The House is worth what the Seller thinks it's worth, and what the Buyer is willing to pay.
If the Seller has a ridiculous inflated value, maybe all you can do is walk away.
You could have your Realtor include a CMA with the OFFER, to show her the error.
Also, your Realtor could print out the Tax Record which shows the sqft.
If I was you I would call the listing agent up and nicely mention your concerns. They might explain why the numbers are different from the 1300 sq ft. I can tell the difference between a 1300 sq ft home and a 2000 sq ft home, but some agent might not notice the difference. Once a buyer finds out that the home has been misrepresented, they don't want to deal with the seller or the listing agent...and the deal can go down hill real quickly. So if I was this listing agent, I would welcome your call. Because, I always strive to get all my information about the home right.
The buyer should have time after the purchase agreement is accepted, to do their due deligence to investigate the property. That includes reviewing the county assesors or recorder"s offices records to verified the square footage for living area plus garage and patio and workshop that has been permitted. Further, the appraiser will usually meassure the home to vertify the actual square footage of the property. And yes the permitted square footage does sometimes differ from the actual square footage for many reasons.
Curiosity got the better of me and I started looking at listings in the MLS that might be around 2,000 square feet. Lo and behold I found a house that was builtin the 30's-40's with about the square footage you mention. I have lived in Fairfield for 52 years and I know that they did not build homes that big back then. I also noticed that the agent that listed it indicated the size of the home is based on what the owner said, not the tax records. In addition, the home is zoned residential and commercial, resulting in the higher price.
Hope this helps.
Let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.
Steve Goldberg, MBA, Realtor
Make an offer for what you think it's worth.
Have a Realtor do a CMA on the property to determine its approximate value. The Realtor can get in, and you should, too. It's likely the house hasn't been updated in 30 years--that'd be typical for a home like that.
Anyhow, the Realtor does a CMA. It should take into account the condition of the house, but feel free to adjust it based on your impressions. So let's say it's listed at $400,000. Your Realtor says, based on comps, its real value is closer to $225,000. You make an offer at around $225,000; your Realtor can help you with that strategy.
In your offer, you could (though it's not required) provide some justification for your "low" offer.
But it's certainly not worth paying more than it's worth. If you're financing it, it won't appraise for that higher amount. And even if you paid cash, would you want to overpay for something like that?
So: Determine what it's really worth. Then make an offer based on that number. If it's rejected, you can either wait and resubmit the offer or just walk away.
Hope that helps.
The square footage of the garage and the workshop are not considered living space and are not included in the square footage. The daughter that inherited it may think it is, which is why it is reflected in the listing. On the other hand, if improvements were done with permits then the square footage could be accurate.
Provide me some information and I can investigate this for you.
You can e-mail me at info@SteveGoldberg.us
Steve Goldberg, MBA, Realtor