home that was advertised having 2900 to 3000 sq ft tax value 2070 sq ft actual 2470 sq ft due to a rec room over garage who is responsible
Does the seller or his sales agent have a responsibility to provide accurate square footage values to potential buyers, also if the difference in advertised square footage is 500 feet less than advertised can the buyer demand his earnest money returned and terminate the deal.
5 months ago
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This sounds like a discrepancy between actual finished living space - the rec room over the garage - and appraisal guidelines, where that space is not included in the total square footage or number of rooms in the home. If that resulted in the home not appraising out to the purchase price and you have a mortgage contingency in your contract, one option is to ask the seller to drop the purchase price to meet the appraised value. If the purchase is a cash transaction, and you have an appraisal contingency in your contract your attorney will be able to advise you of your options to cancel the contract. If the property still appraised out to the purchase price your attorney will be able to advise you on your contractual options to cancel the contract based on a possibly unrelated issue, if that is really what you want to do.
Often the sq. footage is just copied from the tax records. Sometimes unfinished areas are finished, making it larger than the sq. footage indicated. MLS info often includes "price per sq ft." entries, and in your case, both numbers should have been confirmed by appraisal during the lending process. Experienced Realtors and appraisers can sometimes advise that perhaps the sq ft. seems high or low for what is listed, but it is always to the buyer to confirm. Intent is the hardest thing to prove. If you feel an adjustment is in order (it is), approach the seller with your info and what changes you want made to the contract and why. Hopefully, you can work it out in a satisfactory manner.
It is up to the buyer to determine the exact square footage. We as realtors have a disclosure on our MLS listings stating that the information is deemed reliable, but not guaranteed. The buyer is responsible for verifying all information. Hope this helps.
We are not a realtor, but if you find out that the actual square feet is that much of a discrepancy, you should certainly ask for either a refund if you don't want to buy anymore, or do more research during your due diligence period, or ask for an extension on the contract to confirm the accuracy. Some agents will measure a house themselves and we have known many that will even pay for an appraiser to measure a home prior to listing. But even appraisers can come up with differing amounts but not 500 feet. the problem could come from an unpermitted addition. If that is the case, the tax office would have a lower square footage, a realtor may measure the whole house not knowing there is unpermitted space, or the appraiser will not count the unpermitted addition. The main thing is to talk with your agent about this concern and have your agent help you get to the bottom of the issue. Hopefully whatever the issue, it works out for you!
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