My home was listed with 2017sf and appraised with 1956sf. Today, an agent measured it at 2045sf! Is there a standard way to measure the square?

Asked by J Arthur, Windham County, CT Sun Feb 28, 2010

footage of a home?

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Karissa, , Templeton, MA
Tue Mar 9, 2010
Dear J Arthur

One would think we all could just get this number right. What with all the hours of continuing education and certifications. My husband has been working in the Land Surveying business for the past 11 years and the truth is the numbers don't always come out exact everytime when you have several different people running the gun or rather measuring the premis.

In the real estate sales person training class my instructor took great pains to desribe every imaginable way to calculate a houses living space. And trust me there are several ways. Theres the measure wall to wall in each room method. The measure the outside foundation and subtract wall thicknesses method. The laser tool method. The [we'll go with public record] method. The architectural drawings...if you have them...method. And the always popular shrug when a buyer asks does that number include the basement.

My personal favorite is the tape measure wall to wall method of each room. This is a realistic number someone can use to be certain they and their furniture will fit.

This is a great question. Would you mind if I use it in one of my weekly Real Estate Column submissions for The Gardner News?
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Tom and Joan…, Agent, Boston, MA
Mon Mar 1, 2010
Home Seller:

The standard way an appraiser measures your home is by the foundation size. Personally, I wouldn't lose to much sleep over such a slight difference. If you were selling a 900 sq foot condo in the South End that was in fact 700 sq ft and the $/sq ft was something like $1,000 bucks then you might have an issue on your hands. Best of luck this spring.
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David Valley, , Methuen, MA
Mon Mar 1, 2010
The appraisers numbers should be spot-on. But simply measure all heated rooms utilizing the length by width method.
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Joe Arnao, Agent, Sanwich, MA
Sun Feb 28, 2010
J Arthur,
As previously stated the answer is "no". When I list, I use the Town documentation. If you do that, you and the agent can state the source and not misrepresent. Prospective buyers will be attracted to the porperty by the general size stated. Once they are in the property, the exact dimensions shouldn't matter so much.
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Judy Boyle, Agent, Marlborough, MA
Sun Feb 28, 2010
Hi J Arthur,

The SHORT answer to your question is "NO", there is no standard way to measure the square footage of a home. If and when your home is listed in the Multiple Listing Service, there is a section regarding Living Area. In this spot, the listing agent will be required to note the "source" of the living area ("Appraiser", "Measured", "Other", "Owner" or "Public Record").

An appraiser will not count living area (finished or not) in the basement or attic, whereas the town assessor (Public Record) might count these areas. It is all objective. This is why your listing agent will most likely disclose in your listing that "Living area is approximate and should be confirmed by the prospective buyer:")

I hope this gives you SOME clarification!

Thank you,

Judy Boyle
Weichert Realtors
Northborough, MA
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Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Sun Feb 28, 2010
Each room and area under the HVAC system. Best compare each report determine what the discrepancy maybe.

Do you have your closing documents with your appraisal?

What does tax rolls state?

Web Reference:
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Joan Braunsc…, , Morris County, NJ
Sun Feb 28, 2010
J Arthur,
I am a fairly new agent (working since April 2009) and have asked this question myself.
The answers I received were no.
I don't get why, but that is why a lot of agents are nervous about putting square footage on the MLS, because there apparently is no standard.
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