Square footage, unlike the number of bathrooms or whether there’s an attached garage, is often something we have to take on faith alone. After all, it’s not like we’re going to bring a measuring stick and a calculator to every home we look at. It would take hours to get all the measurements, and most of the time they’d be right. But square footage is often one of the most important parts of a house listings. It gives a general sense for size and, especially in an increasingly condo-centric market, it can give the competitive edge during a sale.
In many of these instances, the mislabelled square footage is a problem of miscommunication for both the real estate agent and the potential buyers. The agent, for example, may not know all of what is being included, or may believe that it’s standard practice to include these extra spaces in the overall square footage. For customers, they may not be informed with what the square footage actually includes.
The best defence against this practice is to first ask your real estate agent what that square footage includes, or ask for the “living space” square footage in comparison to the listed. Another tactic is to look at similar units in the building. If the condo building’s website lists what the units entail, including floor plans, then you can compare what the listing to the original floor plan. If they’re different, it may be because someone is juicing the stats.
Either way, obtaining the real square footage is an important part of buying a condo. Be diligent in your research and, if you find a problem, report it. Those caught maliciously fudging the numbers are subject to financial penalties.