Home Selling in 90040>Question Details

Joshua, Home Buyer in Los Angeles County, CA

I bought a house in January and now when I go to sell it in August I find out that the home is 300 sq ft smaller than the seller and listing agent

Asked by Joshua, Los Angeles County, CA Fri Jul 30, 2010

said it was. Can I sue? I feel like I have been cheated. 300 sq ft is no small matter. Please advise

Help the community by answering this question:


Where did you obtain the new square footage total? And what did the original listing say? Did it say per owner or per tax record or per municipal records or estimated only?

Web Reference: http://www.lindacefalu.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 30, 2010

I agree with Carl. Your original appraisal should be correct. If it doesn't coincide with the appraisal you just received, compare both appraiser's footage sketches to see where the difference is. It may be in the garage, laundry area. ..... Happy funding, Rudi
Web Reference: http://www.umboc.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 13, 2010

It appears that the owner and listing agent simply relied on the county records to obtain the square footage. That is normal practice and well within the guidelines of “due diligence” UNLESS there was a compelling visual reason for the listing agent to suspect that the numbers were not accurate (illegal addition, etc.). It is not common practice for a listing agent to actually measure a property. In reality, most listing agents wouldn’t have a clue how to start, let alone come up with an accurate number.

HOWEVER … all appraisers ARE supposed to measure the home when they do an appraisal. I’d go back to the appraiser who did the appraisal when you purchased the home and start asking them some serious questions.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 13, 2010

In the past I have come up against this issue several times, so I finally decided to settle it once and for all. The problem is that there was no sure way to do it.

As I made many, many phone calls over a span of about a week. The result was simply this. In the State of Wisconsin every municipality has there own way of determining square footage. Some go by the exterior footprint; some go by room sizes; some actually take off some footage if the upper floors have slanted ceilings (even if there is usable space). I guess it is possible that if the appraiser was not familiar with that municipalities method of calculation then there could be a discrepancy.

Web Reference: http://www.lindacefalu.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 30, 2010
When I bought public records indicated that it was 1808 sq ft. I decided to have the house professionally appraised to get price i should sell for and the appraiser whom i hired told me that the house was ony 1515 sq feet and I was with him when he measured it; and he did a very thorough job. The appraiser has 20 years of experience and he was recommended by a local bank.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 30, 2010
Hi Joshua
Of course one can always file a lawsuit. It will take time and capital, and there is no guarantee you will come out ahead. I can understand that 300 sq foot would affect the value of the property.
What you first must establish is is the actual and real square footage.
You need to verify what was on the property listing for square footage and where that number came from.
You also need to confirm what your obligation as a buyer - to verify the facts - both from the agent and the tax assessor's office. the "Buyer Beware" clause applies in your contract.
You also need to check on the square footage listed on the appraisal and contact the appraiser about it too.

If it was an error on the part of the tax assessor, then you may have recourse against the LISTING Agency, as the list agent does have a fiduciary obligation to check all facts, including the property size.

If you would like to talk with me further about this, please do call me. 310-831-8311 My background is in RIsk Management.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 30, 2010
Hello Joshua,

This is complicated. Public record might not be accurate. You may want to check your appraisal and see what the appraiser measured and also ask the past listing agent where they got their numbers from.


Monique Carrabba
The Carrabba Group
(323) 899-2900
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 30, 2010
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