Institute of Housing Technologies
Improving the Real Estate Information Network
Setting up your own home measurement business
If you've though about opening a new business for measuring homes, you're timing is probably pretty good. Whether you're thinking about it as a totally new business, or thinking about adding measuring services to an existing appraisal business. It's a business that provides a great service; first to the agents that use your services, and especially to the consumers that will benefit from accurate pricing, stronger negotiations, and easier financing, all because they started with accurate information. In this price-per-square-foot world, using accurate square footage data, and not relying on the mostly inaccurate details reported through public records systems across the country, a good beginning dramatically increases the chances for a successful ending, with less hassles along the way. A real estate transaction is an emotional journey and the more you can do to make the process smoother, the better for all parties involved. Without a doubt, in every residential transaction, size does matter. Having a home measured by a highly trained, licensed, and insurance professional appraiser ensures you the best possible transaction.
So, you're ready to start offering measuring services. What do you need to do? Do you have to do anything other than just start measuring? After all, you're already a licensed appraiser and measuring houses is part of the job. This just goes hand in hand with the appraisal business. You already have Errors and Ommission's insurance, so what steps do you need to take to get started? Can you send out an email to every Realtor in town and start the ball rolling? It may be a good idea to think a few things through before you get going.
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First things first. Call your E&O provider and make sure measuring square footage is covered by your policy. Since it is not part of the appraisal process, if you are simply providing measuring services to Realtors, you want to make sure you are covered. If your E&O policy does not cover this part of the business, ask them if they can offer another policy, or call your personal insurance company and see if they can help. Just be sure that you are covered before you start. More and more agents are getting appraisers to provide the square footage details and you can believe if there's a problem, they are coming to you. That's part of the reason they like having someone else give them a number. Remember that when you price your services. They can hire someone to do a floor plan far less expensive, but they have no liability. If you are providing specific square footage dimensions and calculations, you may be held responsible for its accuracy. That is valuable...
Don't forget that are are offering them a reliable number upon which to base their home's value. If they relied on the data in public records they could be over or under pricing their homes by a great deal. You may be making them money by providing accurate measurements. Or, you may be saving them alot of headaches ahead in the appraisal process, when they eventually discover the home has less square footage than what the tax department claimed, and that they have a low appraisal and no sale. Either way, you are providing them a great service. They get the full picture of their home and it can be better compared to other homes that have sold. Details are one key ingrediant to a successful sale.