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Buying a Boston condo: Bring a tape measure

This is a topic that has been written many times before here on the Boston Real Estate Blog, so why not once more.

The measurements on the Boston Real Estate Multi-Listing Service (MLS)  are not exact. Those same measurements are fed to a zillion other websites. We expect them to be close but sometimes they are way off.

Room measurements are usually rounded and expressed in whole numbers which are alright for most uses. When it is time to buy flooring the measurements will need to be more accurate.

Downtown Boston condos for sale can sometimes be a little tricky to measure. Each of those measurements is important when determining the value of a Boston Seaport condo

My own home shows up in tax records as being 30% smaller than it is. That is why I don’t assume that the Realtor’s measurements are wrong and the tax assessors are right.

Boston Single-family Homes

I find houses that mysteriously gain a few hundred square feet. Sometimes it is because part of the basement was finished or unfinished space was added or whoever got the measurements either accidentally or intentionally got them wrong.

The Importance of Boston condo measurement

Often home buyers will bring rulers to the inspection and take new measurements. Several years ago I had some clients who did that and then backed out of the purchase when a few hundred square feet went missing. For them, it was more about the honesty of the seller than it was about the size of the home

Boston Real Estate and the Bottom Line

many of the downtown Boston condos that are on the market today were not measured. The measurements from the last time they were on the market were used instead. Appraisals usually include measurements and they are accurate to the point where I wouldn’t waste my time arguing with an appraiser. 🙂

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Buying a Boston condo: Bring a tape measure

This is a topic that has been written many times before, but I see the NY Times feels it’s enough of an issue that they ran another article on it as well. The problem has to do with overstating square footage; specifically condos. My advice, bring a tape measure and measure it yourself and focus on the dimensions of the floor plan, if you have a Boston buyers broker make him/her do it in your presence. Never, and I mean never, take the Boston real estate listing show sheet as absolute fact. Many times, the listing broker obtains the square footage information from outside sources that are not always reliable.

NY Times reports, “The Elusive Measure Known as the Square Foot“:

The tape measure does not lie. But when it comes to measuring the square footage of New York City apartments, the tale told by the tape can be exaggerated, massaged, misrepresented and manipulated.

There are willful — and legal — tactics to make a space appear bigger on paper, like including common spaces and elevator shafts in the calculation of an apartment’s size. There are also honest mistakes that derive from historical inaccuracies, differences in how condominiums and co-ops are measured, advances in measuring technology, changes in measuring standards, and unusual layouts. Then there are outright misrepresentations.

Brokers are often careful to say they take no responsibility for listed square footage, and owners may honestly not know how large their home is. So, often, there is no obviously responsible party when discrepancies are found.

Frances Katzen, an executive vice president of Elliman, said a number of her clients had bought apartments that turned out to be smaller than they had been told. She counsels her clients to focus not on square footage, but on what similar properties in the same building have sold for in the past.

Read more.

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