Back to the Future

By
Real Estate Agent with Chad Kumpe Real Estate

 

                                                        Déjà Vu all over again

          In the old days (before home inspectors) we Realtors carried a tool bag in our car. There was a wooden mallet for driving in those horrible wooden driver stakes that were supposed to hold up yard signs.  There was a flash light for checking under the house for leaks and in the attic for insulation. There was a screwdriver and pliers for fixing minor things we found in the house before showings. There was also a 25 foot tape and a 100 foot tape for measuring rooms, as well as lot sizes.  Some offices even had metal detectors to mark lot corners without the aid of surveyors. Most city lots had to be surveyed (cost $150) before closing any way. You see we Realtors were thought to be the experts regarding "a good, safe house."

          Here is what is quickly coming at us.  Buyers will receive a copy of  the Appraisal Report any time between 10 days and 3 days PRIOR to closing.  If a house is quoted in the MLS or in a Realtor ad as being for sale at, let's say, $92 per square foot and the appraisal report says the house is 50 or 100 feet smaller than advertised; that could cause a problem just before closing (if the buyer wants the quoted per square foot price.)

          I do not think the county is particularly accurate in their measurements. Many home owners have little idea of square footage, only what they have been told. This is where the old 100 foot tape gets back in the Realtor tool bag. You must learn to measure a house accurately, or pay someone to do it for you. It would be wise to stop quoting a home for sale as priced at so much a foot. Remember, not all square feet are created equal anyway.

          Some of the sharper Buyer Agents are making offers with a price on page one of the real estate contract, then going to page nine in paragraph 27 "other" and qualifying that offer based on a price per square foot.  How do you advise your seller now?  Some appraisers offer home measuring services to Realtors and/or sellers for $100 to $150.

In times past, we Realtors were the arbiters of house sizes.  Sometimes changes bring back old ways.

 

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Rainmaker
449,271
Malcolm Johnston
Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario - Trenton, ON
Trenton Real Estate

Good post Chad. I think Realtors should be like boyscouts and always come prepared. A little tool kit in the trunk doesn't take up much space. And you're right, the cost-per-square foot is a pretty useless statistic for resale homes.

Jan 29, 2010 01:03 AM #1
Rainmaker
740,358
Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

I'm not an appraiser, but I have had a tool box in my vehicle at ALL times and I use my tools weekly if not more often. If the ground's not too hard, I can get a sign assembled and into the ground in about 15 mins. Not bad :)

And that 100 ft measuring tape comes out during many, many showings . . .

 

Jan 29, 2010 01:04 AM #2
Rainmaker
1,070,901
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR

We go by the courthouse square footage.  It may not be accurate but that is what they pay taxes on.  I believe 4 people can measure a house and they will all come up with a different size and I do not feel qualified to measure one myself.  I do keep all those tools in my car, including the 100' tape.

Jan 29, 2010 01:37 PM #3
Anonymous
Chad K.

By useing the Court House records you may be taking on some un-necessary risk. Taxes are assesed on sale price not Sq. Ft.  It is easy to measure a house. Just be sure the front side measurments equal the back side measurments. The same goer for both sides.

Jan 29, 2010 02:45 PM #4
Rainmaker
740,358
Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

I just took a listing where the assessor's records and the actual square footage of the home differ by several hundred square feet.

The reason is that the original homeowner had an additional room built onto the tract 'floorplan' and the county only got the original application for building permit by the builder.

We NEVER measure the home for square footage ourselves--too much liability--the appraiser will do that. The measuring tape comes in handy when determining if the buyer's furniture will fit! :)

Jan 30, 2010 04:30 AM #5
Rainer
22,217
Jerry Hill
Hill Realty - Bryant, AR

Hey Chad, good to hear from you.  I still carry some of those same tools and on occasion have to use them.  I have also found my metal detector a valuable tool in trying to find an illusive corner pin on a lot in the middle of nowhere.  It seems that many agents avoid using many of the tools that you mentioned, because it may get them in hot water later on, if there should be a challenge as to the accuracy of their information.  As Realtors, our focus should always be on providing our Clients with the best service possible.

Mar 18, 2010 05:13 AM #6
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