From the Forum – Update Square Footage with city? What is the process?

by Prince Of Petworth December 16, 2015 at 2:10 pm 11 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Rick Sause

Update Square Footage with city? What is the process?

“So I bought a house a little over two years ago and I’m pretty convinced that the square footage that the city has is inaccurate. I have a standard DC rowhouse with two additions, a large one on the first floor and a smaller one on the second that were both done decades ago. I know the base measurements from my (identically designed) neighbors houses (without additions), have measured both spaces, and it seems that I have around 120 sq ft more than the city record/sale listing. Does anyone know the process for getting this updated for when I eventually sell/rent the house? Thanks.”

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  • Anon

    If you aren’t planning on selling/renting right away, I wouldn’t do this as it could affect your property taxes.

  • lizcolleena

    Isn’t that done during an appraisal?
    But keep in mind that property taxes could increase if you do this.

  • dat

    I don’t see any advantage to doing this. Best case, it will just increase your property taxes. Worst case, it will cause attention to some un-permitted expansion.

    When you go to sell, your realtor can put the proper square footage on your listing; it really doesn’t matter if the city records are accurate or not when you’re selling — in fact the vast majority of renovated houses I see listed on redfin/zillow show the wrong square footage (mine included).

  • Anon

    This will only result in you paying higher property taxes next year and there on out. I wouldn’t bother – you can list the actual square footage when it comes to sell/rent.

  • gabeyo

    Yeah what everyone else said. You are just going to pay more taxes.

  • Banananonymous

    I generally disagree with everyone who have commented so far if you think you will ever take out a home equity loan or line. Most of the times lenders do Automated Valuation for these applications, and that would require them to pull sq footage and room breakdowns from the DC Real Property Database and comparing that raw data with recent comps, without a direct inspection. I would go to the municipality building off of Waterfront Metro and talk to the people in the Real Estate office there. Taxes will possibly go up a but, but it could quell headaches in the future.

    • gabeyo

      I’m going to disagree with you because for home equity loans they will actually send an appraiser out who walks through your home and actually see how much space and any additions or changes that have been complete. So if you did any additions the appraiser will calculate the value without raising your taxes.

      • ah

        +1. And if they don’t you can ask them to do so, and correct the inaccuracy in their valuation/appraisal.

        Agree with all others there’s no upside to doing this, unless you have some hyperactive desire for honesty with the city, in which case you should also send them any appraisal that suggests their appraisal is low.

  • textdoc

    Agreed with the other comments. There are lots of real-estate listings that say things like “TAX RECORDS SQUARE FOOTAGE NOT ACCURATE” (which may or may not be the case), and getting the square footage officially increased is only going to result in higher property taxes.

  • Duponter

    I freaked out when I bought my house over the same issuer and my realtor assured me that it doesn’t matter because the appraisal process dictates the value, not whatever nonsense the DC government has in their dated records.

  • DC records say my row house has 1000 square feet MORE than it actually does. Thus my taxes are higher than anyone else on the block of similar houses. I’ve tried fighting it through the mail, but I lost. I think my next move would be to get a DC appraiser out to inspect the place?


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