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Old 07-12-2011, 10:17 PM
 
5 posts, read 5,555 times
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We are moving to Cincinnati soon for a new job. Recently visited on a house hunting trip and worked w/a realtor during this visit. We were surprised to find that Cincinnati homes listed on the MLS did NOT include square footage. We were even more surprised when we asked for a CMA on a particular home that the agent did not include square footage in the CMA. We were told by our agent that condition is valued more than square footage.

My question for you all: is this standard for Cincinnati? Is condition valued more than square footage when comparing properties and trying to determine the market value? Why isn't square footage listed in the MLS? Every place we have lived before square footage is always a MAJOR component of the CMAs we have been given.

Just wondering if this is standard way of valuing property in Cincinnati or if we should be looking for a new agent...

ps thank you so much to all that comment on this forum. your advice and posts are so helpful. i've been visiting this forum for a while now and have learned so much... much more than agents would ever be able to tell me
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:27 PM
 
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When we were househunting in 2006, I also found it peculiar that the MLS listing did not indicate square footage. When I asked my realtor, she stated that this was done to prevent lawsuits as a result of any discrepancy between the actual square footage and the square footage stated on the MLS listing. Then again, I think that each real estate market has its own idiosyncracies. For example, I have never been in a city which has so few fences. Also, my realtor really seemed to discourage us from viewing houses on corner lots. In other cities I have lived, corner lots were actually prized.
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Old 07-13-2011, 05:06 AM
 
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No one is ever right about square footage. Some other MLS listings exclude this as well. Its not unique to Cincinnati. What to count, how to measure it? Commercial space is even in dispute. There is something called the BOMA standard for measuring office space and no one can come up with the landlord's number even with an architect and a surveyor. So its no surprise that the Realtors don't want to get sued over a "consumer" matter that can't be waived without endless disclosure and paperwork.

Also, you can get the "square footage" of any house from the Auditor's web site, but it will not be correct because it really is only finished square footage as of the building permit. And, it won't count un-permitted additions, finished rooms not requiring a permit, etc. It will give you a rough idea, however, and here is the link:

Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes
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Old 07-13-2011, 06:43 AM
 
Location: Cincinnati
3,335 posts, read 5,747,392 times
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the SF thing was a surprise to me when i moved here as well. in the city itself, condition is very important because of the old housing stock - eg a 2500 square foot foursquare in rough shape will be worth less than a well kept 1250 sf bungalow next door.

but in the suburbs there is no excuse. if what ryan homes builds isn't a standard product, i don't know what is.
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Old 07-13-2011, 07:09 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by progmac View Post
the SF thing was a surprise to me when i moved here as well. in the city itself, condition is very important because of the old housing stock - eg a 2500 square foot foursquare in rough shape will be worth less than a well kept 1250 sf bungalow next door.

but in the suburbs there is no excuse. if what ryan homes builds isn't a standard product, i don't know what is.
Its all a game for some new home builders. They know that people divide the price by the footage and so they manipulate these variables. A useless "bonus room" or the addition of a window to a basement rec room can skew the numbers all over the place. And, they lie about the measurements. Builders are known to give the footprint as the size (which is sort of what the BOMA is) and to price it without finishes and appliance choices that everyone will make. Best thing to do is find a quality builder.
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Old 07-13-2011, 07:18 AM
 
Location: Mason, OH
9,259 posts, read 13,410,202 times
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On relatively new property the county property records will be reasonably accurate on SF. As Wilson pointed out finished areas such as basements completed later may not be included if not permitted. With brand new construction there is no reason the builder shouldn't supply the SF.

But I feel room sizes are a better indicator of a house than just total SF. When I see 10x11 bedrooms or smaller I know they are suitable for a single bed and one chest/dresser, if that. Another important factor not included in MLS listings are closets - dinky or large walk-ins. Take my example of a small bedroom, if it includes a large well organized closet for clothing then other furniture is not required and the space becomes more attractive, particularly for kids.

CMA sounds more like a marketing tool to me than a buyer's tool. From what I have read, far too many subjective ingredients, the old He Said - I Said syndrome.

While I feel the lack of SF inclusion in listings argument concerning lawsuits is BS, I can see the reason for omitting it. If someone is searching for SF alone in pricing they may be missing a whole lot of more important factors, overall quality of construction, condition, etc. Three very well conditioned bathrooms plus a kitchen with superb cabinetry and countertops can outweigh quite a few SF in value, as these are the two most expensive components in most homes. There is no substitute for personal viewing and evaluation.
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Old 07-13-2011, 08:11 AM
 
10,139 posts, read 22,500,478 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjbrill View Post
While I feel the lack of SF inclusion in listings argument concerning lawsuits is BS, I can see the reason for omitting it. . .
When you say "BS" I hope you are observing that consumers that bring these suits should be ashamed of themselves as opposed to a belief that the suits do not occur or that the Realtors are not justifiably concerned. Indeed, I have actually tried a square footage case in HamCo and many other lawyers have as well. When a person buys a new 3600 square foot house for 700,000 and it turns out to be only 3250, they think that the $70,000 they overpaid is the realtors fault. Here is the type of thing Realtors and sellers read that causes this belief:

How Much Space Are You Selling? - Real Estate Investing
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Old 07-13-2011, 01:57 PM
 
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thank you so much for the insightful comments... perspectives i hadn't thought of... thanks for taking the time to respond!
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Old 07-13-2011, 05:09 PM
 
Location: Mason, OH
9,259 posts, read 13,410,202 times
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Wilson... Got a big kick out of the link you provided for how to measure the SF of a house. Basic high school plane geometry or maybe less. So these professionals who want to be paid for their services cannot produce such calculations? Or is it they just want to rely on someone else or duck the whole issue? Seems to me a realtor could easily exclude themselves from any potential lawsuit by simply including a statement on data provided by or a disclaimer on the accuracy, of course if that is true.

Also, your example of a home being 10% short on the advertised SF equating to a 10% overcharge. I wonder if even the most inexperienced or naive buyer around believes all SF of a newly constructed home is of equal value, particularly if it is being sold with already outfitted appliances.

There is always the Buyer Beware as the best advice. But really, potential buyers should have more information to compare than is being offered. I hope this housing downturn and buyers market begins to swing things back in their direction.

Again, that CMA jazz sounds like a Madison Ave. marketing campaign to me. More open ends and unqualified loopholes than you can define. If people swallow that they should get burnt.
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Old 07-13-2011, 07:10 PM
 
405 posts, read 755,556 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilson513 View Post
Its all a game for some new home builders. They know that people divide the price by the footage and so they manipulate these variables. A useless "bonus room" or the addition of a window to a basement rec room can skew the numbers all over the place. And, they lie about the measurements. Builders are known to give the footprint as the size (which is sort of what the BOMA is) and to price it without finishes and appliance choices that everyone will make. Best thing to do is find a quality builder.
Wilson is spot on in these posts. Nice succinct summary of the issues.

I tend to look at the room sizes of houses I looked to buy and make my own measurements. Its amazing but quite often the realtors get the room sizes wrong too, and not just to their advantage.

You basically have to know what sort of room size you want/need for each thing. For example, Living room: "20x16 minimum". Kitchen: "19x10 minimum". Master: "20x15" Third BR: "10x11 ok". Plus those walk in closets
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