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 â€œListing 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.â€ 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.