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Old 02-09-2008, 08:58 AM
 
Location: Georgetown, TX
873 posts, read 2,148,613 times
Reputation: 312
Default Square footage and tax records

Hi everyone,

Yesterday evening, an agent at my office asked if I would like to do an open house tomorrow. This morning, I checked out the property in the MLS. When I see an interesting property, I like to learn more about the listing history of that property, if it's available. The home in question is 4 years old. It was originally listed in the MLS by the builder - and the square foootage listed is 2845 s.f. (per builder). Three years later the home was listed again, but this time the s.f. was 2921 (per tax records). The current listing also says 2921s.f. I checked the tax records, and they do indeed say 2921 s.f. That's a difference of 76 s.f. - at $79/s.f., that's a price differential of $6K. Heck - that's an 8'x9.5' room!

Are these discrepencies normal? How did this happen? I'm waiting to hear back from the listing agent, but this makes me nervous. Can someone shed some light on this?

Thank you
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Old 02-09-2008, 05:17 PM
 
Location: Salem, OR
10,679 posts, read 16,967,492 times
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It's pretty common actually. 1) Sometimes the builders have many different spec plans and they alter it slightly for a homeowner. The county may or may not have recorded the change correctly 2) Appraisers don't always measure the same. You can have appraisers be off on this. 3) During the process of construction they needed to alter the plans for a variety of reasons in order to built the home to codes. Out here in Oregon, they can only cut down so many trees, so a stock plan may have to be shifted on site in order to compensate for trees. The stock plan is what would have been on the MLS originally.

I would just let buyers know if they walk though the house that there is a square foot discrepancy and if important to them, have the house professionally measured.
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Old 02-09-2008, 08:20 PM
 
Location: Barrington
17,254 posts, read 12,437,907 times
Reputation: 5663
I agree with Silverfall. There are often discrepencies between original builder specs and the final product.

I will also add that at least in my area, about 10-12% percent of the tax record square footage is erroneous, even on older homes. Given the basis for all property assessemnts is square footage and lot size, it pays to make sure the records are correct.
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Old 02-09-2008, 08:24 PM
 
Location: Halfway between Number 4 Privet Drive and Forks, WA
1,516 posts, read 2,986,562 times
Reputation: 604
Absolutely!
We just learned that our county records show us with 2945 sq ft and 3 BR, 2 BA. This is the same info they have had since 2001 when our house was built.
Our house originally started out with 4 BR, 3 BA. We have finished out the bonus room AND an office. So it is quite a bit larger than the original county records show. I don't get where they were counting 2945 originally unless they were counting the garage as square footage at that time.

The house has been professionally measured since the bonus rooms were finished, and now the heated/cooled square footage is 3119 (excluding garage)..

The part that trips me out is the 3BR, 2 BA.... It's always had 4 BR, 3 full BA!
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Old 02-09-2008, 08:41 PM
 
Location: Barrington
17,254 posts, read 12,437,907 times
Reputation: 5663
Quote:
Originally Posted by leavingbyron View Post
The part that trips me out is the 3BR, 2 BA.... It's always had 4 BR, 3 full BA!
This is working in your favor in terms of your assessed value and property taxes.
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Old 02-10-2008, 05:27 PM
 
3,724 posts, read 6,607,310 times
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I agree with Silverfall's response, but I wanted to add that my own home has been wrong on the county records for a LONG TIME! And as Middle Aged Mom said, we're not saying anything to change the taxable value. We know how much is there and an appraiser can confirm it. Also, one year the county appraiser's office was tweaking values, etc. for the next tax cycle. Would you believe our garage got smaller by 90 feet? I kept the print outs and we laugh about it sometimes.

P.S. mrsengle, our Mid-Florida MLS auto populates many of the fields directly from the county records. All we have to do is type in the address and do the lookup. It saves us a lot of data entry not to mention the possibility of mistakes.

Last edited by TampaKaren; 02-10-2008 at 05:43 PM..
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Old 02-10-2008, 06:03 PM
 
Location: northeast US
739 posts, read 956,945 times
Reputation: 446
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverfall View Post

I would just let buyers know if they walk though the house that there is a square foot discrepancy and if important to them, have the house professionally measured.
I have a discrepancy in the assessors records on my house.

What professional measures houses? Or, whose measurements would be accepted as valid by a town assessor when you're saying their employee messed up? Private for-profit inspection company? Insurance adjuster?

Thansk.
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Old 02-11-2008, 07:31 PM
 
Location: Salem, OR
10,679 posts, read 16,967,492 times
Reputation: 6520
Willdufauve,
Appraisers.
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Old 02-12-2008, 04:32 PM
 
Location: The Big D
14,874 posts, read 21,738,199 times
Reputation: 5787
Ours was wrong too. Nothing came of it when we first bought it from the original owners 5 years ago as the appraiser then just used the MLS and tax rolls which must have come from the builder. We now also think he just measured the OUTSIDE PERIMETER of the home. When we got it refinancied last year our appraiser came up w/ something different. He was still here and perplexed. So I pulled out EVERYTHING I had to find out why. We went over everything w/ a fine tooth comb. His was showing LESS. He remeasured and all. It looks like the original appraiser included the sq footage IF the two story front entry was only 1 story and had a second floor. LOL!!! This is from just going by the OUTSIDE dimensions. We also found where the orig. appraiser just went straight across the top balcony overlooking the front door instead of curving it which added a couple square feet. Strange things do happen as these people do get lazy and don't take into account voids and cut-ins along w/ two story ceilings.

BTW, I then took that to the county tax office and got our sq footage lowered along w/ my price per sq ft there.
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Old 02-13-2008, 09:20 AM
 
Location: Denver, CO
739 posts, read 1,995,067 times
Reputation: 196
same here...we finished our basement,added bedrooms and about 1200 square feet of finished but property records only shows above ground square footage. Fine by me for tax purposes but when we sell it will be counted for sure!
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