The age-old question – how are condos measured in size?

Q: We are under contract to purchase a downtown condominium unit. The seller’s real estate agent has said the unit contains 860 square feet. However, when my wife and I measured the apartment, we came up with only 830 square feet.

Is there a formal method of making these measurements? Obviously, we do not want to pay for more than we are actually getting.

A: There is an old saying that when there are two lawyers, there will be three opinions. When you are trying to analyze square footage, you may actually get four or five opinions.

Now, many of you might say, “Real estate agents are liars. They always say condos are bigger they really are.”

I disagree. Not with the first sentence, just the second. (Ha ha. Ha?)

Really, there’s no hard and fast rule as to how to measure the size of a condo. Yes, you (and I) may think someone should go in with a ruler and measure the interior of every room. However, many people think you should measure “to the studs” or, beyond – six inches into the wall, in some cases. Some just measure the exterior of a building (this gives you the biggest number, of course, and ignores such things as stairways and closets).

Of course, a story about condo sizes wouldn’t be complete without the following statement:

As you can see, this is complex. However, does it really make a difference what the square footage is? Are you happy with the unit? Are you comfortable with the price? Have you made sure that your furniture will fit in the new apartment?

I believe that too much emphasis is being placed on square footage because it is a small aspect of purchasing a condominium unit, either new or resale.

Complete story: How Big Is Your Condo? There Is No Right Answer. – By Benny L. Kass, The Washington Post

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Updated:  1st Q 2018

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