Have you ever thought something that turned out to be incorrect and it ended up costing you? Of course you have. You are reading this, so you are probably human. Now, how big is your house?
Buyers want to know exactly what they are paying for, and Sellers should know exactly what they have. Almost everybody will measure a property differently. Is it outside to outside, inside to inside, or outside to inside? You decide. But, who will the public trust? Houses are typically measured in terms of square feet, and there are generally 4 different generators of that data. Listed in order from least to most reliable:
4. The Seller
3. The real estate agent
2. The County Court House Assessor
1. A professionally licensed and certified Appraiser.
Here is a quick Story to validate the value of experienced, professional real estate counsel:
I recently visited with a couple who are needing to sell their home in the near future. The Court House records has their home listed and assessed at 2965 square feet. The Owner, who was also the Builder, found that on the building plans there was ~124 square feet that hadn’t been accounted for thereby bringing their stated square footage to 3089. Which one is correct? On the one hand, you don’t want to argue with the County because they have their methods of measuring and that would directly affect your tax basis and most consumers have access to that data through public information platforms these days, but you built the house so you oughta know just how big it ended up being. And when there is any kind of discrepancy, confidence can be shaken and goodwill can be eroded before you have even had an opportunity to engage the relationship. In this type of situation, I will almost always counsel the Sellers to make a $100 investment. Hire an Appraiser to measure their home for marketing purposes. They now have a home that has been professionally measured & warranted at 3181 square feet. This property is in a neighborhood where the average sales price is currently ~$148 per square foot, & with a difference of 216 sf from the next most valid source of data and staying conservative with a $140/ft value, that $100 investment just increased their market valuation by $30,240!
When you need to know what your assets are worth, be certain that you are dealing with good data. If there is any doubt, you should do all that you can to eliminate it. And if you don’t know what you don’t know, please feel free to call. We are in the business of teaching you ‘what you wish you would have known’…