Saturday, February 12, 2011

Real Estate Law in the News: How Do You Measure "Square Feet"?

Yesterday's New York Times has the fascinating tale of real estate litigation that could turn -- literally -- on the (measuring) tape. 

Christine Haughney reports (here) that Rishi Bhandari discovered, prior to closing, a discrepancy between the actual square footage of the "living area" in his new apartment and the square footage that had been disclosed by the apartment's seller. In his suit against the seller, Bhandari alleges that he is entitled to a purchase price reduction that is proportionate to the "missing" square feet.


Disputes about square footage are not unusual, in part because there is no standardized system for measuring the size of a home. What is unusual, though, is for such a dispute to go to trial, since most parties opt to settle such disputes out-of-court.


Bhandari's case highlights one reason that each party to a real estate transaction is wise to involve a Realtor in the process: a Realtor can provide the insight and guidance of an experienced professional on questions which can (or should) affect the purchase price -- and which may not be readily apparent to the untrained eye.