Residential square footage – why still a mystery?

The square footage of a residential property shouldn’t be that difficult to reveal or calculate (since it’s furnished in every appraisal when you purchase a property), but it depends if you measure the exterior or interior walls of a home, it may differ by hundreds of square feet.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a real estate agent apparently professed there was more “heated & cooled – conditioned” square footage than what really existed.  I understand that the garage (about 400 square feet) was also included with the estimated square footage.

This lawsuit loss prompted the exclusion of any estimate of square footage so that neither the Seller nor the Realtor would be sued for misquoting square footage – a measure frequently used throughout the US to evaluate comparative residential homes.

In Georgia, we are now breaking away from the fear of that infamous lawsuit and are beginning to place estimated square footage on listings, but we are disclosing the source of that information (Seller, Appraisal, County Records, etc) – which any one source can be wrong.

Regardless of the estimate, be aware that it is most likely wrong, but I can’t say by how much – your appraisal under the Purchase and Sale Agreement should disclose to you the more accurate square footage measurement.

Note:  Whenever possible, be sure to have appraisal performed within your due diligence period if you are so concerned with the measurement.


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