Home Buying in Williamsburg>Question Details

Bloodyrich, Home Buyer in Brooklyn, NY

Can we trust the sq foot listings?

Asked by Bloodyrich, Brooklyn, NY Wed Sep 29, 2010

The sq feet listed for a place I am looking atthat is new construction, is no where near usable sq feet. I assume it is what the sq feet was in the raw space before the walls came in. But even that seems like it may not add up. How do i know that they are listing the real raw space figures and not simply exaggerating?

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The Real Estate Board of New York recently sent memos to its broker-members about square footage and also room definitions. You can view these and a discussion on my blog:


Karla Harby, VP
Charles Rutenberg Realty
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 7, 2010
No!, measure it yourself or better yet have the selling agent/builder measure with you there watching and recording. For tax purposes, municipalities only count livable, heated space. Closets and hallways are included, but garages, attics, unfinished bonus rooms, and sun porches aren't. Nor, usually, are basements—though some localities include walk-out basements that are finished to the standard of the rest of the house.Because tax records aren't infallible, listing agents are supposed to measure the property themselves. But many just copy the information from tax records, and rely on boilerplate language in listing sheets and contracts that the "information is reliable but not guaranteed." Some also include space that a tax appraiser wouldn't, like a lavishly finished below-ground basement, and then use language that protects them from claims of deception, like "square footage on three levels." So before deciding how to proceed it's important to find out if the agent measured the house, what was measured and how it was done.
Web Reference: http://www.clovelake.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
I always advise bringing the tape measure.

The BNYMLS now requires the square footage to be included in every listing for coops.

Best regards,

David Rogoff and Bonnie Chernin
Fillmore Real Estate Branch #19
Brooklyn NY 11210
917-593-4068 - David mobile
646-318-5031 – Bonnie mobile
e-mail: davidrogoff@Fillmore.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 12, 2010
Well, I'm out here is California and when an agent lists a house on the MLS, there is a link to the property tax description of the house. So if there was a previous house on the property, or this might be a remodel rather than all new construction would account for a discrepancy; you would do best to go to the recorders office and ask to see the most up to date records on the house. You should also check with the building permit department and see what they have on record. Since you're out of state you could try calling or look online, however online records are not always current. You didn't say whether this was a development or single house being built. Best,
Terry Bell, Realtor
Santa Rosa, CA
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
The square footage advertised is generally approximate, but is not to be misleading. When the square footage is cited as coming from the assessor, it is considered only as good as the information the assessor's office has. For example, if someone were to add a room without permit, the assessor would have no knowledge of this and the additional square footage would not be included. In the case of new construction, as that you are interested in, the measurements should be from wall to wall and generally includes livable space. For example, garage space is not generally included in the square footage, at least in California. To get clarity, you should ask the builder what the basis of their measurements is. Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
We used a company called MeasureComp to take measurements. Bad measurements that end up in the county records will affect property taxes... and are a pain to get changed.
If the measurements are wrong then the price should be negotiated accordingly. (good luck with that)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
Good question. I'm assuming the square footage source is coming from the builder in this scenario. Have the builder show you the plans. The building and planning department for the city in which the home resides will also have a copy of the plans. It wouldn't make sense for a builder to exaggerate square footage to you as an appraiser will have to come out and measure the home (assuming your securing financing to purchase the home.) If there is a discrepancy between what the builder is stating and what the appraiser determines then you may have leverage to reduce your asking price based on the new information.
Web Reference: http://dixonteamoc.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
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