The Square-Footage in Listing Info (1409 includes Garage!). The real square footage is 972 (2 bed, 1 bath)

Asked by Novice Homebuyer, Palo Alto, CA Sun Jul 8, 2012

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Elena Talis’ answer
Elena Talis, Broker, Palo Alto, CA
Sun Jul 8, 2012
So what is the real question? Is this house is worth the asking price? Yes, the lot size and the location alone support the price. Keep in mind that this part of Palo Alto belong to Los Altos school district and there is very few comparable sales to help with the pricing.
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Marcy Moyer, Agent, San Ramon, CA
Sun Jul 8, 2012
Price per square foot is not the best way to determine value in Palo Alto since the land is worth so much more than structures. You can have an 800 sq ft tear down on a 10,000 square foot lot in old palo alto going for 5 million and a 2000 square foot home in a 6K lot going for 1.6 million. To determine value by price per square foot you would need a similar size lot and home. There are a few homes in Los Altos that you could compare to that are small on small lots:

S 81204010 20 CHESTER CIRCLE $1,275,000 12 4 3|0 1,935 3,484 Sqft Los Altos 1 17
S 81139656 26 PASA ROBLES AVENUE $1,110,000 142 2 2|0 1,334 5,828 Sqft Los Altos 1 89
S 81201303 132 DEL MONTE AVENUE $1,005,000 7 2 1|0 1,000 5,828 Sqft Los Altos 1 65
S 81217981 252 DEL MONTE AVENUE $1,026,000 10 2 1|0 960 6,765 Sqft Los Altos 1 86
S 81213110 899 SHERWOOD AVENUE $750,000 9 2 1|0 934 6,525 Sqft Los Altos 1 65
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Marcy Moyer, Agent, San Ramon, CA
Sun Jul 8, 2012
Novice homebuyer you are correct. In the MLS under agent notes, which the public does not get to see, the listing agent said she had the home inspector measure the house and he included the garage. She said there were 2 other sources she looked at for the lot and house size and they were not the same so she asked the property inspector to it but he/she included the garage. The garage is not commonly included in square footage because it is not living space. Most agents use the figure that is in county records when reporting the square footage although those records are not always 100% accurate.
Marcy Moyer
DRE 01191194
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Stu Carson, Agent, San Jose, CA
Sun Jul 8, 2012
I looked it up on Realist which gives a summary of title/county records on any property and it shows

Universal Land Use : SFR County Use Code : Resid Single Family
Lot Frontage : 80 Heat Type : Heated
Lot Depth : 114 Porch : Porch
Lot Acres : .2093 Patio Type : Open Patio
Garage Type : Garage Garage Sq Ft : 399
Style : L-Shape Building Sq Ft : 972
Stories : 1 Construction : Wood
Condition : Average Quality : Average
Total Rooms : 5 Bedrooms : 2
Total Baths : 1 Full Baths : 1
Year Built : 1951 Other Rooms : Family Room

So county records show 972 + 399 = 1,371

Not sure where to owners got the extra 38 sqft, perhaps bringing the wall where the garage door had been out the extra foot to be even with the outside wall.

Big question is was the work permitted? If not there are some things your agent needs to make you aware of. Because the records on Realist do not show the change, chances are it is not permitted. Most towns do not enforce such issues, however when they decide to it's typically been at a change in ownership, especially if the space was used for operating a business/office out of, which it sounds like was not the case here.

Definitely one of those areas where a good agent earns their keep. Best of luck! Call or email if you'd like assistance!

Stu Carson
408-209-0849 -
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Novice Homeb…, Home Buyer, Palo Alto, CA
Sun Jul 8, 2012
Thanks for all the replies.

@Flavio, thanks.

@Terri, thanks for providing info from the list.

@Allyson: The garage is isn't converted into a bedroom. It is simply a garage(condition: average) with some unrepaired windows (broken glasses etc.). looks like it is difficult to get comps in this area for similar homes.

In general, the problem is that the Square-Footage given greatly skews the $/sq-ft rate.
List Price: $1,125,000.
$/sq.ft per listed number(1409 sq-ft) : $798
$/sq.ft per county records(972 sq-ft) : $1157

I am currently renting a 3-bed 2-level apt. In comparison, all the rooms are lot smaller than in this home. Actually there are only two bedrooms. There is a room between the kitchen and bedrooms that has the door to the backyard.. somehow this got counted as the 3rd bedroom[it will only fit a twin-bed essentially :)]

Given the current market, how would one guess the price! very confused! And for a first-time home owner, bidding up high may not work out due to the appraisal coming out to be low and end up losing the bid!

It is crazy!
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Terri Vellios, Agent, Campbell, CA
Sun Jul 8, 2012
Below is the agent comments on the MLS. If you are interested in this home, do your research to your own satisfaction.

OFFERS Thurs. 12th Please use PRDS forms only. Trustee sale, no court confirmation. Thank you. 3 different sources re: lot and home sq.ft. Please inform your buyer that they should have either the appraiser or independent source measure for them. I had the home inspector measure the home and he included the garage.
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Norman Aless…, Agent, San Jose, CA
Sun Jul 8, 2012
I don't really see a question here, just a statement. If what you say is true then It looks like the garage was converted and used as a bedroom, so if you were looking to purchase this home you would have to compare comparable sized homes and lots minus a gararge.
Feel free to contact me with any questions.
At your service,
Certified Distressed Property Expert
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