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Square Footage & Hardwood Floors

Customers and clients often ask "How many square feet in the house?" and "Are there hardwood floors under the carpet?." Answering either question can pose significant risks for the licensee.

How do you determine the square footage of a house? Do you measure from interior wall to exterior wall? Do you include finished space, the carport or garage, heated space only? Do you measure the property yourself, rely on MLS data, rely on architectural plans rely on county tax records?

The answer to each of these questions is "it depends." For example, appraisers usually base square footage for appraisal purposes on exterior walls. Purchasers seeking to accommodate their furniture needs will base square footage on the interior walls.

Perhaps the best policy for real estate licensees is not to attempt to calculate square footage. If a customer raises the issue, the licensee should allow the customer to make his or her own calculations. If the licensee gives the customer square footage data from the MLS, architectural plans, or other sources, the licensee should carefully disclose that he or she cannot verify the accuracy of that data.

If a seller tells you that there are hardwood floors under the carpet and you wish to convey that information to prospective purchasers, you should make every effort to verify that information. Pulling up the carpet in the comer of each room or in closets may help you to verify that information. You can remove the grill covering a heating or air conditioning vent installed in the floor and check to see if there are hardwood floors beneath the carpet.

However, the best policy on answering the hardwood floor question is the same as the one on the square footage question. If hardwood floors are important to the prospective purchaser, let the prospective purchaser verify whether they are under the carpet.

The information contained in this article is believed to be current and accurate. The GREC staff reviews the contents periodically and updates it when appropriate. If you have questions or comments about this article, you may contact us at . Last reviewed August, 2006.