Portland Area Real Estate Appraisal Discussion

Appraiser Floor Plan Measured Smaller Than Expected
June 4th, 2015 12:48 AM

Room Service Floor Plan Appraiser Home Measurement Sketch

You are getting ready to list your home for sale and the real estate agent suggests that you have a floor plan measurement sketch done by an appraiser.  Some real estate appraisers and agents in Portland, Oregon call floor plans “Room Service.”  Floor plans are a great idea to assist in marketing your property attractively and accurately.  A diagram helps buyers visualize the layout of the house before they visit it. 

When an appraiser measures a home in Portland, most often the measurements turn out to be slightly larger than county records show.  However, in this example, the appraiser spends over an hour at your property and produces a beautiful drawing, but the measurements are smaller than those that are recorded by the county or other sources.  What should you do?

  1. Understand that it is better to advertise the correct square footage.  Listing the property with overstated measurements could increase liability, cause a frustratingly low appraisal, result in a failed sale, or lead to increased buyer negotiating leverage.

  2. Put it in perspective.  By how much is the square footage smaller?  Many buyers will not even recognize a loss of only 50 or 100 square feet.  Small variations in measurements from one appraiser to the next are common and are usually insignificant, often resulting from rounding.

  3. If you think that the appraiser has made an error, use the floor plan sketch to go around the house and individually check the measurements.  Remember that areas are typically measured from the outside.  In addition, stairs are included in all levels but finished areas less than five feet in ceiling height (common under the roof slope in attics) are not (when using ANSI).  I recommend checking to see if things make sense.  For example, if you know that the second floor occupies the same footprint as the main floor, check to see that those measurements are the same on both floors.

Did I leave anything out or do you want to join in the conversation?  Let me know in the comments below.

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Thanks for reading,

Gary F. Kristensen

I've always wondered what a house in Portland looks like. Now I know. :) Kidding. This is a great service to your clients, especially if it is common for square footage disparities to exist in public records.

Posted by Ryan Lundquist on June 4th, 2015 7:52 AM
Thank you Ryan for your comment. Real estate agents are excited this "Room Service" as they call it, but as much or more for a marketing piece to show the layout of rooms as for the measurement of the entire home.

Posted by Gary Kristensen on June 4th, 2015 9:36 AM
This is a great topic Gary. I always learn something from your blogs. As a new appraiser in Portland, all tips are helpful.

Posted by Lucas on June 4th, 2015 2:42 PM
Another great post Gary! I am curious if there is a market on the commercial side for this service.

Posted by Casey Lyon on June 5th, 2015 10:56 AM
Casey, thank you. I think that there is a commercial side of the measurement floor plan business. However, I also know that the measurement standards are more complex and would need to be understood.

Posted by Gary Kristensen on June 5th, 2015 11:21 AM
Having a floor plan measurement sketch is a good addition to the overall marketing strategy for any property. I recently appraised a property where public records showed it to be 1,700. When I measured it, I came up with 1,400 (measured 3x). This big discrepancy was the difference in my opinion of value versus the contract price and it turned out to be a 20% difference in value.

Posted by John Tsiaousis on June 8th, 2015 4:29 PM
Great story John. I see examples like this often and a simple floor plan sketch or "room service" can save a lot of headache and make a listing look more attractive.

Posted by Gary Kristensen on June 8th, 2015 11:56 PM


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