A critical, but often overlooked member of a real estate team is a square footage specialist, who ensures accuracy in listings. Realtors look at several factors to price a home, including location, the age of a home, recent sales in a neighborhood, and more. And perhaps one of the most important factors is the size of a home. In fact, discrepancies in the square footage of a home can lead to serious errors.
“There’s a lot at stake,” said Walker Wallin, who is The Jim Allen Group’s in-house square footage specialist. “In the market right now, we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars being at risk,” he explained. His role is crucial when listing a home. That’s why it’s so important to rely on the expertise of a square footage specialist like him.
The role of a square footage specialist
“In the state of North Carolina, if you’re going to advertise square footage, it has to be correct,” Wallin said. “And that’s not my law; that’s per the North Carolina Real Estate Commission.”
Errors occur when real estate professionals defer to the homeowner to create a listing, refer to former sales documents that may have errors, or just check public tax records for a home.
“We can’t rely on tax records in North Carolina. They tend to be incorrect when it comes to heated square footage,” Wallin said.
Before a home is listed, a square footage specialist such as Wallin takes measurements and calculates the total square footage of a home to ensure the most accurate listing possible. Wallin has nearly two decades of training and experience as a square footage specialist, beginning his career at Wilmington’s Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage. In addition to professional real estate training, he has measured thousands of homes throughout North Carolina.
Most importantly, he said, “I know the law by heart. I don’t deviate from that. I’m going to give you the proper square footage because there’s too much at stake.”
The home measuring process
Wallin explained that despite how labor intensive the home measuring process is, it’s one he loves.
“I enjoy the challenge,” he said. The process begins when he arrives at a home to begin hand-drawing a blueprint of the home. Using a 100-foot measuring tape and graph paper he designed for his work, he measures and maps out the exterior of the home.
“It’s a shell of the house of that moment,” he explained. He calculates the exterior of the home, and then works to differentiate between spaces. “I have to figure out what is heated and what is not heated. There is a difference between heated square feet and unheated square feet. We price everything based of heated square footage. If you have a 4,000 square foot home, you better believe I’m measuring about 7,000 square feet because that includes the garages and everything that’s not included in that.”
He finishes by going inside of the home, room by room, measuring and sketching a blueprint before returning to the office to draw it on a computer, which calculates the numbers for accuracy.
Why it’s unique The Jim Allen Group offers home measuring as a service
Wallin measures each home The Jim Allen Group lists. “It gives us that edge over the competition,” he explained. “Jim is a class act. He’s given me this opportunity when most people wouldn’t. I get along with the agents. I have the passion for it. And Jim sees the value in it. Jim’s a smart guy. He doesn’t want to go to bed at night wondering if one of his agents made a mistake on square footage.”
Wallin believes it’s just one of many reasons why The Jim Allen Group is a leader in the industry.
“If there is a discrepancy on something, he can pick up the phone and make a call and I’m there,” he said. “Jim wants the best for his team, and he recognized that I was one of the best in the industry. We can definitively say, ‘This is what it is, and I have somebody who can prove it.’ Jim wants to provide everything for his team that he can. That’s why he’s so successful.”
Understanding the JAG difference
If you’re considering selling a home, Wallin encourages you to do the due diligence to be accurate in your listing.
“It doesn’t matter what someone says,” he said. “Have the home measured yourself. I’ve seen it a thousand times where people think a house is something it’s not. You might be leaving thousands of dollars on the table.”
He’s also proud to be part of The Jim Allen Group, which he says has numerous in-house groups who will ensure you’re taken care of throughout your entire process. “We want to provide the best transaction, the best service, the most accurate information possible when it comes to this,” he said. “I’m glad I’m a part of it.”
Finally, Wallin encourages anyone who believes their tax records may be wrong to hire a home measuring expert to get those numbers adjusted. Square footage affects your home’s assessed value and may result in a change in what you pay in taxes.
“That is the biggest purchase you’ll ever make. I would want to feel secure knowing what I’m actually purchasing,” he said.
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