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Old 07-20-2008, 03:03 PM
 
10 posts, read 27,503 times
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Default Inaccurate square footage on previous appraisal

I purchased a house about 2.5 years ago. I am in the process now of selling it. In that process, it has been discovered that the square footage of the property is about 12.5 percent less than court records indicate and what my appraiser at the time of purchase calculated. I bought it thinking both the county and my appraiser couldn't be wrong.

The house has recently been appraised twice at around 2500 actual square feet (instead of around 2800 sq/ft when I bought it); so, the difference between the actual and the county record/previous appraisal is a little over 300 square feet. In my area, property sells firmly by price per square foot, so there is a fair amount of difference between what I thought I could sell it for and what I will be able to sell it for.

Would I have grounds to file a suit against my previous appraiser, or, to file a claim against my previous appraiser's 'errors & omissions' insurance? Is this hard to do/hard to win? Is it time consuming? What's the best thing to do?
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Old 07-20-2008, 04:31 PM
 
Location: DFW - Coppell / Las Colinas
17,178 posts, read 15,225,887 times
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Did you get a copy of the old appraisal ? There is a sheet where they draw out the flooring and add measurements to reach the footage. How does your old one compare to the new one ?

Our broker has added a disclaimer in our Buyer Representative agreements that advises a buyer not to base their purchase on square footage since it can vary by appraiser. This is especially true of a 2 story home & how the measure and calculate "Livable Footage"
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Old 07-20-2008, 06:01 PM
 
Location: Sunshine N'Blue Skies
13,306 posts, read 12,948,175 times
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I had an appraiser loose a home sale for me by stating that our above ground first floor was just a basement! There were two other additional floors.
Here the first floor was finished.......ceilings in, heated, walls done, painted...........
For some reason ( I think to make our home a price the buyer needed to get, because of their credit rating)..........This appraiser acted like that floor was not to be counted. Not counted in sq. footage!!
I was told I should sue him by many........but the costs and frustration would not have been worth it to me. I had to shrug my shoulders and move on..............
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Old 07-20-2008, 06:51 PM
 
Location: DFW - Coppell / Las Colinas
17,178 posts, read 15,225,887 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Summering View Post
For some reason ( I think to make our home a price the buyer needed to get, because of their credit rating)..........This appraiser acted like that floor was not to be counted. Not counted in sq. footage!!
I was told I should sue him by many........but the costs and frustration would not have been worth it to me. I had to shrug my shoulders and move on..............
Not sure you could sue him, he worked for the lender and had no obligation to you. It was purely his expert opinion sought out by the lender.

On multi story homes, 100 Appraisers = 100 Different values & at least 50 different measurements.
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Old 07-20-2008, 07:06 PM
 
Location: Sunshine N'Blue Skies
13,306 posts, read 12,948,175 times
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Yes, and the lender wanted a low appraisal so they could give this buyer who had 100K down but needed a very small loan indeed.........because her credit was a horror........and she could not afford what the home was worth. ( thus leaving off the completely finished first floor.....no part of it was underground to be called a basement)
Sold a few weeks later for the true value which was 25 thousand more!
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Old 07-21-2008, 11:03 AM
 
10 posts, read 27,503 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rakin View Post
Did you get a copy of the old appraisal ? There is a sheet where they draw out the flooring and add measurements to reach the footage. How does your old one compare to the new one ?

Our broker has added a disclaimer in our Buyer Representative agreements that advises a buyer not to base their purchase on square footage since it can vary by appraiser. This is especially true of a 2 story home & how the measure and calculate "Livable Footage"
I do have a copy of the old appraisal. The main difference between that one and the most recent ones is that the old appraisal counts the square footage for a large 2-story cathedral entry twice (once for the first level, once for the second level). The subsequent appraisals count the square footage once.

So this may just be a problem, as you noted, of a 2-story home. Are you familiar with which way a cathedral ceiling-ed room should be calculated?

Edit: I may be mis-naming my 2-story entry as 'cathedral'. The entry ceiling is total flat and is integrated seamlessly into the ceiling of the rest of the second floor. There is also a window that opens and closes on the upper level of the entryway, above the front door.

Last edited by mccants23; 07-21-2008 at 11:13 AM.. Reason: clarification
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Old 07-21-2008, 02:00 PM
 
Location: DFW - Coppell / Las Colinas
17,178 posts, read 15,225,887 times
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Is it livable space ? I would think it would be included but if it's a space like where you put / store stuff probably not.

You might get the name of a good appraiser in your area, email him a pic & get his opinion. Probably would be worth some money to get him out to look at it.
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Old 07-21-2008, 02:54 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
6 posts, read 53,393 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mccants23 View Post

Edit: I may be mis-naming my 2-story entry as 'cathedral'. The entry ceiling is total flat and is integrated seamlessly into the ceiling of the rest of the second floor. There is also a window that opens and closes on the upper level of the entryway, above the front door.
In my opinion the footage should only be counted on the first floor because the first floor is the only livable footage.
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Old 07-21-2008, 03:02 PM
 
Location: DFW - Coppell / Las Colinas
17,178 posts, read 15,225,887 times
Reputation: 15587
Yeah, if you just have 1 big room with tall Cathedral ceilings It is just 1 room. Sounds like the 1st appraiser made an error.

I would still recommend you get in touch with another competent appraiser. It would be worth money in your pocket to get this resolved.

The 1st appraisal may have been fraudulent adding bogus footage to make the appraisal work for the lender.

Last edited by Rakin; 07-21-2008 at 03:54 PM..
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Old 07-21-2008, 03:49 PM
 
Location: Salem, OR
10,676 posts, read 16,960,411 times
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I have heard about this before, where appraisers record "air" as part of the square footage. The square footage needs to have a floor to it. Some of the large vaulted ceilings seem to throw a few appraisers for a loop. They count the level with the floor, and then the second "level" with the air in their calculations.

Rakin is giving you good advice.
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