Profile picture for rebleious

False Square Footage on Listing?

We recently made an offer for a house which we have just researched for home insurance purposes. The insurance company told us that when they pulled up the address, the square footage of the house was about 300 sq ft less than the listing amount. We have researched endlessly trying to find new and existing property records to see if the numbers match up and were only able to find one outdated listing on realtor.com that matched the insurance company's square footage. Why is this? Did the seller tamper with the listing to make it seem like the house was larger than it really was? 
  • May 07 2012 - Plano
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Answers (6)

Profile picture for Connie Klemme
hard to say, the records might be wrong, there might be an add on.

could be a typo.   don't know.

have the house measured or measure it yourself since you have an offer on it, this is easily one of your inspection options.  there are companies that do this for small fee of something like $75

if nothing else, just contact listing agent and ASK - why they put what they put.   if there is a legimate reason they should be able to answer quickly.
if no legit reason...then you've learned more than just that sqft is wrong- you've learned something about doing business with them.
  • May 07 2012
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When we list homes in our MLS and input the square footage, we are required to post the source of the information such as tax records, builer plan, appraisal etc.

I would never list a home based on a seller's word only.  It has to be backed up by documentation.

I would suggest that you go back to your agent and ask them to look up what the MLS says and get with the listing agent with documentation.

A lot of times the tax records show what the builder's permit was for and during the construction changes are made either making it bigger or smaller.

Naima
  • May 07 2012
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Profile picture for Rita Walker
Public records are not always correct.

There should be a clause in your contract about verifying square footage.
If not one can be written in to protect you.

When all is said and done your appraiser will determine the size.


Most Realtors work to get it correct in order to avoid liability issues. However, there is a 10% margin of error allowed in my state (2 people can measure the same home and come out with differing figures), which is why it says approximate square footage.
  • May 07 2012
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Not all areas required the same record from home owners and sellers, it is very common to find errors of this nature. 
It will be nice , if there were national standards about property descriptions and standars.

Best of luck
 l
  • May 08 2012
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Profile picture for Thomas Trifon
In many MLSs, the source of the square footage is noted; eg. Assessor, Owner, etc. Just because it is in the town records that the square footage is X, doesn't mean that it is correct. I know of a recent house that is on the market, that the assessor's office was under by 35%. Why? Because the records (especially old ones) are not necessarily accurate.

Whether the records are on paper or electonically kept, there is always human error that is possible.

The Sellor and/or the Sellors' agent should investigate it with the town to determine what the correct sqft is correct. (You could also do this). This may entail having the assessor go to the house.

Good luck with it.

One last point: because there is a discrepancy in the MLS information and that which your insurance company tells you, it is really disingenuous to accuse the listing agent of fraud, misrepresentation.
  • May 08 2012
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Profile picture for user119302
They included the garage in the square footage.
  • May 28
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