5 Reasons Birmingham, AL area home sellers should order a floor plan sketch

What exactly is a floor plan sketch?

A floor plan sketch is pretty much what it says: a sketch or drawing of the floor plan of your home. The floor plan sketch will have some or all of theFLOOR PLAN SKETCH following features:

  • It will show the exterior wall dimensions.
  • Rooms within the house will be labeled such as kitchen, living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.
  • The floor plan sketch will provide the gross living area (in square feet) of your home.
  • A detailed floor plan sketch may show the interior walls of the home.

How having a floor plan sketch can help owners sell their home

Most people are familiar with the term “price per square foot”, which provides a means of comparing the sales price of various homes. You get the price per square foot by taking the sales price and dividing it by the gross living area (GLA).

The gross living area is the amount of heated and cooled area in a house that is above the ground and does not include basements or other detached living areas like a garage apartment that you access by way of an unfinished area. While these areas are given credit they are not included in the GLA.

The price per square foot can be used to compare the sales price of several properties based on their square footage but it’s important to keep in mind that price per square foot is not the only way for comparing home sales. It should be used along with other value indicators and in the context of closed sales and active & pending listings.

Having a sketch done and knowing the accurate square footage can provide multiple benefits to home sellers. Let’s take a look at how having a floor plan sketch can help sell a home.

Accurate Square Footage- One of the biggest mistakes that area multiple listing services make is not insisting that  accurate living area be included in their listings. While most MLS services require that square footage be included, the accuracy of the data leaves a lot to be desired. There are many different sources of accurate square footage information however many times agents will use county records as the data source.

While there are some exceptions, using county record data for square footage information is not very reliable. The accuracy decreases with homes that have more than one story and for those with finished basement areas. Providing accurate square footage allows buyers to compare the size of the home they’re moving out of to the one they want to move into.

Floor Plan Sketch Layout- The floor plan sketch provides a visual layout of the home with the placement of the living room, dining room, kitchen, bedrooms, and bathrooms. This, combined with photographs, gives potential buyers a better understanding of your home and can help them imagine where their furniture might be located. The more of an emotional tie you can create between the buyer and your house the better chance you have of selling it.

More Accurate List Price- By having access to accurate square footage from a floor plan sketch you can arrive at a list price that reflects what other homes are selling for. If you use incorrect square footage and use it to compare to other recent sales this may result in a list price that is either overstated or understated. If you overstate the square footage for the home you are selling and you compare it to one of similar living area you can overprice the home and it will either not sell or take a lot longer to sell. If the home has more square footage than you are aware of the exact opposite can happen. You may compare it to a smaller home and price it too low. I’m sure it will sell more quickly but the seller will be leaving money on the table. Neither of these two scenarios are ideal.

Correct Potential Tax Assessment Problems- If the gross living area of your home has been overstated in the past this can result in higher taxes. If the results of a floor plan sketch reveals that the home is smaller than what county records shows then the floor plan sketch can be used as proof to the assessor that their data is incorrect and it can possibly result in taxes being lowered. The lower taxes will be a benefit to potential buyers.

Less Chance of Deal Falling Through- As I stated previously, if the square footage of a home is overstated and the list price is too high this could result in the deal falling through due to a low appraisal. If the appraiser that that the mortgage lender chooses calculates less square footage than the agent then the appraised value could be lower.

By getting a floor plan sketch before arriving at a list price and putting it on the market for sale, the list price will be more accurate and the square footage will be more similar to what the mortgage appraisal reflects. This can prevent value issues and misinformation and confusion between buyer and seller.

Bonus Point

More Reliable Market Reports- An indirect benefit of having accurate square footage for listings is that agents will have more accurate market reports from which to price future listings. Even though price per square foot is not a good way to price a home it can be a good unit of comparison to use when calculating appreciation or depreciation in a market or when comparing two neighborhoods to one another. When agents are diligent in getting accurate square footage of the homes they are selling everyone benefits.

If you would like to order a floor plan sketch for a home you are selling call me at 205-243-9304.


Do you have any questions about how a floor plan sketch can help you sell your home? If you do then leave a comment below or if you have some insight to add I’d like to hear from you. Thanks for reading.

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  1. I’m glad to hear other appraisers talking about home measurement. An appraiser would not think about going and looking at a home to value without measuring it, so why would anyone list a home to sell without measuring it? I think measuring a home is just as important when selling as placing a sign at the street and is a sign of a diligent agent.

  2. Having an accurate sense of square footage is critical. I just happened to talk with an agent this morning about a house that had a 400 sq ft conversion, but it was not listed on the tax roll. Might that make a difference? Yep. In my humble opinion the agent would have benefited from having an appraiser measure the house first before it hit the market.

    • Perfect real world example Ryan. I’m still seeing some bad square foot info. in our MLS so a floor plan would be a good investment if an old appraisal or something similar is not available.


  1. […] Incorrect square footage is the most common problem I see with data in MLS listings. This is unfortunate because it is the one thing that many agents use to price their listings. […]

  2. […] various rooms in the house look like including their condition. Pictures, in conjunction with the floor plan sketch, helps to provide a more complete description of the improvements and provide support for the […]

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