The Real Deal Miami

Buyer beware: Price per square foot often “trickery”

From left: Jonathan Miller and Dan Bamberger

From left: Jonathan Miller and Dan Bamberger

From the New York site: Brokers have been asking buyers to take price-per-square-foot numbers with a grain of salt, as listings have no uniform standard for measuring square footage and are often misleading.

Some listings, for example, may include closets, hallways and even elevator shafts as part of the square footage, while others go with simply the actual amount of usable space inside an apartment. Still, “usable” can be defined in myriad ways.

Buyers and sellers often discuss price per square foot when determining overall purchase price, Dan Bamberger of Citi Habitats told DNAinfo. “It’s the most common way people try to make a justified analysis of how much they should be paying for an apartment.”

But, Bamberger and others told the site, “it’s really more trickery than anything else.”

Bamberger recently randomly selected four apartments on the market in Greenwich Village and found that on average, floor plans were nearly 44 percent smaller than the listed square footage. He also saw a difference of almost 12 percent between square footage listed for the same unit at two different times.

Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel told DNAinfo that listing measurements tend to be between 5 and 10 percent higher than actual apartment size.

Still, he said, “there’s an expectation of precision that doesn’t exist. But it’s not like [the space] was hidden from you when you bought. It’s just another rating for the apartment.” [DNAinfo]Hiten Samtani

  • Paul Lepine, CCIM

    Price per square foot is not a meaningful measure of anything at all when it comes to residential property. It seems to over value the lesser property and under values the greater one even if the square footage is measured accurately, It says nothing about location, design, quality, views, ceiling height, finishes, amenities or anything that should interest a buyer. It’s meant to make a broker look like they’ve done their homework, when they really haven’t. Sales price per square foot bears no relation to the cost of construction per square foot either. It’s misleading puffery that can lead to misrepresentation and lawsuits.

    Paul Lepine, CCIM
    Fort Lauderdale, FL

  • Meir Aloni

    In Broward, as long as you use SAME tool (county public tax records) to compare a subject property to others, you should be OK, as far as liability, I’ll have to assume..other wise you will need to either measure each comparable property yourself or get copies of actual blue prints of sold properties you compare the subject property to.. not the selling agent job of expertise (in most cases)… but, there is always the pro. appraisal option!!

    Meir Aloni, CRS Realtor