How to measure the square footage of a home?
Some realtors have calculations which include the closets while others do not. Others may include the space from wall dividers or between walls. Sometimes measurements even seem to pull extra footage from out of nowhere.
There are no hard rules of how to measure the square footage of a home, and because of this, lawsuits can occur.
Depending on the real estate market, the city or if the measurements in question are from a multi-unit development, the costs to a seller could turn into thousands or tens of thousands.
Can you trust the measurements?
Many sellers will rely on the square footage contained in the county tax assessor’s records.
Tax records would seem to be a reliable source, but that is not really the case. They can be filled with errors when examined closely.
Public tax records were created to simplify a system of mass appraisals for government agencies. They were never intended to be used by the real estate industry as a source of square footage or to be legally binding.
How sellers can protect themselves
In order to protect oneself from these types of lawsuits, it is imperative that Sellers need to use appropriate language in their listings and sale documents. Make certain all relevant disclosures are made aware to buyers.
Any property that is leased or sold using square footage as an essential selling point must take care to insure accurate measurement before the property is brought to market.
For legal advice on square footage measurements or any other real estate law questions in the State of Illinois, please contact us.
* To the extent that the information on this blog post is interpreted as attorney advertising in accordance with the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct or within the meaning of state bar rules from all other localities, this statement is made pursuant to those rules.
Sources: NY Times | Realtor Mag