Home Selling in New York>Question Details

Maria Richar…, Both Buyer and Seller in New York, NY

I am trying to figure out how much to ask for my co-op and I see that within the same line there are different square footages. How can this be?

Asked by Maria Richardson, New York, NY Fri Jul 2, 2010

Help the community by answering this question:


There is a reason why square footage for the same unit in the same line may be listed as different. That is because the definitive document on a co-op or condo is the offering plan. On co-ops it does not quote square footage, in condos it does. In a co-op offering plan it is the number of shares that is quoted. There are different ways of measuring square footage. Beyond that, some quotes are exaggerated or are rounded up. So if you are sure the footprint is the same, assume it is the same layout/square footage as yours.

Jenet Levy
Halstead Property, LLC
212 380-4268
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 2, 2010
Regarding the fact that there are different methods of measuring mentioned below, I can tell you that a principal of Vanderbilt Appraisers, a very well-respected NYC appraisal firm once told my office that the correct way to measure a co-op is "paint to paint" whereas for a condo it is mid-party wall to mid-party wall and to the outside of outer walls.
More importantly though, is the fact that you state you are trying to price your co-op which leads me to believe you are going to sell it on your own. If this is so, you probably want to get the most money in the least amount of time. In order to do that you need to be priced correctly, but also to get the most exposure you can. For that I would strongly suggest you list your apt. with an experienced professional real estate agent with a firm with very comprehensive marketing capabilities.

Jenet Levy
Halstead Property, LLC
212 381-4268
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 5, 2010
Maria, if you are talking about a small difference, let's say 25 or 50 sq feet, that will not make a difference as far as appraised value. I just had an appraisal come in on a 1 bedroom apartment in Queens, sold for $254,000. The apartment was 859 sq. ft., and there was no adjustment made between that, and 1 for 900 sq. ft.. Adjustments are more likely to be made for floor ($1,000 per floor at that price range, more per fl on higher priced units), doorman vs. intercom, other amenities in the building, bedrooms and bathroom count, and condition of apartment, such as renovated vs. original, central air vs. units. The appraisal I just looked at was done by MM&J, one of the largest of the NYC appraisal companies.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 5, 2010
Janet is absolutely right. I would like to add there is more than one perfectly acceptable way to measure square footage, however, and depending on which method you use, you will get a different number. (Architects and appraisers DO have a standard method, however; but if you ask 3 of them for an estimate you will usually get 3 different numbers!)

You can measure the usable floor space in the apartment excluding the floor space taken up by interior walls, built-ins or closets; you can measure the interior space including a few inches into the exterior walls, on the grounds that you are responsible for maintaining that space (wiring/plumbing) anyway; or you can measure the total floor space as if the apartment had no rooms, no closets, and no interior walls, but exclude a few inches into the exterior walls. Some combination of these strategies is also possible, of course.

All of these methods will give you different numbers. I prefer to measure the apartment using the last method, as if it had no interior walls or closets, but I do not include space projecting into the exterior walls. So in other words I think closets should be included in the square footage, because after all they are removable--yes, people do remove closets from Manhattan apartments! :)

So the discrepancy you're observing is not always a matter of sellers deliberately overstating the square footage--or brokers overstating square footage without consulting the seller! But these things certainly happen, too.

In my experience I have encountered sellers who were flat-out unwilling to be honest about the size of their properties, they wanted to overstate it. But that's not acceptable to an ethical broker.

The remedy is to create or obtain an *accurate* and *detailed* floor plan. The floor plan is the best way to communicate the size of your apartment to a potential buyer. A good floor plan--and some are quite poor--also communicates what kind of measuring system was used to come up with the dimensions.

I provide floor plans at no charge to my clients. I must add that the easiest way to get a good listing price for your apartment is to ask several real estate professionals to provide a Comparative Market Analysis. Once you get their numbers, you can average them, or simply choose a mid-range number, or choose the lowest number if you're in a hurry to sell, and the highest number if you're in no hurry. If I can help you further, please let me know.

Karla Harby, VP, Lic. Real Estate Salesperson
Charles Rutenberg Realty, New York City
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 5, 2010
Offering plans for a co-op do not quote square footage, they quote shares in the corporation. When you own a co-op, you own shares in a corporation, not real estate. Those shares come with a proprietary lease that enables you to occupy the apartment. For condos, however, they quote square footage because you actually own that unit in the form or real property. That is why she cannot check her offering plan to find out the square footage for her co-op.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 12, 2010
The offering plan is the Bible for what anyone marketing a property should use. Especially when it come to square footage. This could be broker error. Do you have the origianal offering plan? Is so, use the square footage listed for your unit. Then you can't go wrong.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 12, 2010
Hi Maria. All the answers below are fantastic. Since it seems that you want to do this yourself (you don't mention any brokers), there is a way to know the valuaton of your Coop. Hire an appraisal company. They are not trying to over inflate the property value or list a high price just because they need a listing. As a neutral party they will give you their appraised value.

Of course you could ask a couple of broker for a no-obligation consultation and market analysis. That would help you get an overall idea of the value.

Good Luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 10, 2010
I would be happy to do a free home market evaluation for you...or you may go to my site MichaelDvorkin.com to fill in your information for a free online estimate
Or go to NYChomevalues.org
Web Reference: http://MichaelDvorkin.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 5, 2010
In order to best determine a value on your co-op so that you don't shortchange yourself nor overprice yourself out of the market, you may wish to consider consulting with any local agent(s) or hire a professional appraiser.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 3, 2010
Maria - look at my response again as I think I addressed the issue - but I will try to clarify. It is either a different floorplan despite being in the same line (from a combo, or a building whose floorplans vary by floor), or someone wasn't being honest in their sq footage reporting. However, if you look at units floorplans (you can find on streeteasy or other sites) and see that they are the same, but the sq footage is different, you will know that one of them is wrong. That said, you can still look at their asking prices (and sale price if it closed) and use this to help you determine the right price to list your apartment. Hope this clarified my response. Feel free to email if you want a one on one conversation.
Web Reference: http://www.realdirect.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 2, 2010
Thanks for your answers, but I am talking about the same apartment as mine on two different floors and my question is how can the square footage be listed as different?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 2, 2010
Hi Maria,

Determing price per square foot is one way of helping you find out the market value of your coop apartment. However all square feet are not equal. The floor, view, renovations, condition can also play a factor.

Another possible way that may help figure out value is price per share. Apartments on higher floors usually have more shares allocated. Find recent closed sales and figure out the price per share. Divide the sale price by the mumber of shares. Compare to the amount of shares your apartment has.

Pricing an apartment in Manhattan is not an exact science. There are many variables. While pricing an apartment right is very important, the price you get is a function of the marketing you choose. If you need help selling your coop, please feel free to contact me. Best of luck.

Mitchell Hall, Associate Broker
The Corcoran Group
Web Reference: http://nycblogestate.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 2, 2010
Mitchell Hall, Real Estate Pro in New York, NY
In many buildings the units do not remain the same in the entire line. Often, as the exterior of the building changes (i.e. tapers off at the top), so do the floorplans. Also, many people combine apartments, thus changing the square footage of the unit. Finally, not everyone agrees on sq footage, and not everyone is honest about it. Best way to confirm your sq footage is to get a floorplan drawn. However, for your purposes, you can look at the floorplans of the other units that have sold (again, you can find those on Streeteasy.com at the building level page), and confirm that they are the same line as your unit. Then you can go through the exercise of determining whether that price is applicable to your specific unit. Hope this is helpful...
Web Reference: http://www.realdirect.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 2, 2010
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