Q: My husband and I put an offer on a home and it got accepted. We noticed that the square footage of the home as advertised by the seller is different from the square footage that the county registers for the home.
We only learned this after placing the offer.
We plan to measure the house and if there is a discrepancy of more than 100 square feet we will consult with a professional and measure the home again.
Our buying agent is kind of indifferent about negotiating a reduced price with the seller if there is a discrepancy in the square footage. What are our options in this case other than revoking our offer and starting the home hunting again?
A: There are many different ways of counting square footage. Some builders count it from the outside walls and others count it from the size of the rooms. Also, some people include attics and basements, whether finished or unfinished, and others don’t.
While the seller may have somewhat inflated the square footage as compared with the county, it’s quite possible that the county is incorrect. Also, having the county think you have a less square footage may result in a lower property tax bill for your home. Finally, the county may count square footage in a very different way than you would.
But the bottom line is that you didn’t or shouldn’t make an offer for this home based on the square footage, but how well the home worked for you. I urge you to think about this carefully. Does the house now feel smaller to you because the county assessor thinks it’s a bit smaller?
Instead of focusing on square footage, think about how well the house suits your needs and wants. If it still meets your needs — and some of the things you hoped to get — you will probably enjoy living there.
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