Agents Under Fire Over Discrepancies In Measuring Up

Date Published 16 April 2013

Estate agents are measuring up properties with huge discrepancies.

A report in the Financial Times says that the difference in measurements between two sets of floor plans for the same properties was as much as 300 sq ft.

The paper analysed over 200 properties in London, where homes are increasingly valued by the square foot. Currently, a square foot in London can fetch up to £6,000.

It says that as a result, buyers risk overpaying by tens of thousands of pounds because of what it calls `widespread` discrepancies.

The paper claims that several complaints have been made against Foxtons. It says one buyer who bought through Foxtons last year had the property recently measured by another agent, Kinleigh, Folkard & Hayward, who found a discrepancy of 68 sq ft less – the size of a small bedroom.

In another case, a seller of a rental property in Chelsea had it marketed by Foxtons as being 627 sq ft, but 550 sq ft when marketed by Douglas & Gordon estate agents.

Foxtons told the paper it did not value properties based on floor plans, adding: `It is accepted within the RICS code and industry in general that floor plans commissioned by different agencies are unlikely to be identical.`

It said the RICS code of practice allows for flexibility as to whether features such as alcoves and stairwells are included in the square footage.

The RICS code allows for no more than a 1% degree of inaccuracy in measurements, but the FT says that it found that more 100 floor plans varied by `significantly` more than this.

The FT says there are a number of reasons for the discrepancies, including differences in the way agents measure up, including the use of floor plan companies and computer programmes, and poorly trained staff.