Recently a list of the ten fastest growing counties in the nation was completed by CNN and reprinted in the Realtor magazine. This shows that the growth is in the suburban areas as opposed to the urban or city areas. St. Charles, and Jefferson Counties would be typical of the areas that made the list.
1. Kendall County, Ill. (Chicago), 92.1 percent
2. Pinal County, Ariz. (Phoenix), 89.7 percent
3. Rockwall County, Texas (Dallas), 88.9 percent
4. Flagler County, Fla. (Jacksonville), 83.9 percent
5. Loudon County, Va. (Washington, D.C.), 77.6 percent
6. Forsyth County, Ga. (Atlanta), 77.4 percent
7. Lincoln County, S.D. (Sioux Falls), 70.7 percent
8. Paulding County, Ga. (Atlanta), 67.4 percent
9. Williamson County, Texas (Austin), 64.3 percent
10. Douglas County, Colo. (Denver), 64 percent
The reason for buying in a fast growth area is that demand for housing creates appreciation when there is more demand than inventory available. When buying new you should have several years of low maintenance. The down side of buying new is that you often do not have the extra storage space in shelving and closets in the basement and garage. You will end up spending additional on landscaping. Buying new should offer the more efficient appliances for energy savings. Always look to see if the infrastructure in the booming area is keeping up with the growth. Water, sewer, roads, and schools can limit any areas potential and create rising taxes.
How is Square Footage Measured? You’ll Be Surprised
Posted: 08 Dec 2011 12:29 PM PST
An inch is an inch is an inch. Or, so you’d think. But when it comes to measuring the square footage of a property, it’s not quite that simple.
I doubt there exists a buyer in the entire world of real estate who hasn’t asked, at one time or another, what is the square footage of a particular property. The fact is, however, measuring the size of a home isn’t an exact science.
You can hire three different appraisers to measure the same house and they may come up with three different measurements. Because there are multiple ways to measure and different mechanisms used, the physical act of measuring can be done differently. Some appraisers will measure square footage with a good old measuring tape, albeit a large one. Others come equipped with those new state-of-the-art laser devices. I have been present when an appraiser will just eyeball a difficult-to-measure space or even do the wide-arm measurement. The point is, there aren’t any universally applied standards.
What does this mean for sellers and buyers?
Sellers: Avoid providing square footage whenever possible and always add a disclosure
I once represented a client with a $2.5 million home for sale in San Francisco. Against my wishes, the sellers insisted I list the square footage in all of the marketing materials as 3,450 square feet. They showed me a copy of the floor plan and recent drawings from an appraiser. I reluctantly agreed to add the square footage and supplied the appraiser’s drawing and measurements with the property disclosure statements. I added my own disclosure, stating that square footage is not an exact science, that the number should not be relied upon as fact, and that multiple appraisers may measure multiple ways.
We received an offer. The buyer had all of their property inspections, reviewed city reports, and signed off on all the disclosures. Their agent came back when it was time to release the loan and appraiser contingency. The appraisal came in 30 square feet less than the seller’s appraisal.
Because of the discrepancy, the buyers wanted a $25K credit off the purchase price. The home had not gotten any smaller since the buyers first wrote their offer. Yet the buyers felt that the home was misrepresented; that they wrote an offer thinking it was something it was not. The seller ended up having to knock off $25K just to get the deal done. I believe that the buyers still would have written the offer, and for the same price, had we not listed square footage.
Dozens of lawsuits make it to court, and tens of thousands of dollars are spent arguing over as little as 50 square feet. That’s why my advice to sellers is to avoid listing square footage when possible. I know you want everyone to know how big your house or condo is, and you want every last piece of space to be included. However, as in the case of the seller who had to forfeit $25K, doing so can come back to haunt you. Buyers are coming to your home because of its location, price, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, parking, and the pictures and description they read online. If you leave out square footage, they are still going to come.
If you must market your property’s square footage, include a reference for your information, such as an appraiser’s estimation. For example, position it along the lines of “per tax records (or per a recent appraisal), the square footage is approximately xxx.” Also, don’t include illegal spaces, storage space, or the garage in your measurements.
Often times, without mention of square feet in any of the marketing remarks, buyers will turn to city tax records for that information. These numbers often neglect previous renovations, expansions or improvements. In the case of new construction, in some markets, these records are pulled from architectural drawings done by the developer, and submitted to the city before the property is built. This is often considered a “walls out” measurement, meaning the footage includes all of the space to the exterior wall.
As a result, a buyer they may think their potential new condo is 1,600 sq. ft. because the “city says so.” But when the appraiser comes inside the condo to measure, he’s usually using a “walls in” measurement — which often yields a square footage lower than what the architectural drawings state. Depending on the size of the home, the space between those walls can add up.
Buyers: Never take square footage at face value
Buyers want to know the square footage of a home they are interested in. They want some idea of the size of the house they’re serious about. They want to know exactly how much house they’re getting for the money. But these numbers should be used only as a reference point. A buyer should never make their home buying decision based on square the square foot of a home.
There are some situations, such as buying in a larger condo building (especially newer construction with identical finishes), when buyers are particularly interested in the price per square foot. They want to know this in relation to comparable sales. In these and other scenarios, my advice is to take square footage information with a grain of salt and don’t get too hung up on it.
A successful Realtor I worked with in San Francisco used to respond to buyers’ “what is the square footage” question with, “I haven’t measured it. Does the size of the house seem to work for you?” Her point was that a buyer either feels like the space is right or not, and that feeling is more important than a figure that may or may not be real.
Brendon DeSimone is a Realtor® and real estate expert based in San Francisco and New York. He is a contributor to Zillow Blog, has collaborated on multiple real estate books and is often quoted by major media outlets. Follow Brendon on Twitter.
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.
There are quite a few properties in our area that are available.
Please read this carefully, and write(email) (firstname.lastname@example.org) back with any questions or concerns you might have. I have also provided you with information that you will need to protect yourself. So, even if you don't do business with me - you will know the difference between the real deal and a scam so you won't be hurt in the future. That's just the way I like to do business, as I don't like the idea of people being ripped off.
This is the information I will need from you, in order to find you as many homes as possible that will be a good match. Please copy and paste these questions onto an email, and send them back to me as soon as possible.
1. Which city, and what area of the city is of most interest to you?
2. Number of bedrooms, and bathrooms?
3. Approximate size of house and need for basement?
4. One, two or three car garage?
5. School district?
6. What is your affordable monthly payment?
7. How much do you have to put down? (FHA and conventional generally range about 3 to 10%) It is always best to be pre approved. I can put you in touch with a lender familiar with handling your situation.
8. When will you have your down payment available?
9. What is your time frame for purchasing and moving?
10. Please provide your first and last name, as well as your telephone number in case we have any more questions.
A list will be compiled, and emailed to you within 24 to 48 hours for your review. Please be sure to keep a pen and a piece of paper near by when you receive our list, so you can write down the address of the homes that interest you most. We ask you to please not waste your time driving by the property until I verify that the home is still available as active on the MLS. Just send the addresses that are of most interest to you directly back to me.
During showings, if you are married or have a significant other, please bring them with you in order to conserve time. Also, if you have a friend or family member who is in the business, and you want their input - be sure to invite them to the showings as well. We are all in business to make money, and part of doing that is managing our time in the most efficient way possible. We want to accommodate your concerns as well as your friends and family during the first showing, if at all possible. As I am sure you can understand, showing the same property to the same buyer three or four different times because a friend or family member wants to see it as well is not the best use of our time or yours.
Of course, you are under no obligation to buy. I ask that you make a commitment to work with me as a serious buyer. If you are on the fence about buying a home, or are unsure about the process - please let me know.
This is the second page of the Buyer's Agency Contract.>
Notice that it really spells out my duties to you as my client.
MINIMUM BROKERAGE SERVICES AS ADAPTED FROM SECTION 339.780.7 RSMo
Pursuant to Missouri Law, Broker, through its designated broker and/or through one or more affiliated licensees, shall provide at a minimum, the following services:
Accepting delivery of and presenting to the buyer or customer's offers and counteroffers to buy, sell, or lease property that buyer seeks
to purchase or lease;
Assisting the Buyer or Customers in developing, communicating, negotiating, and presenting offers, counteroffers, and notices that
relate to the offers and the counteroffers until the lease or purchase agreement is signed and all contingencies are satisfied or waived;
Answering Buyer or customer questions relating to the offers, counteroffers, notices, and contingencies.
DUTIES AND OBLIGATIONS OF LIMITED AGENCY AS ADAPTED FROM SECTION 339.740 RSMo
1. A licensee representing a buyer or tenant as a buyer's or tenant's agent shall be a limited agent with the following duties and obligations:
To perform the terms of any written agreement made with the client;
To exercise reasonable skill and care for the client;
To promote the interest of the client with the utmost good faith, loyalty, and fidelity, including:
a. Seeking a price and terms which are acceptable to the client, except that the licensee shall not be obligated to seek other properties
while the client is a party to a contract to purchase property or to a lease or letter of intent to lease;
b. Presenting all written offers to and from the client in a timely manner regardless of whether the client is already a party to a
contract to purchase property or is already a party to a contract or a letter of intent to lease;
c. Disclosing to the client adverse material facts actually known or that should have been known by the licensee;
d. Advising the client to obtain expert advice as to material matters about which the licensee knows but the specifics of which are
beyond the expertise of the licensee;
To account in a timely manner for all money and property received;
To comply will all requirements of sections 339.710 to 339.860, subsection 2 of section 339.100, and any rules and regulations
promulgated pursuant to those sections; and
To comply with any applicable federal, state, and local laws, rules, regulations, and ordinances, including fair housing and civil rights
statutes or regulations.
A licensee acting as a buyer's or tenant's agent shall not disclose any confidential information about the client unless disclosure is
required by statute, rule, or regulation or failure to disclose the information would constitute a misrepresentation or unless disclosure is
necessary to defend the affiliated licensee against an action of wrongful conduct in an administrative or judicial proceeding or before a
professional committee. No cause of action for any person shall arise against a licensee acting as a buyer's or tenant's agent for making
any required or permitted disclosure.
A licensee acting as a buyer's or tenant's agent owes no duty or obligation to a customer, except that the licensee shall disclose to any
customer all adverse material facts actually known or that should have been known by the licensee. A buyer's or tenant's agent owes no
duty to conduct an independent investigation of the client's financial condition for the benefit of the customer and owes no duty to independently
verify the accuracy or completeness of statements made by the client or any independent inspector.
A buyer's or tenant's agent may show properties in which the client is interested to other prospective buyers or tenants without breaching any duty or
obligation to the client. This section shall not be construed to prohibit a buyer's or tenant's agent from showing competing buyers or tenants the same property
and from assisting competing buyers or tenants in attempting to purchase or lease a particular property.
A client may agree in writing with a buyer's or tenant's agent that other designated brokers may be retained and compensated as subagents.
Any designated broker acting on the buyer's or tenant's behalf as a subagent shall be a limited agent with the obligations and responsibilities
set forth in subsections 1 to 4 of this section.
DISCLOSED DUALAGENCY AS ADAPTED FROM SECTION 339.750 RSMo
A licensee may act as a dual agent only with the consent of all parties to the transaction. Consent shall be presumed by a written agreement
pursuant to section 339.780.
A dual agent shall be a limited agent for both the seller and buyer or the landlord and tenant and shall have the duties and obligations required by sections
339.730 and 339.740 unless otherwise provided for in this section.
Except as provided in subsections 4 and 5 of this section, a dual agent may disclose any information to one client that the licensee gains
from the other client if the information is material to the transaction unless it is confidential information as defined in section 339.710.
The following information shall not be disclosed by a dual agent without the consent of the client to whom the information pertains:
That a buyer or tenant is willing to pay more than the purchase price or lease rate offered for the property;
That a seller or landlord is willing to accept less than the asking price or lease rate for the property;
What the motivating factors are for any client buying, selling, or leasing the property;
That a client will agree to financing terms other than those offered; and
The terms of any prior offers or counter offers made by any party.
Adual agent shall not disclose to one client any confidential information about the other client unless the disclosure is required by statute, rule or regulation
or failure to disclose the information would constitute a misrepresentation or unless disclosure is necessary to defend the affiliated licensee against an action
of wrongful conduct in an administrative or judicial proceeding or before a professional committee. No cause of action for any person shall arise against a
dual agent for making any required or permitted disclosure. A dual agent does not terminate the dual agency relationship by making any required or
In a dual agency relationship there shall be no imputation of knowledge or information between the client and the dual agent or among
persons within an entity engaged as a dual agent.
I Printed Using Professional Computer Forms Co. On-Line Forms Software 3/08