Square Footage Discrepancies

When you initially purchased your home all corresponding documentation stated you had 2,375 square feet of heated livable space; and the county property tax records agreed. Now you’re ready to sell and your listing agent swears you actually have only 2,000 square feet.

Believe it or not, but inaccurate square footage is a very common occurrence. Perhaps when the home was originally under construction and the builder applied for permits, he listed the home’s square footage as 2,375. The county tax office used this number for assessment purposes. The original buyer assumed this number was correct and had no reason to dispute what was on record at the tax office. But unbeknownst to the builder, before the foundation was started, neighborhood kids were horsing around and moved the outside corner flags. No one ever caught the mistake until now years later when you are trying to list the property.

Or the original appraiser may have miscalculated when measuring, or accidentally transposed a number, or perhaps wasn’t very good with fractions and added incorrectly. The county tax office uses the number they are given; they don’t come out and physically measure your home, though during an assessment they may do a drive-by and compare rough exterior dimensions. That said, the majority of real estate professionals all agree your next move is to hire a reputable licensed appraiser to get the true and accurate square footage.

In South Carolina generally the buyer is responsible for paying for the appraisal, as financing is contingent on the property being worth the selling price. But as the seller, if you list a home knowing the square footage is incorrect, problems could arise once a contract has been accepted and an appraisal done. Don’t let a square footage discrepancy derail a potential sale. Whether you are the homeowner, potential buyer, real estate buyer’s agent or selling agent, Carolina RES offers a convenient solution for all those necessary inspections and appraisals. Simply take a few moments to fill out our handy online inspection form and we’ll take care of the rest.