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Lies on the MLS targeted by regulators

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Real Estate Professional | 04 Nov 2014, 09:07 AM Agree 0
It may be your clients telling you inaccurate information to bolster viewings, it may just be a simple mistake – but in both cases you are liable for placing an inaccurate listing.
  • Ali | 05 Nov 2014, 12:02 PM Agree 0
    Perhaps we should a have some rules on how to determine square footage. Every professional i've dealt with has a different way of calculating square footage, some add walls, some do not, some add garage, some do not, some add basements, some do not, etc. Developers have their own set of rules as well.

    It would be nice for a standardized approach to measuring square footage that all relators follow.

    <a href="">Ottawa Real Estate</a>
  • DJ | 05 Nov 2014, 12:07 PM Agree 0
    What ever became of the old system " Buyer needs to verify for himself" -- the reality is: we as agents do not need to provide information to buyers - so why do we mandate that we have to provide specific information e.g. why do we mandate a need to state a homes square footage - the problem is our associations mandating we provide information which opens the door to our assuming liability - If we do not want to provide information and the seller is ok with that then we should be allowed to add the letters "INP" for Information not provided.
  • David | 05 Nov 2014, 12:10 PM Agree 0
    Good point Ali. There should be a standard. TREB makes an attempt at handling this by listing the data source for square footage (measurement, builders plan, seller, etc....)
  • Catherine Ducharme | 05 Nov 2014, 01:19 PM Agree 0
    The age of the building is not always available if the house is over a certain age. To state we can easily verify this information is misleading. MPAC does not always show this information.
  • Jeffrey Joseph, Broker | 05 Nov 2014, 02:25 PM Agree 0
    The only rule in respect to square footage is, there are no rules, however, if a Realtor wants to be
    as accurate as possible, he/she, could quote Gross Floor Area which includes 50% of demising walls
    say in a condominium apartment, 100% of an exterior wall. The same is applicable to a house, be
    it detached, semi-detached or row house, when this number has been provided by an Architect or
    O. L. S. The Floor Plan Makers we engage to plans for marketing purposes, do not include wall
    thicknesses in their measurements, and I call this number, Net Square Footage.

    Builders had a neat trick starting in the '80's, and quoted finished living area, whereby they may have
    had 150-200 square feet finished at the bottom of the stairs leading to the basement, and referred to
    the higher number as 'finished living area'. Of course the only value to that space was the better
    appearance when looking down the stairs.

    Unless they have a drawing, a smart Realtor will not quote square feet when provided by the Owner, be it
    Seller or Lessor.
  • Jeffrey Joseph, Broker | 05 Nov 2014, 02:25 PM Agree 0
  • Fairness | 05 Nov 2014, 05:17 PM Agree 0
    Lawyers verify info for 1000 and agents should do 100 times more verification for 20,000!!!!! Pay Real Estate lawyers more and make agents tour/info guides . Like a car salesman sells a 50,000 car and is lucky too make 1%, he tours, gives knowledge..that would be a fair fee for agents
  • Errol Paulicpulle, Toronto | 05 Nov 2014, 05:35 PM Agree 0
    There is a simple solution to size. Pay the money, get a floor plan done, the measurements are accurate and it will include the square footage. This will take the onus off the Sales Representative (since the measuring was done professionally) and give a very valuable sales and marketing tool.
  • george | 05 Nov 2014, 10:26 PM Agree 0
    ..the day should come when we as realtors charge a flat rate to list a home..We then get a commission if the home is sold. That would solve a lot of issues. Please chime in..
  • Peter Barbati | 06 Nov 2014, 09:13 AM Agree 1
    Let's start with the missleading header for this article. The heading "Lies on the MLS...." carries the connotation that regulators are dealing with intentional lies whereas the column deals with missrepresentations, both intended and accidental. How are we to discuss an issue when the headline is itself missleading?
    Realtors do have an obligation to verify all information on the MLS but an error is not a lie. It is an error. A "lie" is a factual, intentional missrepresentation (when you know that the statement is factually wrong) as opposed to a stupid error (thinking that a double-brick home is less than 10 years old). Lots of incompetent, honest people and very successful liars on this planet, many, unfortunately, are making money from our dues
    If Realtors are to "merely post" information, then we should post what we know to be true and can verify as true and factual. The SELLERS would be required to provide information and warrant the accuracy of the information. That would prevent issues.
    The main problem here, among some others, is that the "competition" clowns want us to work for peanuts while still taking on 100% of the liability and when a listing is scrutinized, the "professional standards" chimps have to justify their fees and will always find an issue with which to strangle a Realtor. Even if the "Seller states that all information regarding room sizes have been provided by the Seller and assumes any and all liability related to the information provided..." still does not protect the Realtor as the "professional standards" people that make a living from your dues will state that the Realtor is obligated to "protect the interests of the Seller". Read your Brokerage contract carefully as you are on the hook even if you do not intentionally do something wrong.
    This is why I do not "merely post" listings.
    P.S. Please forgive any spelling errors.
  • T. S. | 09 Nov 2014, 03:12 PM Agree 0
    No rules for measuring sq ft are needed. Even if there were any, there would be ways to misinterpret them. There are more than enough rules out there and we don't need another one. If information re: sq ft is offered, the best way is to disclose how it was measured and let concerned parties work with it.
  • windsortraveller | 09 Nov 2014, 08:33 PM Agree 0
    I just had an experience with a 'mere posting' from another broker. The district was wrong. The sub-district was wrong. The listing stated 'gas' as the heating fuel; it is in fact electric. It was a condo, they said hydro is included in the common fees; it is not. They said heat was included in the common fees; it is not. The parking places and storage areas are deeded; they had no information on them, not even location numbers. And, of course, they don't care, because they got their $499 (or whatever!) up front to 'post' the listing and they're done as far as they're concerned.
  • MR | 15 Nov 2014, 09:46 PM Agree 0
    When I take a listing I spend $5.00 HST to purchase a floor area report on Propertyline. I am astonished majority of realtors don't do that. Is it too much to spend to obtain reliable information?
  • Rob | 17 Nov 2014, 12:41 PM Agree 0
    I do floor plans but they are not really accurate if want overall square footage. Sq ft usually measured outside walls, floor plans do not count space for inside walls, hallways, stairways, pantrys, closets and bathrooms.
  • Jeffrey Joseph, Broker | 17 Nov 2014, 01:21 PM Agree 0
    When quoting square footage on a listing, if the expression Gross Floor Area (GFA), is used,
    then the reader would know 50% of demising walls, and 100% of exterior walls were used
    in the calculation, just like an Architect or Ontario Land Surveyor would use, say when
    applying for a building permit.

    The Floor Plan Makers we engage only measure from the inside of the walls, thereby creating
    a Net Square Footage.

    Be sure to watch out for the quotation of 'Finished Living Area', which Builders started using in
    the '80's. A finished area at the bottom of the stairs in the basement, basically useless except
    for its visual appeal when looking down the stairs, was added to the GFA of the upstairs, making
    the property look more attractive at the advertised price. Many Realtors are using the expression
    'Finished Living Area' which includes the basement level, and is easily misconstrued when read by
    the uninitiated.

    Jeffrey Joseph, Broker,
    Harvey Kalles Real Estate Ltd, Brokerage,
    Toronto, ON
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