So many homes priced around $220-$230,000 have 400-500 more sq. ft. in the MLS brief than the tax records show. ???

Asked by Lcountiss, Mobile, AL Sat Jan 5, 2013

As a buyer I have been going in these homes and they are nearly identical to others that are verified to have 1600-1700 SF and are priced accordingly. ($170,000) Please explain.

This question was asked from this property:… target="_blank" rel="nofollow">…

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Edinia Money, Agent, knoxville, TN
Sat Jan 5, 2013
The extra Square Feet could be a lot of different things. It could be an unfinished basement, or a partial finished basement finished. Maybe a closed in porch to make a sun room, a garage made into a room, or a bonus room finished, etc. All square feet listed is supposed to be heated and cooled to be considered finished square feet. If three or four people measure the same house, they may each get a different number. Tax records are not always right. Tax records only show legal square feet, it could have miscalculated,or not been updated. If the Homeowner used to proper building permits, and build to the proper building codes by a licensed contractor then it should be reflected on the tax records and updated. A lot of owners do not always get issued the correct permits so it is not added properly to the tax records. When an owner pulls the proper permits, and legally adds finished square feet to the tax records then they most likely will pay more property taxes. As for the MLS listing, it is only as accurate as the listing agent inputs it. You can certainly have the square feet verified. I would suggest finding a buyers agent to represent you and your best needs. The Listing agent represents the sellers best needs. Please let me know if I can help in anyway.

Edinia Money
Coldwell Banker Wallace & Wallace Realtors(R)
865-599-5662 Cell
865-584-4000 Bearden Office, Please ask for Edinia
Visit my website at
0 votes
I thank you for your very thorough answer. I am not sure if the part about my having been in the homes came through. These homes are new and simple, no add-ons, no basements, one story, but none of them have been 2200 sq. ft. I am 54 yrs. old and have owned homes of 2557, 1870 and 1460 sq. ft., so I know what 2200 looks like and feels like, and these MLS listings are way over what the houses really are. I can't believe the listing agents accept these no's as actual sq. footage of these homes and then end up with a price that is $40,000 to $50,000 higher. Your answer will be chosen for Best Answer!! Thanks!
Flag Sat Jan 5, 2013
Liz Snide, G…, Agent, Knoxville, TN
Thu Jan 24, 2013
Tax records are notoriously inaccurate and I have friends who are tax assessors, so I mean no disrespect. Remember, tax assessors only have access to the footprint of the home and have to make judgements based upon only external assessment. Additions and changes (finishing a walkup attic for instance) can occur without their notification and knowledge which can easily add a couple hundred to a couple thousand square feet for a basement that becomes finished.

In Knoxville, MLS measurements are not guaranteed either, it is the best representation of accurate square footage that the listing agent received. Occasionally a professional measurement is quoted which will be very accurate, but often it is a past appraisal or the homeowners statement of size. "FInished square feet" should only be calculated from heated and cooled dry-walled space (not garage or unfinished basement.). If you sense a size difference when walking through comparable homes, you are likely correct. But based on which one??

If you are concerned when it is time to buy, have a professional measurement obtained. Also there are plenty of YOUtube videos on How to Measure a Home. It will get you close-just have someone hold the tape for you--it's tricky to do alone.
0 votes
JEKYL9, Home Buyer, Morristown, TN
Wed Jan 9, 2013
sometimes the court house records are wrong and other time realtors make a mistake and list basement square footage. even if the basement is finished they are still not supposed to do that but they do. when you get a mortgage the lender will require an appraisal and the appraiser actually measures the house. they have to do that or they put their license on the line and they are liable for that appraisal for 5 years. no appraiser today will inflate the size. i closed a couple last year where the realtor went off the CRS report and found out it was wrong. if you need some help or have other questions feel free to call me.

roy 865 322 0984
0 votes
Caroline Holt, Agent, Knoxville, TN
Sun Jan 6, 2013
Good morning. As my fellow agents have mentioned, there are several reasons for this discrepancy, and square footage is relatively easy to verify when the time comes. If I might ask, what is your timeframe with concern to your move? I would be more than happy to assist you in setting up a search of homes in the Knoxville area that meet your criteria, and to speak with you more about your home buying goals. Please feel free to give me a call or text at (865) 323-1836, or to send me an e-mail at anytime at I specialize in relocation, and would be glad to help you facilitate your move from Alabama to Tennessee!


Caroline Holt, Realtor
Coldwell Banker Wallace & Wallace
(865) 323-1836
Web Reference:
0 votes
marty hartse…, Agent, knoxville, TN
Sun Jan 6, 2013
On newer homes you will see this more than older homes. Construction changes after the building permit was pulled is the main reason. Either the builder or the buyer changed the floorplan during construction and square footage can go down or up. In older homes the square footage can be different by adding on to the house or finishing out an unused space. If a home you are interested in and see a variance on the square footage have your buyers agent measure the house.
0 votes
Travis Taylor, , Knoxville, TN
Sat Jan 5, 2013
Sometimes they are not accurate on tax record and have not been updated because the past home owner may have updated the home with add on. For instance my grandfather turned the carport into a den as well as adding a 3rd bedroom with full bath.
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question

Email me when…

Learn more