North Carolina requires that when a real estate agent lists a property, the property must be measured according to the Residential Square Footage Guidelines manual.
The NC Real Estate Commission takes the matter seriously, has published a bulletin specifically about square footage, and regularly takes action against agents who do not measure the property or rely on inappropriate sources of information.
When submitting a listing through our website, we require a sketch of the property showing the dimensions and square footage of the home, as detailed in the Guidelines. The sketch should include 3 separate square footage calculations:
- Heated Living Area / Living Area: Must be heated “by a conventional heating system or systems (forced air, radiant, solar, etc.) that are permanently installed in the dwelling — not a portable heater or fireplace — which generates heat sufficient to make the space suitable for year-round occupancy.” and is directly accessible from other living area through a door or by heated hallway or stairway.
- Unheated Living Area: This includes unheated or unfinished square footage above- or on-grade directly accessible from other living areas through a door or by a heated hallway or stairway that does not meet the NCREC criteria for living area, but which contributes to the value of the dwelling. Examples include, but are not limited to: unfinished attic (with permanent stairs), unfinished bonus rooms, enclosed porch, unheated sunroom, finished rooms that are unheated, and unfinished rooms that are heated).
- Additional Square Feet: Includes heated, unheated or unfinished square footage not directly accessible from other living area through a door or by heated hallway or stairway (e.g., basement not directly accessible from the main dwelling, etc.). Additional square footage should be described in the Property Description or Agent Remarks.
Here are possible ways to get the measurements. At the bottom of this article are some possible companies based on county:
- Measuring Service (Google "North Carolina measuring service"). NOTE: This is the recommended way.
- Real Estate Broker
- Do It Yourself NOTE: This is NOT recommended and we will only accept these if you are a qualified professional. The measurements and calculation methods, as described in the Guidelines, can be complicated. It is ESSENTIAL that the Guidelines are followed EXACTLY. Additionally, we must heavily scrutinize these calculations due to the risk it poses to both of us. There is a high chance that we have to reject the provided measurements and we will not accept the listing if the measurements are rejected.
Here are some frequently asked questions about this requirement:
- Is it okay to use tax records of square footage as a source?
- No. We will review the tax records, but they are not considered by the state to be an accurate source of information.
- Can un-permitted sections of the house be included in the overall square footage?
- No. It must be included separately and noted as such.
- What about decks and garages?
- Decks, balconies, porches, garages and carports should not be included in any category of finished or unfinished area.
- What happens if the square footage advertised is incorrect?
- The NC Realtors reports that the buyer may be entitled to damages and/or rescission or reformation of the contract.
Example companies in each county (not a guarantee of workmanship):