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Entry 2308.2 - Calculating Square Footage in Residential Properties, Part 6

“RED FLAGS” & REPORTING Square Footage – Part 6

“RED FLAGS” are typically acts caused by listing agents from oversights, carelessness,

inexperience, and sometimes just unabashed laziness.

As used in the context of Reporting Square Footage, “RED FLAGS” are sometimes recognized intuitively but more often there are obvious reasons to question the accuracy of the REPORTED Square Footage of a given Single-Family Residential Property. “RED FLAGS” should not be the norm and should only happen as an exception. When discovered, a RED FLAG should be viewed as an opportunity, not necessarily to be exposed as a problem. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate to a broker’s client the broker’s professionalism by verifying, on behalf of the client, the accurate square footage of that residence.

When this happens, it is clearly the buyer broker’s responsibility to disclose the suspected “RED FLAG” to both the brokers Client (the Buyer) and the Listing Agent, then verify the Square Footage if the client (the Buyer) has continued interest in that residence. This may require the buyer’s broker to remeasure the property and immediately notify the listing agent by reporting the reason for the suspected error and report the corrected square footage to the buyer client.

As stated in the NC Real Estate Commissions Residential Square Footage Guidelines, “the most reliable way for an agent to obtain accurate square footage data is by personally measuring the dwelling unit and calculating the square footage”. The Guidelines go on to say, “As an alternative to personally measuring a dwelling and calculating its square footage, an agent may rely on the square footage reported by other persons (i.e., the Listing Agent) when it is reasonable under the circumstances to do so”.

The Guidelines also state, “Agents working with Buyers (either as a Buyer’s Agent or Seller’s Subagent) may rely on the Listing Agent’s Square Footage representations except in those unusual instances when there is an error in the reported square footage that should be obvious to a reasonably prudent agent” – (the “reasonable and prudent agent” standard). Therefore, if there is a reason to suspect that the information is in error (a RED Flag), the Guidelines state “the agent working with a buyer should promptly point out the suspected error to the buyer and the listing agent. The listing agent should then verify the square footage and correct any error in the information reported”.

I teach a (4) hour NCREC approved CE elective course on the Square Footage Guidelines. Visit our class schedule and register today.

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


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