Home Buying in 10021>Question Details

Vasya, Home Buyer in 10021

Why do many listings in Manhattan exaggerate the sq footage of the property?

Asked by Vasya, 10021 Sat Aug 23, 2008

Well, we have been shopping around for a condo in Manhattan and looked over 30-40 condos.
Almost every time listing would state 750 or 850 sq foot. However, when we go, I could totally see that it's about 10-15% less than it was advertised.
I do realize that in ad they put word approx. But I think it tricking customer and some strict regulation should be in place to prevent this outrageous lie.

Help the community by answering this question:


Wow! I'm sorry and suprised that you have encountered this! As Frank already said it's a serious offence to quote the wrong measurements and the brokerages I worked for did not allow you to list the measurements, unless they were listed under the builiding's architectural plans. How do you figure out that they are smaller? If this concerns greatly you, there are fairly accurate digital laser meauring devices on the market these days so that you can confirm your misgivings. You could also report the discrepancies to Rebny and the the Department of State (and Manar if the agents are members)
I'm not aware of an interior /exterior measurement system but I would be glad to recommend you to a couple of reputable architects who would be able to professionally address your concerns.
You might also profit from speaking to an attorney
I would also be glad to be your broker, if you do not have one!
Web Reference: http://www.joliemuss.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 23, 2008
All buildings measure their square footage differently. Most measure from the middle of the outside walls of the unit...which adds about 6" around all rooms (and include any interior walls or partitions, closets, hallways, etc). In the prospectus for each building (offering plan), there are stated square footages, these are usually pretty correct. When I take a listing, I use whatever is in the original offering plan to stay safe. But again, some buildings measure from the middle of the common hallway...it's different in every unit/building You cannot get accurate measurements by just measuring the rooms, you have to include at least another 6" for all wall space. For instance...if a room measures 15'6"X11'6"= 178.25 s.f., you should really measure
16X12=192 s.f....10% more!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 27, 2008
In condos they usually measure from the outside walls, which can be quite thick. There was an article about this not that long ago in the NY Times real estate section - that people who bought preconstruction in a number of developments were quite shocked once it was built and saw it for the first time.
When in comes to co-ops it's even trickier, because the offering plan, which is basically the "bible" for all buildings never lists square footage, just shares in the corporation. So it is always a guess. You will almost always see a disclaimer saying square footage is approximate. And when guessing is allowed, there is a tendency to round up, not down, can get a little out of control and become deceiving.
If you are serious about purchasing, having a buyer's agent organize your search and negotiate on your behalf is very helpful. I have negotiated down from developer's asking prices, even when it was assumed it could not be done. And because developers are notorious for giving an overly optimistic completion date, I was able on one occasion to use the right of recision clause to negotiate a lower price many months after the contract was signed. This basically means there was a clause that if the project was finished by a certain date, the buyer can walk and get their money back. I used it to get them money off for the delays. So an experienced agent representing you, even on new developments can be very useful. And of course the seller always pays the commission, so you can only win.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 13, 2008
Some states use the outside dimension (external walls), some use inside area (from the paint inside).
It is illegal to state the wrong size of the squae footage. If they don't know, they should put a comment, such as "square footage does not match tax records."
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 23, 2008
Until a mandatory measuring method is determined and approved, this problem will always exist. In Georgia, we simply state the sq footage is xxx The next line on our FMLS listing says, "source: Tax Records". I tell my Buyers that this may not be accurate because of the reasons everyone else mentioned.

Agents spend hours searching for homes meeting the Buyer's criteria and assuring the buying process goes smoothly. We don't have time or resources to determine the method used for measuring on every home. It's not uncommon for an agent to send out listing information on over 800 homes a week.
Wanda Couch 678-614-5883 Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 17, 2011
You are totally right vasya, that is why lot of us (brokers) now do not put any square footage in the listing, unless we have the exact numbers given by the building or builder.
This fact is especially true in rentals where some people try to trick their customers, by making them think they are getting a fair price for the square footage, or just because they have no clue of a square footage therefore they do not know to assess the space.
The best way to go is to check the place, see if it fits your needs, and then see if you are confortable with the price you are paying for.
I know Upper East Side very well, and I just sold a 3 Br 3Ba there. If you want I will be very happy to help you in your search?
Feel free to contact me to do so.
Web Reference: http://www.creny.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 3, 2008
Vasya, is that Russian?

Your question has pretty much been answered, everyone uses different methods to measure a unit. In Older buildings "Pre War" walls are much thicker, in new construction walls are thinner. Some developers or architects include stairwells and other empty, unlivable space while others are more honest with their measurements.
I'm curious Vasya, you just said that you saw between 30 and 40 condos in Manhattan. Are you working with several agents or just one? 40 Condos is too much, I'm not sure if that agent is just showing you everything that you arent looking for or if there is lack of motivation on your part. Have you put any offers on any of the units, with that many apartments I just can't see why you weren't able to zero in on a unit that you like. No apartment is ever perfect, not unless you do the remodeling your self. So why so much hesitation?

0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 26, 2008
Thank you for your feedback Vasya!
Jolie Muss
Web Reference: http://joliemuss.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 25, 2008
Vasya, I was just kidding.

It often actually works the other way out here in Queens. You go to a closing for a frame 1 family house, and it turns out that it actually has a finished basement and is brick.Just that nobody bothered to notify anyone because of higher taxes and no permits.

And good for you with the tape measure!!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 24, 2008
My claim is based on facts.
One time I even pulled out a measuring tape which irritated sellers broker dramatically and he said that I am not allowed to take measurements. The place was listed as 720.Later when we finally got an access to architectural docs it was actually 665. Later I saw a listing for a neighboring apartment with identical floor plan listed at "approx. 800sq foot".

I am not venting my anger in frustration of prices as one of comments suggested. I am willing to pay a price as long as I see everything upfront not just at signing.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 24, 2008
It's very simple: the slobber of all the collective buyers and prospective buyers over the years panting and hyperventalating over buying overpriced Manhatten apartments has, over time, built up on the walls, thus diminishing the real internal space.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 23, 2008
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