How Many Agents Exaggerate Square Footage in the MLS?

by Chicago Agent

Measurement errors of any kind could land you in court, especially after Midwest Real Estate Data ruled that not filling out the approximate square footage field in a listing was against its rules. However, many agents still, whether on purpose or erroneously, get the approximate square footage wrong in their listings.

Before the rule was in place, 29 percent of agents listed their square footage as more than what it actually measures, compared to 21 percent after. But agents have become more honest – 4 percent listed the exact square footage in the MLS from 2010 through 2012, compared to 15 percent in 2013.

There is one caveat – to avoid filling out the square footage field, agents can enter “0” instead. Before this rule was in place, 40 percent of agents would leave the field blank or put “0;” now, it seems, 50 percent of agents will enter “0” to get around this. But if you don’t have the square footage, try downloading an app like RoomScan, that can give you an approximate square footage without a tape measure.

Click on the image below for more perspective!

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  • Jeff Lasky, MRED says:

    MRED’s numbers are significantly different that those presented. This may have to do with the small sample size that was used in the article – only 234 Chicago properties. This represents less than 1% of MRED’s Chicago listings.

    If one were to look at the entire MRED database for the city of Chicago you would find more than 34,000 listings, 80% of which contain a square footage entry.

    MRED understands the benefit of collecting square footage. However, we also respect the liability concerns of those companies that instruct their agents to enter zero in this field.

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