If you are looking at a property listing, there are several items that you will undoubtedly cast your eye over first.

10.01.14 Floor plan 5

For sale: Three bedroom house in Salisbury for £330,000

There’s the decorative order – does the living room suit your taste and standards? – and of course, the price – is the property within your budget? You’ll probably also look at the number of bedrooms, and may even need to consider what the local schools are like.

But there’s perhaps one item that you’ll overlook. Or at least, it may not be at the top of your list of priorities. And yet it can be a deal breaker if you get it wrong, estate agents warn.

It is none other than floor plans – those architect-type drawings that many buyers avoid clicking onto in favour of photos of more colourful cushions and bed spreads.

James Kendling, of estate agents Hamptons International in Buckingham, said: “Floor plans are especially useful in determining the versatility of accommodation. Often buyers are looking for the potential to extend a property or alter the layout to suit their own personal needs, it is in these early stages that a floor plan can determine whether the property is proceedable.”

“Typically buyers will view multiple properties at any given time and then take home the floor plans to compare and scrutinise each property to determine which layout is best suited to their needs.”

The warning comes amid a report from insurer LV= that the average British home has shrunk by two square meters in just a decade, down from 98.8 in 2003 to 96.8 today.

The report highlights the overcrowding present in family homes today, claiming 150,000 children have seen their bedrooms partitioned in two in an attempt to create extra bedrooms.

If you’re buying a property and want to make sure that it is big enough to meet your needs, you will need to first understand the dimensions of it – and for this you will need to study the area of the floor plan, measured in square feet or square metres.

So if a room is four meters by four meters, it means it is 16 square meters, which is another figure you may on the floor plan.

A similar calculation can be done for measurements taken in square feet, with a square foot being the equivalent to 12 inches wide by 12 inches long.

View the property floor plans listed on Zoopla:

1. For sale: Three bedroom detached house in Fareham for £309,950

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2. For sale: Five bedroom semi-detached house in Tonbridge for £350,000

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3. For sale: Five bedroom property in Glasgow for £615,000

10.01.14 Floor plan 4Some information contained herein may have changed since it was first published. Zoopla strongly advises you to seek current legal and/or financial advice from a qualified professional.

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