Invisible Rooms Can Be Costly for Buyers

Regular readers of TrueGotham know all too well my irritation at the mis-quoting of square footage.  I even did a 5 Part Web TV series to address just that topic.  It has unfortunately been determined that measuring square footage is not an exact science and coming up with an accurate measure of a property seems to be nearly impossible.  So imagine my incredible dismay this week when a seller and I exchanged the following emails:


Just received square footage back from floor plan drafter and he measured at 1095sf. From where did 1350sf number come? Big difference and I can’t market at 1350 when measured at 1095. Just want you to know that I will be listing at approximately 1100sf


The 1300 sf number was taken simply from past listings for the "e" line in the building. They are all supposed to be identical. Its possible that people were including the sf of the balcony…The "m" lines is supposed to be marginally smaller than the "e" line, and don’t have a balcony. There are 3 currently on the market, listed at between 1250-1300 sf. We either overlooked something, or everyone else in the building is lying.


Probably the latter but I will investigate further.  I am willing to not list sf and inform those who ask that other E lines are listed between 1250 and 1300sf but I can’t market as 1300sf. Make sense?


Unfortunately, that doesn’t really address my concern. The way we see things, the unit’s biggest selling point is the space you get for the price (but it’s NOT as much "space" as he wants to claim!). Listing a number that is below its actual equivalents undercuts us, and not listing the sf seems to defeat the whole purpose. I realize that brokers will understand what is going on, and inform people appropriately, but everyone I know does their own research as well. I know I did, and space was the first thing I looked at. (He should have done more thorough homework and he would have known he purchased 1095sf and not 1350 as it was marketed)

Can you at least call your colleagues who are listing similar units and ask why they feel comfortable listing at 1250-1300 sf? To be perfectly honest, this may very well be a deal breaker for us. (Most of my colleagues don’t intentionally lie about sf . Some simply state the last number at which the property was marketed whether accurate or not)


I think that you should proceed with someone else as this just doesn’t feel right to me. I’m sorry but I will not mis-quote square footage regardless of whether my colleagues will.



We were not asking you to misquote anything. (Really?!?! Seems he wants me to market his home as being 200sf larger than it is.)  We simply don’t understand why your guy’s numbers are so radically different than everyone else’s (because we actually measured!) I am not saying they are right and you are wrong, I am simply trying to wrap my head around how the two methods could come up with such different calculations. Its not like we are talking about fly-by-night brokerages here, its Sotheby’s, Corcoran, Bellmarc. Its even people at your own agency. (My point EXACTLY!!!) That said it seems that this is not something you are really interested in doing, and that you haven’t been since your initial response on the 9th. That being the case, I agree its best we all go our separate ways.

Thank you for your time.

So that’s that.  I’m not going to be representing these sellers with the sale of their 1100sf apartment because I won’t lie and market it as 1300sf.  BTW…that is a 200sf difference!!!  That is a 10 x 20 foot room!!!  How can I look someone in the face and tell them that another 10 x 20 foot room exists but they just can’t see it.  It’s a magical room that the human eye can’t see but we have to charge for. 

This is ludicrous and worse yet they will absolutely find someone to market this apartment as being 1300sf.  BUYER BEWARE!

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