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02-13-2012 04:51 PM
In my market area, public records is pretty accurate as to condominium gross living area data. Thus, the Realtor that misinforms a buyer as to gross living area will not be a factor in the appraised value. A problem could arise in the following manner: Buyer thinks his property is worth more than other units in the building (i.e 1/1 condos in the same bld.--because the Realtor told the buyer that the gross living area was 1200 square feet and the other units in the building are 1000 sq. ft. Meanwhile the adjusted range for the comparables is 80, 87, and 89K... If the contract is for 88K.. the appraiser may not want to kill the deal for $1,000. So the appraiser values the property at 88K instead of a more supportable 87K value.. This is a simplified example... but you get the idea.... so the realtor skewed the process originally by misinforming the buyer of the gross living area in the first place...
As to eyeballing gross living area.. most people do not have this ability..... Repeat after me.. balconies and terraces are not to be included in gross living area! I always tell buyers to get an independent appraisal from an appraiser on a major purchase before offering and do not tell your Realtor.. Realtors are commissioned based and want their deals to work... as they say.....
02-14-2012 01:27 PM
I was shocked when I found out the living space was measured using exterior dimensions. I tape measured each room in the house we're buying and it come out to around 1500sf or so. The house was listed at 1900sf or so. Using the exterior calculations I got around 1900, but that included the attached garage. I tried to get a deduction on the property, but they refused and I wanted to buy the house anyway.
The appraisal came in around 1600-1700. Anyway, good luck.
04-11-2012 10:34 AM - edited 04-11-2012 10:36 AM
My suggestion is to look up the public records online or go into the town hall. In Massachusetts it seems that all the public records are online. Try googling "your_town_name your_state assessors database"
I've noticed that these sites are often hosted by third parties that are subcontracted to by the town. So the site could be different than the town government's site.
The dimensions are exterior dimensions and typically include separate amounts for finished, unfinished, each floor, basement, garage, exterior deck, screen porch, etc. The amount should only include finished above-grade interior space unless a comment is included in the disclosures.
04-11-2012 01:07 PM
I've looked at dozens of homes and not one of them had accurate square footage. I've guesstimated inflation by as much as 40% in some cases. In one case, I even brought my tape, measured myself, and I always round in the seller's favor (i.e. angular spaces I give the whole area as if it were square).
And what standard did you use when you measured to determine whether their numebrs were accurate or not?
I've seen the square footage rants a few times now in these forums but what people seem to misunderstand is that there is no universial standard for calculating square footage. 15 different people can all go and measure a property on the same day and all come up with completely different numbers because they all pick and choose what they consider to be living space and what isn't. Even the one attempt at creating a standard (the ANSI Standard) failed to address a lot of specific circumstances.
Here in MA the public records are pretty good but they are far from perfect. The local tax assessor's don't follow the ANSI standard but use their own modified version of it. Recorded footage tend to follow the same system within a given town but you can't compare across towns. Different assessor, different system.
04-11-2012 02:47 PM
I had a builder loan last year that fit this thread.
New construction condo. The unit was for all intents and purposes a rectangle. The builders brochure came up to 2,000 SF. The appraiser the borrower chose came in at 1800. They were screwing up the deal, so the borrower called me. Our appraiser came in at 1900 SF.
Why the difference?
The builder was measuring the gross interior space without pony walls, cabinets in some cases, etc. The original appraiser didn't count interior unit stairwells. We did, only in that it's perfectly legitimate to do so.
Beauty, or in this case square footage, is in the eye of the beholder.
Thanks for reading,
See all my reviews
04-11-2012 03:49 PM
You kind of flippantly dismissed my point without thinking it through. I gave free square footage to the favor of the seller in every possible way and still fell short of their numbers -- by a lot. I'm aware of the various ways to measure. Exterior base is total bull**bleep**. Interior to the framing is also less than honest. I count bathrooms and closets even though these aren't technically living spaces. The published numbers are never not exaggerated.
04-11-2012 04:31 PM
Seems to me that it is you being flippant here without thinking it through.
While you may dislike the exterior base measurements, they *are* the base starting point for measuring within the ANSI standard. That's why I asked what system you used when measuring.
No matter how you measure from inside and how many square feet you give away in favor of the seller you will ALWAYS come up short if they measured using the ANSI system (or one of it's variations that FHA, VA or HUD uses).
You don't see bathrooms and closets as "technically" being living space but all of the current standards for measuring do. You'll also note that the MLS doesn't list "Living Space". It lists "Square Footage" (i.e. Sq. Ft.). "Living space" hasn't been used since the 1980s. Two completely different concepts.
As I said earlier, there is no single exact standard that covers measuring. If you come up with a different number than the seller then your only option is to ask them how they came up with their number. It's up to them to justify their claims. You may not like how they came up with their numbers but if they can justify them by using a recognized standard you don't have much room for complaint.
As for published numbers always being exagerated:
The house is listed as being 3.456 Sq ft.
The public records for it list it at 2,700 Sq Ft of "finished space". The notes in the listing also mention that the listed total includes and additional 668 Sq Ft of finished basement and a new sun room (which is listed as being 13'x16'), neither of which the town counted in the public records. Total those up. 2700+668+208 = 3,576. They shorted themselves 120 sq ft.
03-26-2013 03:21 AM
03-28-2013 07:38 AM
Hi, I see this is a very old thread- but there's a google tool you can use online to estimate sq footage:
Of course it doesn't tell you the condition of the house or measure counter space, etc but if the house isn't too irregularly shaped it's a lot faster than doing the measuring yourself.