The Posting Square Footage Debate & A Rare Apology to a Realtor
Here’s a few sterotypes you will find in the Real Estate Blogosphere. Realtors writing blogs are always going to say the market is great, now is a GREAT time to buy (or sell) and that you better do it now or you’ll miss out. Blogs not written by ‘practicing’ real estate agents are supposed to bring to light all the unscrupulous lies Realtors perpetrate onto the unsuspecting public.
To that end: one of the biggest ongoing ‘gotchas’ on blogs is the agent not stating the square footage of a property in their listing. Immediately those looking for the inevitable lies agents tell, assume there’s a nefarious reason the square footage is not stated.
Want to hear something interesting? Banks don’t use price per square foot on their appraisals when determining the value of a building they are going to lend on. Sixteen years in real estate and you learn something new every day. That statement came recently from a 23 year veteran appraiser and when he said it, I almost didn’t believe him because it’s become so common to state price per square feet these days when trying to determine value. I guess the banks know something we don’t…
A fellow realtor of mine, a friend, who also happens to be one of those amazing superstar agents with the type of integrity I admire greatly and wish the world had more of, recently got caught in the square footage/listing/blogosphere debate. After being accused of being a charlatan online (and anyone who knows Jim, KNOWS he’s no charlatan) wrote in and defended his listing and the fact that the tax record square footage had it at 550 square feet – which anyone who visited the property in person could see with their own eyes was inaccurate. And guess what?
The bloggers not only went to see for themselves…they published Jim’s letter to them in full, and made a public apology! Now who says there’s no journalistic integrity in the blog world? I tip my hat (to borrow a Stephen Colbert saying, minus the sarcasm) to the bloggers of SFLIT. I was heartened to see such a thing happen in what can otherwise be a bloody battle at times online for realtor integrity, and by the way….it’s a good real estate blog, one that’s worth linking to here.
Realty is, there are many reasons not to state the square footage in a listing. Multiple law suits have been fought over stated square footage discrepancies. Some brokerages, in an attempt to mitigate liability for their clients have blanket policies not to allow square footages to be on any of their agent’s marketing material. Tax records stating square footages are often wrong (a couple condo buildings in SF come to mind), and there are many competing ways to measure square footage; the appraisers method, generally considered the walking area and most common, but do stairs count? What about the patio spaces? What if the appraiser on site isn’t being thorough, or one of their new fancy laser counters is off? Architect’s typically measure the square footage to the interior of the wall space, in between sheetrock, which I’m told can add a 100 square feet or more depending on the size of a condo or home. Relying on the developer’s square footage can be tricky too, as their measurements generally come from concept floor plans, which regularly get altered during construction to account for the inevitable issues that arise when taking a building from plans to reality.
15 Napier Ln — This Just In [GetLitSF.blogspot.com]
SF: 15 Napier Ln — Telegraph Hill, An Update [GetLitSF.blogspot.com]