County Assessor's Records are often incorrect!

By
Real Estate Agent with Premiere Plus Realty Marco Island BK3351211

Mary Pope-Handy gave me the idea for this post when she wrote about Tip for the Day to Make Your Clients Money.

                                   6855 Little Cabin Road Bettendorf Iowa by Lucky Lang

I have a listing right now at 6855 Little Cabin Road in Bettendorf Iowa that the court house records had listed at .74 acre.  The previous listing (when it was new) had it at .84 acre.  I took the dimensions, did some simple geometry, and came up with an exact amount of .822 acre. 

When I called the Scott County Assessor's office to ask how they arrived at their figure, they said that they do not include "non-buildable" portions of the property in their figures for assessment purposes.  I asked, "Then you don't include the portions of the property that have non-buildable setbacks made by ordinances and covenants?"  He said, "Oh yes, we include those!"  After a long conversation, he raised his figure from .74 acre to .76 acre but said that he couldn't include the 10' x 270' driveway portion of the lot.  

So now I get selling agents calling me and asking, why is the county record for the lot size smaller than what you have listed on your MLS listing?  Then I point out to them that the Scott County Assessor's office has a disclaimer that says, "*Dimensions used for assessment purposes only. Not a survey of the property."

It would sure be easier for everyone and less confusing for the public if assessor's offices put in the exact dimensions of the property and leave their assessment figures "behind the scenes".

What do they do in your area?

 

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For info about Real Estate Anywhere in the World, please call:

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Lucky Lang Davenport Iowa Real Estate for Sale

Lucky Lang, SRES®, RFC, M.I.S.

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Premiere Plus Realty, 886 Park Ave. #103, Marco Island, FL 34145

Cell: (563) 676-9031

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Iowa Scott County Bettendorf Old Hunters Woods
Tags:
mls
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Rainmaker
281,971
Kelley Eling
Fathom Realty Group - Sonoma, CA
Realtor Extraordinaire
The County records for the square footage of the home and the lot are often incorrect or deceiving.  For example, some lot sizes include the street/driveway/easement that everyone in the subdivision uses to get to their homes.  And when people expand their homes, the county records are often not updated.  Or, one home had really wide, long hallways, which was included when calculating the living space.  People get all hung up on details and rule out homes because of information like this.  When they really should just go to the property and see if the lot and the home suits their needs.
Apr 07, 2007 04:41 AM #1
Rainmaker
217,815
Lucky Lang
Premiere Plus Realty Marco Island - Marco Island, FL
Marco Island & Naples Florida Real Estate

Kelley,

Couldn't have said it better myself!

I had one client that wrote an offer on a property that the MLS stated it was 4,870 square feet.  When they looked up on the assessor's records and saw that it said 4,200 square feet they withdrew their offer.

Is it not the same home that they saw and loved?  Did the house shrink after they looked at it?  Did they now, all of a sudden because of a statistic on-line, feel that the home did not fit their needs?

Unfortunately, until people start using their eyes and stop worrying about statistics, we will have to deal with providing as much accurate information for them as possible.

Lucky :)

Apr 07, 2007 04:51 AM #2
Rainmaker
168,075
Mary Pope-Handy
Sereno Group Real Estate - Los Gatos, CA
CRS, CIPS, ABR, SRES, Silicon Valley
Lucky, Thanks!  I think the link to my post is broken. I could not get it to go through.

Thanks for the plug and post!!  Best of luck. What a gorgeous home.
Apr 07, 2007 04:55 AM #3
Rainmaker
189,486
Herb Hamilton
RE/MAX Preferred Inc. Realtors - Portland, OR
Real Estate Broker ,CDPE, Downtown Portland

Kelly makes an excellent point. The size of the Land and the Home are very much over rated. Certainly it would be nice to know if that the property is somewhat close to the size of your needs. But the difference between .72 and .76 is really indistinguishable.

Before you all blow up ask yourself this question. If properties marketed did not include the square foot size of the house or the tenths of an acre of ground, how much easier would our lives be? And much sooner would our clients find the right home if they were not hung up on the numbers?

Ever had a client say I want to look at homes over 2000 square foot? And they didn't see the perfect house at 1995 sq ft. Not even the size of a decent broom closet.

Apr 07, 2007 04:57 AM #4
Rainmaker
217,815
Lucky Lang
Premiere Plus Realty Marco Island - Marco Island, FL
Marco Island & Naples Florida Real Estate

Mary,

Sorry, sometimes it doesn't fill in all the info.  I've noticed that other people have had this problem from time to time.  I fixed it and it is working now!

Thanks,

Lucky :)

Apr 07, 2007 05:02 AM #5
Rainmaker
217,815
Lucky Lang
Premiere Plus Realty Marco Island - Marco Island, FL
Marco Island & Naples Florida Real Estate

Herb,

You are correct!  The problem is, until our MLS stops having this info and until our clients stop demanding this info, we need to provide it in it's more accurate form.

If it's important to them, than it better be important to us.

Thanks for your comment.

Lucky :)

Apr 07, 2007 05:07 AM #6
Rainmaker
336,965
Paul David Hiebing
Grampp Realty: Real Estate in the Quad-Cities - Bettendorf, IA
Quad-City REALTOR®, @ Grampp, Realty of The Q.C.

Lucky,

Actually, the Scott County Iowa Assessor's office website (http://scottcountyiowa.com/query.php) does a pretty good job (overall) of getting out parcel information to the general public.. But, I agree with you that the information it provides contains some errors and omissions.

While far from perfect, It beats the heck out of the way we used to get our information (i.e. from either a poorly faxed copy of the Assessors card or by going to the Scott County Court House in person and picking it up) in the old days before Internet access...

And as for lot size, dimensions, and boundaries.. I was always told to tell the potential buyer that:

"I am not a surveyor, and I can not give you any specific information about the property lines, boundaries or overall dimensions... If that is something that concerns you, you may have a professional surveyor survey the property at your own cost".. 

There have been several agents in the Quad-Cities who have been sued for giving out incorrect information about things that they were not qualified to speak of...

Thats why all of the the lisitngs on our MLS contain the following disclaimer:

"This information is deemed reliable, but not guaranteed. Copyright: 2004 PDQ Information Services, Inc."

to keep us out of court....

 

Apr 07, 2007 06:34 AM #7
Rainer
36,982
Richard Parr
ADT Security Services - Slidell, LA
Home Security Specialist - Greater New Orleans, Louisiana

I always thought that the assessor's offices used the survey information.  I will pay closer attention to this in the future.

Apr 07, 2007 06:43 AM #8
Rainmaker
217,815
Lucky Lang
Premiere Plus Realty Marco Island - Marco Island, FL
Marco Island & Naples Florida Real Estate

Paul,

Thanks for your comment.  I agree with you that having the information on-line is much more convenient than driving downtown and much clearer than a poor fax.  All of which I have done since 1977 when I was first licensed. 

As for your statement, "I am not a surveyor", I agree as well.  I don't believe it is within our scope of expertise as real estate licensees to stake out properties and establish boundaries of the physical property. 

However, I totally disagree with you regarding giving out dimensions of the property.  Do you remember having to learn about metes and bounds, sections in a township, square footage in an acre, etc. in order to pass your exam?  As real estate PROFESSIONALS, we are expected to know this information so we can do our jobs!  Getting off our chairs, driving downtown to the plat room, getting a copy of the recorded plat for a property, and doing the same math that was required to pass the Iowa real estate exam IS part of our job.

If you don't want to do this work for your clients, just send them over to me....a full service Realtor (R).

As for agents being sued for giving out incorrect information....well, if your client is expecting you to be a professional and do your job and you don't....I guess they have that right.  Most of the lawsuits that I have heard of involve agents giving wrong square footage information.  Their problem, for the most part, was either not taking the time to measure the property and just taking the information from the city/county records or it was due to their inability to accurately measure a property.  Again, if someone doesn't want to do their job or isn't capable of doing their job, just send them over to me.

Lastly, the disclaimer you mentioned does not keep anyone out of court.  It has been there for decades and people have sued and won against companies whose agents didn't do their jobs correctly.  What keeps us out of courts is doing our job, using a tape measure accurately, taking care with our client's business, and being a PROFESSIONAL.

Thanks,

Lucky :)

Apr 07, 2007 02:42 PM #9
Ambassador
685,877
Rob Lang
At Home Kansas - Lawrence, KS
Local Expert in Lawrence Kansas Real Estate Homes

Here is what our county website states:

Douglas County does not expressly or implied warrant that the information or data accessed is accurate or correct. The County shall not be liable for any loss, cost, damage, or expense arising directly or indirectly in connection with this agreement, or any amendments or attachments to it. In no event shall the County be liable for any special or consequential damages or for any indirect damages resulting from the use or application of the information extracted using the online system.

Here is what our MLS states:

Disclaimer
This information is deemed reliable, but not guaranteed. Copyright Lawrence Multiple Listing Service.

Here is what Realtor.com states:

Broker may not have reviewed or approved listing enhancements. All information provided by the listing agent/broker is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed and should be independently verified.

Here is what I state:

If you have not seen enough disclaimers already, here's another one: I am responsible for nothing and yet responsible for everything.  The buck stops here but it really doesn't.  Don't read anything at all into any of my listings but you probably will anyway.  I'm all for doing my job in a professional manner and do my very best to get you the correct information on the property you inquired about but quite frankly, I'm not a lawyer, an appraiser, an inspector, a lender, a surveyor, etc. but you will expect me to perform some of these professionals' tasks anyways.  I won't please all the people all the time but I am sure going to try.  When all is said and done caveat emptor.

Final Disclaimer:  The above statement was provided in jest and does not reflect the true opinions of myself or anyone related or affiliated with me.  Or does it?

Apr 07, 2007 03:13 PM #10
Rainmaker
217,815
Lucky Lang
Premiere Plus Realty Marco Island - Marco Island, FL
Marco Island & Naples Florida Real Estate

Rob,

Good one!

Lucky :)

Apr 07, 2007 03:25 PM #11
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