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Entry 2306.1 - Calculating Square Footage in Residential Properties, Part 3


Calculating Square Footage – Part 3.

I have been asked numerous times, “Do I have to report Square Footage in residential properties”? Sometimes the question comes to me more like this, “Why do I have to report Square Footage in residential properties to the MLS? (NOTE: MLS Rules and NC Real Estate Commission Rules are two significantly different requirements of a broker).

The NC Real Estate Commission’s answer is: Brokers don’t have to REPORT Square Footage in residential properties. However, … the real question is, “Should brokers be reporting SF in residential properties they represent?” That answer lies solely in the eyes and expectations of your local market. If your market has an expectation of real estate brokers having knowledge of the SF (“Living Area”) in residential properties they represent, then YES you should accurately report the SF in those residential properties.

Therefore, if your market has such an expectation of brokers being able to properly provide the SF of residential properties they represent, then brokers should report such “Material Fact” information (in all marketing materials, including MLS). Remember, just because you don’t want to go to the trouble to measure, calculate and report SF in residential properties you represent does not mean that your market is expecting anything less. You, as an individual, do not make up the market and you as an individual cannot change the market just because you don’t want to provide the same level of service that exists elsewhere in your market area. You can elect not to report Square Footage in residential properties, but if you do elect not to report SF then you MUST DISCLOSE to your Buyer and Seller Clients that you perform a lesser level of service than what is normally available in your market.


Even though the NC Real Estate Commission’s “Residential Square Footage Guidelines” do not require brokers to “Report” the Square Footage in residential properties, it is of utmost importance to specifically point out that if a broker elects not to “Report” the Square Footage in a residential property they intent to represent, then they MUST DISCLOSE this fact to prospective Buyer and Seller Clients before entering into Agency Agreements with them.

It is also important to note the position of the NC Real Estate Commission on the Agent’s responsibility (their Fiduciary Duties) requirements of Agents as it relates to “Reporting” Square Footage in residential properties. The following is the exact text from the NC Real Estate Commissions 1999 – 2000 Real Estate Update Course Student Manual with excerpts from the NC Real Estate Commissions Residential Square Footage Guidelines (Boxed):

AGENTS’ RESPONSIBILITY

Listing Agent’s Basic Duty

When reporting square footage, listing agents are expected to personally measure the properties they list and accurately calculate their square footage. They must not rely on tax records, information from a previous listing, or representations of the seller or others.

Listing Agent Accountable for Accuracy of Reported Square Footage

The listing agent will be held accountable for the accuracy of square footage information the listing agent reports to prospective purchasers — including information obtained by purchasers from property data sheets and MLS data banks.

The Listing Agent has the primary duty and responsibility for accuracy of reported Square Footage in residential properties they represent.


The above does not constitute Legal Advice. Therefore, find a competent attorney for legal advice.


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