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Old 07-07-2007, 12:16 PM
2 posts, read 10,938 times
Reputation: 12


I am a first time home buyer purchaning a 2 BR 1 BA in East Atlanta. We have a contract and are supposed to close Wednesday.

In looking at the lender's appraisal, I noticed that our square footage was listed at 994 sq feet. He measured around the house's perimeter.

When we had been negotiating on price, I'd relied on the figure provided by our realtor, which was 1143 square feet. Worried, I called about the difference. I was told the same thing I recently learned in an earlier thread: that Georgia realtors don't list square footage (my realtor said it was illegal, but apparently it's just common practice). The figure that we used apparently came from govt. records - tax records I think.

To me, the fact that my new house is 150 sq ft -- 13 percent -- smaller than advertised is a big deal. Yet my realtor says we did not write an sort of square footage contingency into the lease, so there's nothing I can do. Frankly, he seems annoyed that I'm annoyed.

The house has 2-year old roof, HVAC, etc., and is in excellent condition. It also has a stairway to an unfinished attic, which has a usable floor in the middle (but it's definitely not finished). I also suppose the next buyer will rely on the tax records too, unless they're smart enough to measure for themselves. I had no idea it was even a good idea; my realtor still doesn't seem to think this matters.

Folks: What can I do? My own realtor, who is generally a nice guy, is not being helpful. We do have a contract without a "square footage" contingency. Any recommendations on who to call for advice?
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Old 07-07-2007, 02:30 PM
Location: Now in Oregon!
378 posts, read 1,123,126 times
Reputation: 308
Get an attorney, one who handles Real Estate, immediately. It is not yours till you sign everything... Get hold of your agent's boss and let him know about it. Good luck!
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Old 07-07-2007, 02:46 PM
Location: Now in Oregon!
378 posts, read 1,123,126 times
Reputation: 308
There is another thread here on square footage. You might look at it.
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Old 07-08-2007, 02:43 AM
168 posts, read 578,117 times
Reputation: 75
I have to admit, an extra 150 feet to a 1000' house is a big loss. However, I'm not sure exactly what the problem is here. Did you not go through a process of elimination of other suitable/not so suitable homes? Obviously, you are happiest with the house -enough to have made an offer. So, what you are happy with turns out to be smaller -by the numbers -than what you thought it was.

The time to find out whether truth in advertising mattered was before you decided it was good enough to live in. After all, houses in GA are not sold by the square foot. It's not like you're in CA where every foot is worth $500. Fact is, lots of houses in GA don't know their footage (and don't care for the county to find out).

You chose the house you liked the most, and the one you could best afford. That's pretty much the bottom line, in most cases. If your lender thinks the value is good enough for them to lend what you're asking, then the house is worth what you're offering, regardless of what anyone thinks the footage is.

Here's some facts to consider: The tax assessor's offices in GA don't know how many feet are in any house. They measure the outside, which is overkill, then a few years later, someone finishes the basement without telling the county. Then it's way over what the county is listing. Every other house in my n'hood has an unreported finished basement with more square footage than the county knows about. None of those figures are reliable, which is why RE folks don't use numbers any more. If you go to other states, you will find rooms measured to a T. They just don't do that here.

Now, if you'd measured every house you looked at, arrived at some kind of price that somehow equalized them all, and made your offer based on that information, then I could see fussing over the footage. But I suspect you considered the house as a whole, it's features, location, condition, and affordability...in comparison to all the others you looked at. So, whatever the size is, in the end, the numbers had little bearing on your decision. Correct?

Before you undo your deal, consider where it will get you. A lower price? You've already negotiated on the house, based on what you saw. Most people do use their eyes and not their measuring tape. So, I doubt you will find much sympathy. Also, have you measured to see for yourself? You just might find something added as I mentioned above.
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Old 07-08-2007, 04:09 AM
9,124 posts, read 33,442,918 times
Reputation: 3573
I'm with Westward- who cares? The house obviously suits your needs- the number/size of the bedrooms, closets and bathrooms was acceptable to you, you liked the layout, the neighborhood, and the price, so why does it matter that the SF isn't the same as unofficial, unwritten, non-binding figure your agent threw out there? Certainly it was unprofessional of him/her to do so, and I'm sure you're upset, but why does it matter? The house appraised acceptably even with the smaller SF, so just buy it and enjoy.

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Old 07-08-2007, 06:48 AM
7,100 posts, read 25,066,158 times
Reputation: 7346
Do you like the house? does it suit you? Then why on earth fret about this?

If your taxes are based on the higher figure, and you are complaining because of what you feel is higher taxes, then you could ask for a remeasurement. But be warned that it might come out even higher. sometimes the taxable figure is base on everything, porches, sheds, carport, utility room, and other measurements include ONLY living space. You could be opening a can of worms.

One house we lived in included a 8x8 plywood playhouse for the kids. We had put it up on concrete blocks on the corners, therefore, it had a "foundation" and it was big enough for someone to sleep in. So it was counted.
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Old 07-08-2007, 07:07 AM
Location: Atlanta,Ga
826 posts, read 2,844,079 times
Reputation: 242
I am sorry are you buying the place or leasing it? If you are renting and you like it I dont think its a big deal.
If you are buying I see the concern. Was the Square Footage listed on the sellers disclosure? If so, I would be concerned about other "inaccuracies" on that disclosure also. You bid on this place believe it was bigger than it was. Since its so much smaller then you thought would you have spent the same amount of money on this place. We had a contract on a place that had inaccuracies on the disclosure. We ended up cancelling the contract and getting our earnest money back. Again if you are purchasing this house, then EVERYTHING is a big deal. This is the biggest investment of most peoples lives.
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Old 07-08-2007, 09:14 AM
Location: Allen, Texas
670 posts, read 2,774,700 times
Reputation: 202
I think if you love the home, you should buy it; HOWEVER, if there were others you liked just as well I would find an attorney and get my options.

Just because Georgians do NOT base their homes on square footage, a lot of people and states DO and that is a substantial amount of square footage in a smaller home to be without IMO and experience in living in small (under 1200 square foot) homes. It isn't like you are buying a $500 suit, you are committing to a 15-30 year mortgage.
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Old 07-08-2007, 08:20 PM
2 posts, read 10,938 times
Reputation: 12
Default Thanks

Thanks everyone. I think I'm just going to go through with it - all the options are more hassle and money than they're worth. Also, we need a place to live, soon, and, yes, we basically liked the house.

My main problem, in retrospect, is that our realtor acted as if the tax office square footage mattered. We used it to assess comps, and therefore to calculate our offer. Obviously, it's so often wrong that it doesn't matter. I don't think we're getting totally screwed on the house, but I do feel like I should not have been given numbers that are (as I now know) widely known to be inaccurate and irrelevant. I was a first-timer at this, and I counted on my agent to know the ropes.

Also, percentage wise, this was as big difference, and I worried that I'd take a hit at resell. Apparently, not in Georgia. Or so I hope.
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Old 07-08-2007, 08:31 PM
29 posts, read 161,833 times
Reputation: 29
Not sure how to help. I'm closing on the 26th, My first home as well.

I posted this on Square Footage about a month ago, might help, might be the other thread mentioned above.

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