Leave Square Footage Off Listing, Expert Advises

January 5, 2012

“Measuring the size of a home isn’t an exact science,” according to a recent post at the Zillow Blog about square footage. In fact, there are no universally applied standards when it comes to measuring a home’s square footage, and even appraisers may use different methods, from measuring tapes to laser devices — or even eyeballing it — according to the blog post. 

City tax records also don’t always reflect the accurate square footage. The city’s measurement listed many not reflect renovations or expansions made to the property. Some home owners turn to architectural drawings made by the developer in new construction for an accurate number, but these can be misleading too. The measurements reflected in those are often calculated with “walls out,” including all of the space to the exterior wall. Once the walls are in, the square footage will be lower. 

“Dozens of lawsuits make it to court, and tens of thousands of dollars are spent arguing over as little as 50 square feet,” writes Brendon DeSimone, a real estate professional in San Francisco and New York.  

That’s why DeSimone suggests you’re better off leaving square footage off your marketing for your listing. That way if the numbers come in lower later, you don’t have to worry about buyers disputing it or even asking for more money off the sales price. 

If you do opt to list square footage, add a disclosure, such as “appraiser’s estimation” or “per tax records,” DeSimone recommends. 

“Buyers are coming to your home because of its location, price, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, parking, and the pictures and description they read online,” DeSimone writes. “If you leave out square footage, they are still going to come.”

Source: “How Is Square Footage Measured? You’ll Be Surprised,” Zillow Blog (Dec. 8, 2011)


Yes, Size Matters: Inaccurate Square Footage Invites Trouble