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House Floor Plans: What’s the Problem?

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Not all house floor plans are created equally. Floor plans are more than just drawings; they provide valuable insights into the layout, space, and potential of a property. However, as many homebuyers have discovered, they’re not all the same. So, let’s delve into how to interpret floor plans accurately and avoid common pitfalls.

What Is a house floor plan and why does It matter?

A floor plan is a scaled diagram of a property, showing you the arrangement of the different rooms and spaces. It helps you visualise the functionality of the home, making it easier to assess whether it meets your needs.

Common issues with house floor plans

Each estate agent will commission a specialist floor plan company to come in and measure up the property.

However, results can vary significantly; affecting the property’s value. Asking prices are often based on using a pounds per square metre referencing tool.

Don’t take house plans at face value

Some estate agents may enhance the total floor area by including spaces that should be excluded, such as garages, lofts, or even unusable sections of oddly shaped rooms. This practice can make a property appear more spacious on paper than it is in reality.

Tip: Always ask for clarification on what is included in the total square footage. Check if spaces like garages and lofts are part of the calculation.

Ambitious representations

Some floor plans use maximum measurements for irregularly shaped rooms, giving a false impression of usable space. For instance, a room might be listed as having a certain width at its widest point, even if that width is only present in a small, unusable section.

Tip: Look for floor plans that show clear, consistent measurements and beware of those that seem too good to be true.

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Why is there a difference in floor plans?

What’s causing these discrepancies? Is it poor measuring devices, bad maths, or something else?

The truth is, there are no set rules or regulations for determining floor space and creating a floor plan. The accuracy is entirely reliant on the surveyor, their tools and software used to create the plan.

Why do home plans vary?

So, what are the reasons for discrepancies?

Companies have different policies regarding what to include in the measurements. Walk-in wardrobes and utility rooms, for instance, may or may not be counted.

On further investigation, there are other extras which may or may not be included by floor plan companies, including:

  • Roof terraces
  • Hallways
  • Staircases
  • Outbuildings
  • Storage facilities
  • Attics, eaves or alcoves
  • Plans with open spaces

There are no prices guaranteed – it entirely depends on the company!

If your dream home is dependent on square footage, many buyers may have paid for space they can’t use, or even worse, doesn’t exist.

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What are the consequences?

Evidently, with all the inconsistencies and inaccuracies, buyers and tenants can be led to believe that a property is bigger than it is.

Size is often a hugely determining factor in how much someone is willing to pay for their home. So, many of us end up spending more than we should.

Alternatively, you may find you don’t have enough space for all your belongings, as you’ve been given false measurements about the size of your home.

How is the RICS working to solve the problem?

Luckily, there’s a solution, provided by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Its new guide known as Measurement Matters will help buyers and renters pay a fair price based on the accurate size of a home.

This will implement mandatory measurement standards, helping ensure home across the country are measured fairly.

This will:

  • Implement consistent and fair standards
  • Encourage property professionals to adopt the standard, to help protect buyers and tenants
  • Highlight the importance of renters and buyers checking who measured their property

The floor plan solution

So, what can you do?

Make sure you’re fully aware of what the existing floor plan does and doesn’t include. Get the estate agent to confirm exactly what space has been measured and ensure no unusable areas have been snuck in to boost the price. Don’t be afraid to arm yourself with a tape measure for the house viewing.

Most importantly – always inquire as to who has measured the property. Remember – this is your potential future home!

Moreover, when you instruct your survey, try asking your surveyor to check the accuracy of the estate agent’s floor plan.

Knowing the facts about a property can save you valuable time and money. 

Need a good surveyor? We can put you in touch with experienced, licensed professionals who can get the job done for you. Get your free surveyor quote below.

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Last Updated: June 19th, 2024