When homes are put on the market we are required to put some measurements in the MLS. If you read the fine print it says right in the NorthstarMLS that the information provided is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.
It is recommended that buyers agents verify the measurements. Personally, if I were buying a home and the measurements of it and of each room were important to me I would measure it myself.
Several years ago some clients of mine took measurements of the house they made an offer on during the inspection. It was smaller than advertised by 300 square feet.
They withdrew their offer which is kind of unusual. Apparently, they didn’t like the house enough to negotiate a lower price.
When buyers use financing to buy a house the buyer’s lender sends an appraiser to determine the value of the house. The size of the house does matter when determining the value.
Sometimes when I list a house the owner provides measurements. If they came from blueprints or an appraisal I accept them. If not I measure.
Measuring a house isn’t as easy as you would think. The total square footage can be obtained by measuring the foundation. They are rarely rectangular or square which ads complexity.
On a true two-story the second floor is the same size as the first assuming there are no additions on the first floor. Sometimes total above ground square footage can be obtained by measuring the foundation and multiplying by two.
Finished square footage is where the floor, ceiling, and walls are finished but if a person has to walk through an unfinished space to get to it we don’t count it.
My own house is quite complicated but I have measurements from an appraisal. They differ from what tax records have as the total finished square footage.
It is possible that they are the measurements of the house that was previously on the lot but that burned to the ground. The house is a story and a half because the second floor is smaller than the first.
However, the second floor is actually more than half as big as the first. It is really a story and three quarters but there isn’t a box I can check for that.
I once measured my own house for practice. I can out with about 20 more finished square feet than what was on the appraisal. We call that REALTOR math.