BOMA Standards and the Square Footage Stigma

Apparently there’s a stigma surrounding square footage calculations in the Chicago real estate market. In mid-August of last year MRED made it mandatory to input square footage estimations for all new detached, attached and residential rentals. MRED left a little loophole in making the changes mandatory by allowing an entry of “zero” square feet without incurring a fine. Of all the currently active listings entered into the MLS since that day in August, over 27% of those were entered with a “zero” for Approximate Square Footage (ASF). For whatever reason these agents are still uncomfortable with entering an approximate square footage when they input their listings.

Best Floorplans has been drawing floor plans for real estate agents for over 7 years and we’ve talked with hundreds of agents about the square footage of their listings. Some agents appreciate our square footage calculations because they don’t feel they can trust the numbers from previous listing sheets or homeowners. Other agents like to know what our calculations are but still prefer to use numbers from the previous listing sheets, condo associations or developers to make nice with their sellers. As far as we’re aware, none of the agents who use Best Floorplans enter a “zero.”

At Best Floorplans, we think that MRED was signaling a move toward standardization by making the square footage entries mandatory. We turned to the international experts on the subject at Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) for guidance. BOMA’s, “Gross Areas of a Building: Standard Methods of Measurement (ANSI/BOMA Z65.3-2009),” is the published international standards manual for calculating the gross area of properties. Most of BOMA’s focus in the past has been on commercial and industrial properties, but this manual was published in 2009 to begin to address the concerns of the residential real estate market.




What you need to know about BOMA to measure up your listing:
• Exterior Gross Area (EGA) – This is what is commonly referred to as “livable” space in the home (this is what Best Floorplans considers to be the appropriate square footage to communicate in the MLS for residential real estate).
• Construction Gross Area (CGA) – This includes everything in the EGA, and also includes certain exterior spaces attached to the home (this is something Best Floorplans calculates for our agents to help them communicate the space in more detail and depth to potential buyers).
• Not all parking structures are included in the EGA or the CGA in BOMA’s standards. However, Best Floorplans always measures every important space with care and detail, and will communicate the most accurate square footage to the agent.
• Even though outdoor spaces such as patios and backyards may not be included in BOMA’s standards, Best Floorplans realizes they’re important and is fully equipped to measure all spaces within the property line to create full survey renderings for our agents’ marketing needs.

Best Floorplans is in compliance with the BOMA standards to provide the confidence real estate agents need to enter the accurate square footage for their listings in the MLS.

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