Home Valuation: Proper Sq Footage is VERY IMPORTANT




Selling your home FSBO and looking to skip the realtor? Or maybe you are using a realtor & need to get the proper data. Well you may want to consider seeking out another type of professional to make sure you have the correct data for your listing: The Real Estate Appraiser.

In this blog post we will concentrate on one of the main reasons why it’s important to have a professional value your home and provide you with the correct data : Incorrect Livable Sq Footage of your home.

Many things go into making sure you price your home correctly in the market. It’s not as easy as looking at Tax Records, Zillow, Trulia or Redfin. In fact, you may want to avoid all of them. Why you ask? Well to start with, most the online sites usually rely on tax records and well, tax records in many cases  is wrong as well. So how can tax records be wrong you ask? Let’s take an in depth look at this issue.

So for this blog post we are looking at the differences in sq footage of your home from the tax records site and the actual appraiser measurements. In GA many homes have basements (finished or unfinished) have areas above the garage as well as open areas in the foyer and family room areas of the home.  These all play a factor in home valuation however we will be concentrating on a specific issue in this blog:

Incorrect home sq footage

One of the main issues when it comes to a wrong home valuation is the incorrect actual square footage of the home. The Sq Footage should be broken down into above grade and below grade.  In this example I show why having your home measured properly versus relying on tax records is VERY important.

In this example we did an appraisal on a 2 story home with a full basement that was unfinished and had a room over the garage. The results were very different.

Tax records info VS Appraiser measurements.

Tax records: 4717 Sf Livable Area / 2404 Sf Basement

Appraiser: 4001 Sf Livable Area / 2257 Sf Basement

Major differences right?

The Issues:

1) Look at the right side of the home, the area circled in RED. The tax card (Picture 1) shows a length of 38’ which is correct however the back right side is stated to be 12’ long going vertical then 3’ on a 45 degree angle then 10 foot horizontal. The appraiser sketch (Picture 2) shows this to be (measuring with a laser measuring device) 8.8’ in length then 4’ on a 45 degree angle then 8.4’ horizontal.

2 ) The next issue: The assessor doubled the first floor main building area  of 1916 sf when in fact the second floor is a lot less in sq footage than the main area of the first floor. Look at the diagrams: Picture 1 is the tax assessor and Picture 2 is the appraisers. Notice how the right wall in tax records shows 38′ however the second floor on this house is only 26′. Notice how that middle area in blue that’s 10 X 16 X 8 is not in the appraisers sketch? It’s because it doesn’t exist at all. The entire second floor is much smaller than the first floor.

3) The tax card states the area over the garage is 1/2 of the garage area however the area over the garage is much different and has some cut outs and is not completely a rectangle. Look at the pictures above again. Notice the difference in the appraisers sketch versus the tax card?

4) Now lets look at one more thing here. The foyer. Look again at the pictures above of the second floor. Notice in the appraisers sketch there is a 13′ X 5′ area that isn’t connected between the front bedrooms? That’s open area in the foyer that has no second floor walk able or livable area. It doesn’t count as sq footage.

So this leads me to my conclusion of this blog post. The appraisers sq footage of 4001 sf is correct with a 2259 sf basement that is unfinished. These are the actual numbers that need to be used when comparing to other homes. By using the bad data you too will suffer and your home will not sell like it should. “But what about the other homes with bad data as well?” This is where a professional will be able to call the right people and get the proper info as well as be able to make that educated and professional decision to properly value your home. Don’t you want the correct data to sell your home correctly???

Last Note: If this home has a finished basement it would still be a 4001 sf livable home with a 2259 sf finished basement. Not a 6250 sf livable home. That’s not how it works when you have a basement and we will touch on that in the next Blog so stay tuned

Thank you all for reading and I hope we can be of service to you in the future.

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