Why does the great state of Georgia not allow you to list the square footage of a home?

Asked by Christi, Georgia Thu Apr 17, 2008

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Lee Adkins, Agent, Roswell, GA
Thu Apr 17, 2008
Christi -
It is my understanding that agents previously quoted square footage to buyers. Buyers then had an appraisal (or measured) and were pursuing legal action against brokers for square footage they "purchased" that never existed.

We can quote you square footage with the disclaimer that, "the tax records say it's x square feet."
As others mentioned, our means of obtaining square footage if primarily the tax records, which are public domain and pretty easily accessible to anyone with a computer - or the desire to go to the county courthouse!

Hope this helps!
Web Reference:  http://www.leeadkins.net
2 votes
James Dudley, Agent, Suwanee, GA
Thu Apr 17, 2008

I think Lee explained it best! Agents or Brokers don't want to get sued for 5 SQFt of home because one person measured a closet and the other didn't.

Tax records can be fairly accurate to give you a good idea of the size of the home. In many cases it can help you if someone finished out a basement or something and it's still recognized as unfinished Sq. Ft. then your taxes may not be as high.
1 vote
Bob Allen, Agent, Athens, GA
Thu Apr 17, 2008
The state does not have any such rule regarding square footage. Some Multiple Listing Services do not allow it for fear of being sued for inaccurate info. If you would like the sq.ft. of an existing home try the Qpublic site for that county. Contact me directly if you have problems.
1 vote
Hank Bailey, Agent, Buford, GA
Wed May 7, 2008
Just like beauty, square footage is in the eye of the beholder. From tax records to what you were told was the footage of your home when you purchased it, and don't even get me talking about improper lot lines that may be wrong, unless you want to pay an appraiser to do a certified appraisal showing square footage that you can put on someone else's neck if another appraisal comes back later by your buyer then I would not speak of square footage to an exact figure. There is too much liability for you as a seller to show an exact square footage.
0 votes
Linda New, , Acworth, GA
Mon May 5, 2008
Foolish isn't it! Because I can send you the Tax records of a property and square footage is on that record. But they tell us in Real Estate school that we are NOT Apprasiers and they are the only ones that can quote square footage. We still a lot of house for the money in Georgia and that comes from many the folks I have worked with over the years moving from other areas............have a great day!
0 votes
Anne Farmer, , Gwinnett County, GA
Thu Apr 17, 2008
The other answers were correct. To list the square footage you are setting yourself up for the legal liability that your house may be a few inches off and the square footage could be inadequate. We live in a lawsuit mentality society so some of our MLS's do not allow the recording of square footage measurements.
Web Reference:  http://www.akfarmer.com
0 votes
Peggy Hatley,…, , Cartersville, GA
Thu Apr 17, 2008
Lee is correct. I have been in the business a very long time and just like everything else people trusted another until one day someone became so upset at feeling ripped off by not having the 5 feet of space that the seller, builder or agent quoted as being there that they hired an attorney. The law suites have prevailed and cases have been won by the so called victim. There have probably been some ligitimate cases where it was several hunderd sq. ft. but most that i am aware of are minimal. No one wants to go thru that. Even though my husband is a builder and we work off the plans and he measures everything mistakes happen so I never quote sq.ft. Let someone else do it.
0 votes
Dave Gordon, , Dahlonega, GA
Thu Apr 17, 2008

I agree with you that Georgia is a "GREAT" state and after living in over 15 states and 2 locations overseas, I would not live anywhere else!

As for your question, Bob is correct. The MLS service is the culprit. This is due to all of those in todays world that look for small miscues so that can file a lawsuit. But, if you or a buyer do want to know the square footage of a property, it can almost always be found on line at the County's Tax Accessor's web site. Some newer properties may not have the complete information, but the majority will of existing homes will. You can access the information using the address, owner's name, parcel number, etc. Another method would be to go to the county office and search the records there. The folks that work in these offices are always very helpful.

I would caution you that as a seller, I would not quote square footage to a buyer. Also, initial buying prices and motgage amounts are listed in tax records and providing this information to buyers may give them an advantage in the negotiation process. If a buyer wants "all" of the particulars, let them or their agent gather that. You should be concerned with staging, curb appeal, comparables and pricing, accurate property disclosures, etc.

Have a great "Georgia" day and if you need any additional information, let me know.

Dave G.
0 votes
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