plans. Plans change during construction and so does square footage. Yet, the pre-construction data is often used as the final number.

Other times additions to the house aren’t included in the assessed square footage number. This can happen when public records are not updated. Or it can happen when a seller has done unpermitted work.

Lastly, assessors sometimes use assumptions when computing square footage and do not actually measure the indoors of the home. They are only estimating the square footage. Human error can lead to mistakes too.

Your home is one of your largest financial assets. It doesn’t make sense to base it’s valuation on an estimate. It should be based on reality. You need to verify the accuracy of your home’s square footage.

If you are selling a home and using a realtor, ask your realtor where they are getting the square footage calculation. Oftentimes they use the inaccurate assessed number or a previous listing in the MLS, which could be wrong too.

How To Verify Square Footage

Here are a few ways to ensure you get exactly what your home is worth:

  1. You or your realtor can verify the square footage yourself. Measure the building following ANSI standards. There are pitfalls. It takes significant time and inexperience could lead to another inaccurate number.
  2. Hire a professional appraiser. A professional appraiser should give you an accurate number. Just know that appraisers can cost $300 – $500 or more. And the time to finish the appraisal might take a few hours.
  3. Hire an iGUIDE operator. An iGUIDE operator uses a sophisticated laser system to map your home. The system is 99.6% accurate in calculating square footage. And at less than the cost – and time – of an appraiser you’ll receive professional photos, a 3D tour and a floor plan of your house. Your home will stand out amongst other listings and have an accurate square footage calculation.

Whatever you do, make sure to verify your home’s square footage. An accurate square footage measurement could put 10s of thousands of dollars into your pocket.

Immersion Factory is the only iGUIDE operator in upstate New York. 

* A study of 333 homes in the south east, public data was compared to iGUIDE on average off by 231.8 sq. ft. or 13.6%. Similar results have been found in different parts of the US and all throughout Canada.