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Entry 2309.1 - Listing Agent’s Basic Responsibilities and Reporting Square Footage – Part 8.

Updated: Oct 28, 2023


The North Carolina Real Estate Commission’s “Residential Square Footage Guidelines” do

not require agents to “Report” the Square Footage in Residential Properties. However, it is

of utmost importance to specifically point out that if an agent elects NOT to “Report” the

Square Footage in a Residential Property then they MUST “Disclose” this fact to prospective

Buyer and Seller Clients BEFORE entering into Agency Agreements with them.


The following is the exact text from the North Carolina Real Estate Commissions 1999 –

2000 Real Estate Update Course Student Manual with excerpts from the North Carolina

Real Estate Commissions Residential Square Footage Guidelines (Boxed):

Agents Who Choose to NOT Report Square Footage

In areas where the prevailing practice is to report square footage in the advertising

and marketing of homes, agents whose policy is not to calculate and report square

footage must disclose this fact to prospective buyer

Comment on Agents Who Choose to NOT Report Square Footage

The logic behind this position is that a real estate seller should be able to expect to receive from a listing firm the level of service that is customary in their community unless the firm has contracted with the seller to provide a lesser level of service. Clearly, in a market where square footage is routinely advertised, the failure to advertise square footage for a dwelling would place the owner of that dwelling at a competitive disadvantage.


It is also important to cover the position of the North Carolina Real Estate Commission on the Agent’s Responsibility, the “Fiduciary” requirements of Licensees as it relates to “Reporting” Square Footage in Residential Properties. The following is the exact text from the North Carolina Real Estate Commissions 1999 – 2000 Real Estate Update Course Student Manual with excerpts from the North Carolina Real Estate Commissions ResidentialSquare 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.

Comments on Listing Agent’s Basic Duty and Responsibility for Accuracy of Reported Square Footage

In any real estate transaction, the listing agent (and their Firm) has the primary responsibility for assuring that square footage information he/she reports is accurate. The listing agent is the real estate broker in the best position to ascertain the correct square footage of a listed dwelling, as well as other information on the characteristics and condition of the property. Also note the listing firm shares fully the responsibility of the individual listing agent in this regard.


Duty to personally measure and calculate square footage. A listing agent who reports the square footage of a dwelling without personally measuring and calculating the square footage greatly increases his/her potential exposure to Commission disciplinary action (and probably also to civil liability) in the event the reported square footage is incorrect to any significant degree. The more unreliable the source of square footage information adopted by the agent, the greater the potential liability of the agent.


Responsibility for the errors of others. Square footage information taken from tax records is considered to be highly unreliable, and square footage information obtained from the seller or from a previous listing may also be unreliable. The square footage reported by a State-licensed or State-certified appraiser in an appraisal report (assuming there have been no additions to the dwelling) is likely to be considerably more reliable than the above-mentioned sources, but still might be in error or not derived in accordance with the Commission’s Guidelines. It is important to emphasize that when a listing agent relies on the square footage determined by another person, the agent assumes full responsibility for the accuracy of that person’s square footage measurements and calculations.


Responsibility to verify accuracy of advertised square footage. A listing agent is expected to verify that the square footage reported in any form of advertising, including MLS property sheets and data banks, is correct. It is no defense for the listing agent to claim that a clerk made a mistake when entering the data.


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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