How reliable are square-footage figures?

Variables that skew public record
Published on Jun 25, 2007

Misrepresenting square footage can get a seller into big trouble. If a buyer relies on a seller's disclosure about the living square feet in his home and the buyer later finds out that the representation was overly ambitious, a lawsuit could ensue. Sellers have a tendency to round up the number of square feet in their home. The more cautious approach would be to round down. The safest approach would be to make no representation about square feet at all. In an ideal world, this would be the perfect solution. In the real world, however, buyers want to know how many square feet are included. It's easy to understand why. Most buyers are busy and don't want to waste time looking at homes that won't work for them. Describing a listing by the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, without any reference to square feet, is a safe approach. But, it tells buyers little about the actual size of a listing. In the diverse housing stock in many older neighborhoods, such as the desirable Rockridge area in ...