Hope you're not too fustrated with the process but fortunatly here on Trulia you can vent & realize that if it happened to you, there are probably dozens it's happened to elsewhere, enjoy your day :)
Our MLS around here (MLS-PIN) has sections to disclose the source of the living area & how the ultimate # was come by. Square footage & features can, is and will continue to be a source of contention due to several factors including: listing agents, homeowners, city/town officials interpretations, appraisers, lenders and so on.
As far as a code of ethics violation, unless the listing agent/brokerage are Realtors then they don't have a code of ethics. Only members of The National Association of Realtors has a code of ethics. Non-Realtors only have state real estate laws, licencing laws and errors & ommissions guidelines. Being a Realtor add a code of ethics to all those.
If you are using a buyers agent they should be able to better advise you going forward on verifying properties & issues such as this. We'd love to see this forever disappear as an issue but these things unfortunatly happen from time to time.
Good luck in your search,
It's not illegal to have a finished basement in Winchester and I am not sure how a finished basement would make it a fire hazard. If it had a kitchen in the basement I could understand... but having a room with a window and a closet in the basement shouldn't make it a fire hazard.
But I am not a building inspector nor an attorney...just sharing my opinion and thought process.
I tend to agree with Chris's answer.
Thanks to you both.
Thanks for the follow-up. We spent quite a bit of time driving around Winchester, just getting a feel for the area. We like The Flats very much and that whole Wedgemere area best. Being close to the train and town center was most desirable for us.
Our timing has been such that there wasn't a lot in that area, however. The house we put the offer on is newer construction up around Ambrose elementary. Mahoney's and Whole Foods make the neighborhood more appealing. It's probably between 40% to 80% more expensive than the other houses around it, though. The current owner bought it at near the peak of the market and probably won't come down enough to enable us to buy it and fix it up properly. Sadly, our inspector kept pointing out signs of neglect that will now cost quite a bit to fix. Probably best to walk and cut our losses. Never expected some of these problems in a newer house.
We also liked the area around Myopia. Some nice houses on that street leading to the golf course and country club. Seems odd that a couple of houses there have been for sale for so long.
We have a buyer's agent who is very good and with whom we have great chemistry. He really gets what we're looking for. Unfortunately, he's not from Winchester, so he may not get all of the latest info as soon as the locals.
Glad I found you all on Trulia. It's a great resource. If you guys have any advice on neighborhoods, hot new houses coming on the market or anything else Winchester-related, we're eager to hear it. I'll keep checking this thread.
We're currently trying to house hunt from out of town, which is expensive. I feel that we kind of wasted a lot of time and money pursuing this house, ultimately only giving the seller a list of things he needs to fix. Just want to know if this is standard operating procedure in the industry. Doubt that it is.
We LOVE Winchester, btw, and really look forward to living there... As soon as we can find a house.
The question isn't about how many bedrooms I need, but rather about how far a seller can go to maximize the house's asking price... And whether there are sanctions against misrepresentation.
Thanks for your answer!