A Dallas-area agent and her brokerage were sued after an appraisal district’s square footage information used to populate the MLS listing proved to be incorrect.
The buyer was awarded more than $32,000 by a jury—claimed damages, plus attorney’s fees, and other costs—in a decision that could’ve had major impacts on industry practices. But the brokerage appealed the ruling, with Texas REALTORS® filing a brief in support of the firm’s position, and the Texas Fifth District Court of Appeals in Dallas reversed the jury’s findings.
The reversal is a legal victory for Texas REALTORS® and MLSs and provides legal precedent for future square-footage disputes, according to Texas REALTORS® General Counsel Lori Levy.
Read more about the details of the case and the potential ramifications in the June issue of Texas REALTOR® magazine.
The key word here is JURY. That decision obviously was based on emotion and lack of knowledge. Juries are a roll of the dice. But all’s well that ends well.
So tell me….when the Buyer asks what is the sq footage? What are we to say? No clear answer in the article.
The Texas REALTORS® form Notice of Information from Other Sources (TXR 2502) can be used by members when providing information from sources like appraisal districts.
Should this be included in disclosures right from get go or can this form be added after you find out there is a discrepancy?
” The advertised square footage is…”
Thank You TAR for stopping the injustice of this ploy by buyers. The open concept housing plans we have today makes calculating square footage challenging. I doubt you could get the same figures from two different appraisers. We are not appraisers as it says in our Buyer Rep Agreements. I advise every Realtor to have the buyer sign the Information From Third Party Sources. The Association has stepped up to assist Realtors in unfair lawsuits. Applauding the victory!
My company devised its own form to let buyers know that the square footage is an estimate and needs to be verified by the buyer.
My personal home had 2918 square feet in the MLS Listing when I bought it. I subsequently discovered the Appraisal District number was 2815 sq/ft and the lender’s appraiser “measured” 2780 sq ft. My point is that this number is going to vary based on where you get it and how it was measured. Law suits could get out of hand if they had ruled the other way.
It is typically acceptable to have two measurements with 10% of one another. More than that indicates an error somewhere.
If 3 appraisers measure a house, all results will be slightly different, Here is a disclaimer I add to every 1004. Feel free to alter as needed. The square footage figures derived for the improvements were calculated from the actual measurements taken at the time of the inspection, and are an ESTIMATE ONLY. This estimate should not be considered accurate for any other purpose. A professional Engineer or Architect should be consulted for an accurate living area measurement.
Kathy, hopefully the appraisers are measuring to ANSI standards. It is amazing how many are unaware of the standard for measuring residential dwellings.
I use a similar disclosure but add that the measurements are not a certification of GLA and are not to be used in the MLS or for any other purpose.
Ummm…the appraisal documents square footage. Why didn’t they use that as their reliable source before closing?
The appraisal districts ROUND their numbers. I have ALWAYS said this is MISLEADING. The only way to give a CORRECT number is to MEASURE and CALCULATE IT CORRECTLY< BB
One other thing, you can hire an APPRAISER to measure it for you. Everyone should learn how to properly measure a building or dwelling though. BB
This is definitely and obviously an ongoing issue to include replats of subdivisions and square footage of land as well.