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How do I calculate the square footage of a listing?

This question came from streeteasy, where are a footsore buyer was protesting that seller’s brokers are overstating the square footage of a co-op listing.

Well, of course they are — we have a game that we play in our firm where we look at a floorplan, and say what we would estimate the square footage at, and then guess what competing firms would estimate the square footage at (hint: it’s always higher).

Here’s my full streeteasy post:

From a real estate agent:

shoppers use stated square footage for their “first cull” — so there’s been persistent inflation. It’s like dating, would you go on a blind date with someone who is “kind of cute?” Of course not, because in blind-dating world, everyone is “really hot.”

For years, this wasn’t a problem because brokers didn’t give out co-op square footage. Once they did, and someone moved an apartment up from 750 to 800 and started getting better traffic because of it, the floodgates were opened . ..

To correct for this inflation, you as a shopper should do two things:

1) You shouldn’t bypass listings that have lower stated square footage. It’s possible that those brokers are just less inflationary.

2) Later in the process, once you have found three or four apartments you like, walk yourself over to Staples and spend three or four bucks on a pad of graph paper.

Draw the floorplan for each apartment on a separate piece of the graph paper, using a consistent scale.

Always start in the same corner.

That way, you can hold the floorplans up to the light against each other and get a “true” comparison.

This helps you adjust for the easy psychological trick that floorplans that are simply printed larger look more compelling!

ali r.
{downtown broker}

Posted in For Buyers and For renters 11 years, 11 months ago at 10:50 am.

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