What would cause the discrepancy in square footage listed by the realtor and public records? Which number should I rely on?

Asked by Aycoleman, Corinth, TX Wed May 23, 2012

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Bruce Lynn, Agent, Coppell, TX
Wed May 23, 2012
There are three sources we normally will use.... tax records, builder plans, or an appraisal measurement. All three can differ. There's all kinds of reasons why.

What I see often is that the builder files plans with the city, that's what goes on record and the buyer during the building process opts for a bonus room. Bingo...400sqft of actual space more than the county records.

Smaller nuances might be plan vs actual, maybe the slab got poured a little bigger or smaller than planned. Maybe the appraiser miscalculated by a foot or two or rounded up or down.

If you have a realtor already, ask them. If you don't call me and maybe I can help you determine it, once we know the specific address.
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Mike Personi…, Agent, Denton, TX
Wed May 23, 2012
Hi, Aycoleman --
Actually, you really don't want to rely on either one. If it's a house you're seriously interested in, but you don't want to make a move on it until you're more certain of the size, you can get some appraisers to provide a measuring service for you for a relatively nominal fee. I can provide a referral for you for the Corinth area, if needed.

Otherwise, you can ask if the seller has their old appraisal. This will give the square footage based on that appraiser's measurements.

I hope that's helpful for you.

Mike Personius
Family Real Estate Services
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Steve Quinta…, Agent, Albuquerque, NM
Wed May 23, 2012
This discrepancy could be caused by use of different sources or a typo. For instance, public records may be based on blueprints and the architect's drawing as opposed to the realtor's source, which might be a refinance measurement or the realtor's own measurement.

Furthermore, a home can be measured using outside dimensions or inside dimensions.

A home can be measured numerous times in different manners over the course of time and the measurements may or may not reflect building additions.

Finally, errors can crop up at any point. These are all reasons why discrepancies may exist.
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Henderson Te…, Agent, Denton, TX
Wed May 23, 2012
Public records, or tax, will have some discrepancies sometimes. The Realtor will have evidence of why the square footage is listed different than what is in tax, like they had an appraisal done and the square footage showed different, or sometimes a new build is reported incorrectly with tax or a garage could be fully converted. If there is a difference, you could just ask the Realtor why. Is there a specific property that you are talking about?

We would love to help you. Please call us with any other questions you may have!
Henderson Team at Century 21 Judge Fite
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Patty Barron, Agent, Copper Canyon, TX
Wed May 23, 2012
Sq. footage should be verified by the individual considering a purchase. Public records are know to contain errors just as seller provided sq. footage may be incorrect. Many times homeowners will make addtions or have information that overrides public records.
So, once again, it is important to verifiy all information about a property as you consider for a purchase. The most reliable will be with an appraisal or verifible records from the home owner if requested and or available. Most of the time, you will see tax record sq. footage used.
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