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Square Footage; Perception vs Reality

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by Mike Armentrout
In a recent article that made the rounds on social media, a story was reported that should not be surprising to any appraiser.  A homeowner was seeking legal damages against the realtor who listed her home for the 2007 purchase. Pam Whelan contended "Had I been presented with the more accurate square footage, I could have made a more educated guess on whether or not I wanted to proceed in purchasing the home."  The concluding assumption was that she could not sell the home for as much currently.

We can discuss obvious questions about the listing sources and if an appraisal was done but this reveals something I have had concerns about for a long time.  Can buyers actually perceive how big a home is in real numbers simply from an inspection?  For that matter, can realtors or appraisers even perceive this?  Notice I used the term perceive and not calculate.

I would like to conduct a hypothetical semi-scientific study that consists of 50 typical buyers, 50 loc…