What is true square footage?

jane__nyApril 16, 2009

I will be listing my house next month. Two years ago, I had an appraisal done by two different banks. They have different sq ft. A difference of 700 sq ft. That's is quite a big difference.

Wondering which to list as I have no idea how to measure my house.

Jane

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arielitas_mom

Some appraisers measure the outside of the house (not including the garage) and calculate that way. The more accurate way is to calculate square footage is to measure all of the living spaces.

More importantly, what do the tax rolls (i.e., the assessor's office that calculates your real estate taxes) say? I'd go with that, since that's the legal description. If there have been any additions that are not permitted, that might account for discrepancies as well.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 1:27AM
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logic

Appraisers measure using the ANSI stnadard. Below is a link that explains how:

Here is a link that might be useful: The ANSI Standard

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 1:04PM
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brickeyee

"...since that's the legal description..."

No, that is just the method the tax assessors have chosen to use.

It has nothing to do with a "legal description."

As long as the assessors use the same method for all properties it comes out even in the end.

Outside measurement is a very common method since it does not require access to the interior.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 1:06PM
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brickeyee

"Appraisers measure using the ANSI stnadard. Below is a link that explains how:"

Just closed on two places in the past month.
Neither was measured this way.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 3:19PM
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berniek

"Just closed on two places in the past month.
Neither was measured this way."

Do they still allow "drive by" or AVM appraisals where you are?
I find that unusual in todays environment.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 4:47PM
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jane__ny

I was home for both appraisals. They measured inside the house. I didn't notice any difference with the way they measured. I have a sunrooom which was under construction and neither measured it.

I keep an eye on homes for sale in my area and have noticed the listings mentioning that square footage differs from the tax assessment.
That is what made me look at the assessments I had done and noticed the difference.

The first bank was Wells Fargo and the other was JP Morgan Chase.

Wells Fargo lists 3,040 sq ft.
Chase lists - 2,240 sq ft.
Both list the same amount of rooms.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 6:09PM
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brickeyee

"Do they still allow "drive by" or AVM appraisals where you are?
I find that unusual in todays environment."

Both appraised by inspecting and measuring.
The appraisal report even has drawings showing all the outside dimension.

The inside was looked over (had to get the bank to let them in).

Plunk enough down and the process still goes a lot easier.

Just as always, >20% down makes things go smoothly.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 10:21AM
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logic

brickeyee, ANSI is not required by USPAP; but the appraiser may be required to use it as an assignment condition.

Be that as it may, most reputable appraisers do use the ANSI method, as it is a proven standard, and therefore defensible, and avoids the problem experienced by jane ny...as well as the myriad of complaints that home buyers have regarding SF differences on MLS listings, tax assessments and appraisals.

There really is no good reason to NOT follow a standard....other than perhaps an inability to learn.

That said, excerpt from link below:

".....Appraisers are not required by USPAP to comply with ANSI Z765, which is a voluntary
Standard.

However, use of the ANSI Standards may be an assignment condition in some assignments.

Although appraisers are not required by USPAP to adhere to a specific standard of square footage measurement, appraisers are required by Standards Rule 1-1(b) to not commit a substantial error of omission or commission that significantly affects an appraisal.

This rule requires the appraiser to gather factual information in a manner that is sufficiently diligent.

Standards Rule 1-1(c) requires appraisers to not render appraisal services in a careless or negligent manner. Appraisers must use due diligence and due care in performing appraisal services, including gathering factual
data such as square footage."

That said, jane, I would question both appraisers. If one used ANSI..and the other did not, chances are that is the correct SF.

Here is a link that might be useful: Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice 2008-2009

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 12:01PM
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brickeyee

Since the tax appraiser uses outside measurements it is also a perfectly defensible method.

Why add a lot of work that actually has very little effect on the value of the property?

Layout has just as great an effect on a house as actual square footage.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 3:25PM
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logic

brickeyee: "Why add a lot of work that actually has very little effect on the value of the property?"

LOL! Then why measure at all? That said, since they do measure, and appraisers are sometimes required to use ANSI anyway there is no reason to not measure via a standardized method.

Otherwise, the results are moot, if everyone is left to their own devices.

As is the case with jane ny's 2 appraisals...will the REAL SF please stand up?

Last but not least, it is a sticking point with many a home buyer....as they are often not at all happy to learn that their house contains less SF than advertised.

If a job can be done with consistency and to a standard, I can see no reason why a true professional would to elect to do otherwise.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 7:41PM
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brickeyee

"LOL! Then why measure at all?"

It is on the HUD appraisal form, but is almost always marked as not a reliable way to asses the property, along with the replacement cost method.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 1:25PM
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logic

brickeyee: "It is on the HUD appraisal form, but is almost always marked as not a reliable way to asses the property, along with the replacement cost method."

AND..it isn't "reliable" because there is no standardized methodology. Another reason for ANSI to become the norm.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 2:32PM
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