When Realtors lie

The listing agent for 11 Circle Drive claims the house is 5,100 square feet, and lists “tax card” as the source of that number.

The tax card itself shows 3,624.

I think the Greenwich Association of Realtors should stop wasting time naming each other to their “Hall of fame” that Walt has discovered and devote their energies instead to creating a new square footage calculation source for agents like this to cite: The “POOMA” measurement, for “Pulled Out Of My Ass”.

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32 responses to “When Realtors lie

  1. Anonymous

    Wouldn’t it be just fantastic if realtors could get together and decide on some uniform information for listings? Isn’t that GAR outfit interested in doing something like that? How about this: ” House for sale with XXX square feet on the first two floors and an additional XXX square feet in the basement. Plus a garage of XXXsquare feet.” Spell it all out and earn that 5% commission. I cannot wait for that commission to bite the dust. 1%. Maybe 2% if realtors stop lying. Christopher Fountain and Mickster and a few others are the only ones who don’t lie.

  2. Mickster

    Please refer to realtor comments on listing to explain. This is one lady who doesn’t mess around or lie.

    • That may be true but how many people who search this address will come across HER listing with the addendum 1,476 ON LOWER LEVEL.

      If you happen upon Zillow or Trulia, which I imagine most people do first when Googling, they won’t see this comment.

      • pulled up in OG

        It’s there, on both.

        • Great. I’m happy to stand corrected. I didn’t see it but I’ll take your word for it.

        • Chris, It’s funny you should say that because when I was on one of the sites last night, Zillow or Trulia, there was a box at the top that said something like “text changed 47 minutes ago”. I can’t remember the exact wording but I did notice it.

          The other issue I have with square footage on a listing that isn’t wholly accurate is that many times real estate sites allow users to search by the parameter “square feet”. Let’s say you want a house over 5k square feet.

          Look, I have no doubt the broker is experienced, professional, excellent at her job, did not in any way shape or form intend to mislead but some of the other commenters have made valid points – that square footage needs to be broken down into above and below ground rather than stated as a whole. There could be a new category on listings:
          AB SF
          BG SF
          Easy. Done. No confusion.

  3. Greenwich Gal

    I know that lady. Julianne Ward is a quality person. She would never deceive.

  4. Walt

    Dude –

    When a “professional” real estate agent lies, does that help or hurt their Greenwich Realtor Hall of Fame™ qualifications? Is it viewed as a bad thing, like using steroids in baseball, or a good thing, like stealing lots of bases? I am going with good thing.

    Who decides who gets in the Greenwich Realtor Hall of Fame™? Is it a secret process, like everything dirt peddlers do, or do they at least pretend to be fair about it? If you are a Hall of Famer do you get a bigger commission….well that’s a dumb question. If that happened, you WOULD ALL BE HALL OF FAMERS!!

    Do you get to put GRHOF™ on your business card? How many GRHOF™ are there?

    This is such a FASCINATING TOPIC!! I may have more questions!
    Your Pal,

  5. Anonymous

    Realtor comments for 11 circle listing on agent’s own web site clarify perfectly.
    However her listing for 34 Lenox is completely misleading. 5400 square feet on a .17 lot. That can’t be true. Just be straight forward is all we are saying.

    • The listing supplied to the Multiple Listing Service, upon which other agents rely, is deceptive. If she has different information on her own personal website, then shame on her doubly.

      Lots of agents include the basement in their calculation, but don’t cite the official tax code as the source of that measurement. In law, a direct citation to an authority is a guarantee, on your word, that if the reader checks the citation he will find a case directly on point. If the writer intends to mean a legal principle is similar to the one he’s championing, or contrary to, there are appropriate citation marks for that. If he cites case as directly on point and it is not, he has violated his oath, and will be punished, often.
      Except in the case of Ct Supreme Court justices – their opinion invalidating Greenwich’s residential beach restriction was the most deceitful use of direct citations I’ve ever read. They should all go on to real estate careers.

  6. Anonymous

    Most of the top realtors wouldn’t be the top realtors if they didn’t lie. Let’s be honest It’s hard selling houses, everyone wants to get a “deal” on their house purchase. So instead of earning it the honest way why not just trick clients into believing they are getting value. By the time they figure it out it will be too late anyway and they won’t have any recourse…sorry sucka!!

  7. Anonymous

    It would be great if they made fabricating square footage on a house a crime; hell it is fraud. It would be kind of funny to see some of these realtors get escorted out of their offices by police for trying to deceive buyers.

    • Anonymous

      Get. Your. Own. Agent. (Dumbass)

      • Anonymous

        Tax card is pretty reliable for verifying this info no? Outside of having an architect remeasure the whole house what else can you rely on?

        • Anonymous

          Town tax cards often wrong. Just had assessor visit, tax card had an extra 1/2 bath that doesnt exist in my house. (Shame on me for not noticing sooner.) And my family member in another town has his tax card off (in his favor) by 1 bedroom and one bathroom.

          • Tax cards can be wildly off, no question. But again, the issue here is that the agent cited the tax card as proof of the truth of her assertion that the listing had 5,100 sq. ft. when in fact, it does not.
            Pants on fire.

  8. Anonymous

    Many times it’s the seller that demands tweaking the square feet to their advantage. And the realtor works for them. JW is a fair, hardworking agent.

    • If a seller requests that an agent lie to prospective buyers and the agent complies, only in the real estate world can that be considered “proper representation”. JW may be hardworking, and she’s certainly no more guilty of misrepresenting the square footage of her listings than many of her peers, but her citing the tax card as the source of that measurement goes beyond “mere puffery” – in fact, it’s an outright lie.

  9. Mickster

    Here’s a suggestion that will shut you all up. Let’s have an assessors firm go to each house and measure the living space (heated) and have the Town tax accordingly. Then us realtors will use that number in our listings from the taxcard.

    • Anonymous

      So Mickster, I think you are saying it is ok to knowingly deceive, even if the agent knows the data is blatantly incorrect.

      • Mickster

        Never said that, ever. Actually, what the Greenwich Association of Realtors should do is to force us all to only report the taxable square footage. No more confusion.
        It’s ridiculous right now. When I’m looking at comps I have go to the tax card and compare that to the listing square footage to see what’s being counted to make an accurate comparison.

  10. AJ

    Lied or laid? Either way . . .

  11. Noobie

    Is it ok to include attached garage space in the total sqr footage?

    • If you’re calculating expansion room for FAR restrictions, you need to know the square footage of structures like the garage, but obviously, for determining actual living space, you’d want that broken out.

      • Anonymous

        don’t forget accessory (detached) structures in total sq. ft. calcs, such as a permitted shed (which i found out is included in far calcs). turned out what i thought was a shed was actually a 1 car detached garage that had been on city map (full permit) back in the 50’s or thereabouts!