Far be it from us at Snagging Overseas to make that kind of joke! However, many clients do ask us to measure their units, er, properties. This is usually something that is rooted in horror stories within the overseas property industry than because developers routinely build the property to a smaller size.
In saying that, we have come across some units that have appeared of a slightly different size but, certainly in Europe, there is usually a perfectly good explanation for this. I say Europe because we have seen some strange things in Sharm el Sheikh!
The easiest mistake to make is when comparing the square metres you were told at point of sale with the finished article.
As real estate agents have been known to make a few small exaggerations, not to mention a couple of white lies here and there, you would be forgiven for thinking they have deliberately misled you. In reality they will almost invariably speak of the total area of the property, including the thickness of the walls, any low, attic type ceilings and "lost" space like cupboard areas and kitchen units.
You see, when you measure inside a property you are measuring the total living space. In France it wasn't until as late as 1996 that they introduced a law to control the measurement of properties. The Minister of Housing for France, Loi Carrez, who brought in a law that standardised the measurement of a property. Sounds incredible, but it was a good idea.
Now everyone knows where they are when it comes to computing the space in an attic apartment, for example. Any floor space beneath 1.8 metres does not count. Cellar space also does not count. Separating walls, balconies and stairwells.
In Spain they speak of gross metres (Metros brutos) and net metres (metros útiles) and apply a very similar standard measurement. Almost the same as in France except that exterior balconies count as 50% - so a 20 square metre balcony counts as 10m2 of space. Simple right!
However, if you are unsure of the final measurements, Snagging Overseas will double check for you. Remember, however, once an apartment is built it is sometimes not possible to measure the total area, only the interior area.
So it isn't size that counts, after all, it's just HOW you measure it (The, ah, the unit, you know, the property).