Home Buying in Meriden>Question Details

Somefemale, Home Owner in Meriden, CT

Homes are being advertised with square footage (inflated) opinion of realtors/brokers. How can we stop this practice. Paying more than homes R worth

Asked by Somefemale, Meriden, CT Sun Oct 23, 2011

MLS allows Real Estate Professionals to opine square footage, always inflating. In my opinion some homes (most if you look at Craigslist, Real Estate for Sale, by Broker and you will see a supercase 2 next to square footage on the list of homes for sale) , are selling for more than actual worth, round 2 inflated appraisals most likely started. Remember - Buyer beware, call tax assessor's office for square footage on record, report the advertised square footage. How can the MLS allow this; How will the Real Estate Market ever recover when this is allowed?

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Candace Lipira’s answer
Answered multiple times. Again, much policing is done. If you have issues, please report to appropriate authorities. Anyone else in lower Fairifled County without electric. Thank goodness for air card and battery life left on computer. Signing off and Somefemale...... Take your argument to town hall. Sounds like you have other issues other than with we Realtors.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 29, 2011
The practice of advertising a higher square footage has nothing to do with someone paying more than the property is worth - unless the person quite frankly hasn't done any homework or due dilligence on the property whatsoever. Unless you have absolutely no space or size perception, it should be fairly obvious to you when you walk into a 1200 square ft. home that is advertised at 2700. Often, what I've seen agents try to do is include the basement as "living" space, and add this on to the "true" above grade square footage. Also, most MLS systems allow listing agents to "pull" a lot of information from a previous agent's listing. Out of convenience unfortunately, a lot of agents will do this - without verifying that any of the information previously entered was actually correct.

Is it a deceptive practice in an attempt to generate more interest and showings for the seller? Yes.

Should there be better policing and a more effective "check and balance" for this? Yes.

Does it change the fact that a buyer and their agent should be double-checking all the details themselves - and would have absolutely no excuse for getting "ripped" off or paying 3000 square foot prices for a 1500 square foot home? Absolutely not.

A buyer/agent should always be checking the public records for a more accurate picture of square footage, and other details such as school district etc. If you are simply "taking a listing agent's word" for critical details of a property, without doing an due dillegence of your own, you are setting yourself up for a big mess.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 26, 2013
Capital Homes,
What does the last line on the MLS BUYER REPORT for a home state?
How much more clarity is needed?
If you are getting your data from sources other than the MLS, such as Trulia, (which means you don't know what the last line states) you need to know, that data appearing on aggregate real estate websites like Trulia and Zillow DOES NOT come from the MLS and is therefore NOT the responsibility of the real estate agent. These sites can alter, change, subsitute, supress and replace data to suit their purpose.
If you are serious, you need to use serious tools, you know of tools that have accruate, reliable, timely, comprehensive and relevant data.

Best of success to you,
Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate
Remax Realtec Group
Palm Harbor, FL
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 26, 2013
This is a big problem in Thomasville, GA. And realtors like to use the words “Buy Owner” to inflate the square footage of a home. So if you are looking for a home in Thomasville, GA. I would check public records and I would have it re-measured by an appraiser.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 26, 2013
In comparing homes for sale in my area utilizing http://www.realtor.com and then looking at the land records online (official website for the City I own in) I've seen on realtor.com (MLS) homes advertised with almost 1,000 more sf than what is on land records and some homes on the MLS list 3 bedrooms when land records show 2 bedrooms. Why are realtors not required to report discreptancies? These home should be investigated by tax assessor offices and if renovations were not reported by the homeowner, homeowners should pay all additional taxes owed and be greatly fined for the deception. But this kind of deception is not reported by RE Professionals but they get their commissions on these homes selling for more than worth by whats on land records. Its a shameful situation. Report the decreptancies, help get the real estate market back to an honest market. This is not a trivial issue. RE Professionals would inflate square footage when the square footage does not exist should have their license forever denied in all states, not just the states they are licensed in. I would think that these homes can be listed with sf on record then in the description a comment could be made to 'possible' additional square footage. If I read the regulations correctly, that is how they are supposed to be listed
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 29, 2011
MLS systems vary greatly throughout the country and generally square footage is the conditioned area of a home above grade. Conditioned generally means heated, cooled etc. A 3 season, enclosed porch would not be included in square footage. Often agents rely on the assessors field card for approximate square footage. Often the info from the assessors cards is inaccurate and an independent determination must be made. An appraiser will generally determine square footage by measuring the foundation length times width,fairly easy when dealing with a rectangle or square but difficult when there are numerous jogs in the foundation. When looking for a home, size is important to consumers but certainly not the determining factor when deciding on the right home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 29, 2011
This seems like such a trivia point. The actual living square footage is easily determined by the tax card. Who cares what the advertised sf states on the MLS. Often times listings state updated bathrooms but when you preview the home they are 10 years old. When were they updated is the more appropiate question. Almost every advertisement places a product in the best light. I would be focusing my attention on the quality of the structure, location, etc... and not so much on a single item like sf that can be easily calculated and verified by measuring or pulling a tax card. I think very few buyers purchase homes under the pretense that the home is larger than it actually is. If the proffessionals involved placed the value of a home on the MLS listing information your statement would be correct? But they don't so your statement is wrong.
The square footage listed on the MLS has little to do with someone paying more than a home is worth?
As for your statement "people paying more than a home is worth". Appraisers are tighter now on appraisals than ever before. What facts you are basing your statement on?
If a buyer hires a qualified agent the tax card will be provided and the actual living square footage will be provided. If you are making your decisions based on the information provided on the MLS that's a big mistake. Often times the finished lower levels are included and should be mentioned on the listing. Second look at the source of the sqaure foot estimate? Appraisers will not miss this and if the Realtor you hired does I would suggest you find another agent with your best interest at heart. I wouldn't point the finger at Realtors though? If a client is selling a home agents can't qualify or verify every statement made by the seller nor should they. That's what the property disclosures are for!. If the seller tells the selling agent the wood floors and roof are five years old than that's what the agents put on the listing.
These are points you should bring up with your Realtor. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 23, 2011
First of all, MLS requires that the accurate "Living Area" SF be reported accurately. Living area generally is described as living space above the "frost Line." The Gross represents the whole SF of the building. We will get warnings when the accurate Living area SF is not recorded on the listing and can be fined if it is not corrected.

Some agents will include Lower Level SF in that total living area, but they must put in remarks that "Lower Level" included in SF total and then designate what that amount is. Any agent worth their salt will double check that total with the recorded SF in the recorded info at Town Hall.

Now, if a property listing shows more Living Area SF than what is recorded with the Town Hall records, it could mean that space in Gross area may have been finished or an addition was added without a CO, Certificate of Occupancy; meaning possibly, the owners didn't apply for permits, not uncommon. They do this to avoid a raise in taxes. If so, that should be picked up by the Realtor and the appraiser will certainly pick it up as well as attorneys. That opens another issue, since getting a loan may require owners or buyers to demand, to retroactively apply for those permits, which will require an inspection of work done by the appropriate town dept. Then, negotiations may continue.

Bottom line, no matter what the Realtor discloses on listing, the appraiser will pick it up during their due diligence process when trying to accurately come up with a market value for the property. Remember at the bottom of every listing is a disclosure that says “Listing Information comes from various sources and may not be accurate. No representation is made as to the accuracy of this information. You should verify any information that is important to your buying decision.” You, meaning the buyer.
Yes, "Caveat Emptor," buyer beware.

So the back stop is always the appraiser and the buyer's own due diligence, helped by their Realtor and attorney.
There may be instances that a property may sell for more than it's worth, unusual tho and more money down may be required.
Don't worry, we as Realtor's are "policed" by the State, MLS, buyers, sellers and our very own fellow Realtors.
Just because a listing agent or owner says it's so, doesn't mean it's true. I truly don't believe that homes are selling above market value in general. As to whether a home bought last year is worth less this year, is not due to inaccurate info, it is due to what the market is bearing at the moment.
Thank you for your thoughts. PS. Many towns are using a company to assess properties called http://www.visionappraisal.com. I didn't see Meriden in the list, but the info generally is correct. Again, buyers must do their own due diligence as well and inaccuracies should always be reported to the proper authorities.

Candace Lipira
CT Licensed
Web Reference: http://candylipirahomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 23, 2011
Square footage is not, in my opinion, one of the most important factors when purchasing a home. Curb Appeal, room count, floor plan, condition, updates/upgrades and livability are far more important.

And for those who feel that square footage is critical, they can certainly bring a digital tape measure (available at most hardware stores for under $25.00) to the property once they'd decided they have more than passing interest.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 23, 2011
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
As a real estate agent, when I am representing a buyer, I ALWAYS do my own reseach on a property before the buyer puts in an offer. It surprises me how often the MLS info is wrong. The listing agent's reply is "that is what the seller told me".
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 23, 2011
There are occasions when the figures from the tax assessor's office may be incorrect......i.e. improvements performed to the home that were not recorded, etc. etc. If you are being represented, your agent will not only show you the MLS listing of the subject home but also the tax records. If there is a square footage difference between the 2 records your agent will find the reason why.
Web Reference: http://www.321property.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 23, 2011
It is actually not allowed, first as far as the MLS square footage should be GLAG gross living sopace above ground. It is a basic calcualtion multiplying length times width of a house. Space in a lower level, basement, or unheated should not be included. As well garages, 3 season porchs, decks or attic space should not be included. Assessors often calculate teh entire square footage and then seperately the living space square footage. The one thing to note is craigsllist is not the mls, it is filled with scams and cloned listings by scammers. A buyer should always verify any info, having a buyer agent can nearly eliminate problems like this as they are looking out for the buyer best interests.
Web Reference: http://www.ScottSellsNH.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 23, 2011
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