The square footage of a house is one of the most important factors that Realtors use when valuing property. Here in Miami, we find that there is a lot of confusion between the different types of square footage – Adjusted, Living, Total, Building. To make things more complicated, occasionally the tax rolls do not accurately reflect the real square footage of a property. This can happen when a homeowner completes an addition to the home and the city has not yet updated their records. Therefore, it is important that agents and consumers educate themselves on the different figures, how to calculate them and how to properly use them.
To protect the public, most reputable brokers are not allowed to put a different square footage number on the MLS than exists on the tax rolls unless there is an appraiser’s sketch and and a letter from an architect that verifies the new number. If this rule were not in place, realtors would be free to put whatever square footage number they wanted on the listing, which could make their property look more appealing to buyers. When buying a property, it is essential that you compare the tax roll numbers to the MLS figures in order to make sure you are not being mislead by the size of the home. If you see a discrepancy, ask for documentation of the difference.