Oklahoma Supreme Court Makes square footage a material fact

By
Real Estate Agent with Redbud Realty 104556

Is the house 1801SF or 1822SF? Try back Later!The Oklahoma Surpeme Court recently ruled that square footage is a material fact and that a BUYER can RELY on what a real estate agent tells them regarding square footage as a fact. Because of the ruling any lawsuits based on what someone belives is an erroroneous representation of the size will go to a jury trial and not a summary ruling by a judge. This is now the LAW. Therefore quoting square footage incorrectly is considered FRAUD. Since the ruling, as you would expect, the number of lawsuits based on this have increased. If you are on the wrong side of a ruling as a Realtor you also have no E&O insurance since fraud is an exception.

Okay, since the Supreme Court is not going to listen to me, this becomes the only forum I can vent with. Square footage is like The Theory of Evolution. Doesn't mean it is not true, it just means that in science new discovery is ongoing and to stop changing would be to negate the science. We have a website I pay for called REDLINK. I can go there and find all the registered appraisals on a property. Guess what and I knew you would get it on the first try, if there are six appraisals there are six different figures. If it was an exact science they would all be the same, but there has to be a margin of error.

I realize that agents sometimes do stupid things. Our MLS allows an agent to put in a size and say agent measured. This is incredibly stupid, and even I won't do that although I had been certified as an appraiser in a previous life. But my question is this, at what point does a wrong footage constitute fraud.? Is the number 10 feet off, or 25, or 200? I can guess the outcome of all this. Eventually we will be going back to common law based on court decisions that will be constantly changing, and because of that more appeals. Attorneys can now offically party all the time.

I love my state sometimes, but often I despair that our "best and brightest" here are not so bright. In the meantime I now have another addendum to add to contract to try to keep me out of harms way. Our office official policy now is no addendum signed, no contract. But there is always a silver lining to any decision. All those throw them up against the wall agencies who recruit every Tom, Dick, and Jane off the street are going to be in big trouble. Without E&O I hope you have a ton of money in reserve. You are going to need it.    

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Re-Bloggged 5 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Jason Killam 04/10/2010 09:58 PM
  2. Wallace S. Gibson, CPM 04/12/2010 05:35 AM
  3. Donald Bradbury 04/11/2010 08:09 AM
  4. Lenn Harley 04/12/2010 05:48 AM
  5. Shanna Hall 04/18/2010 01:19 PM
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Rainmaker
296,443
Ryan Hukill - Edmond
Realtor
ShowMeOKC Team of Paradigm AdvantEdge

The thing that floors me about this ruling is that it specifically states that we, as agents, are fully responsible for third-party information we use in our listing and marketing, meaning that if the appraiser, county assessor, or builder quote an incorrect square-footage figure, it's not them that's liable... it's us. You and I both know that ten different appraisers would give us ten different figures on any given house, so there IS NO SAFE WAY TO HANDLE THIS. Scary stuff, buddy.

April 15, 2010 10:43 PM
Rainmaker
1,239,528
Charles Stallions
800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl.
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services

You have to love a Judge I guess, about th eonly people that their Mamas don't even like ;0).

April 16, 2010 04:40 PM
Rainmaker
1,359,427
Donna Harris
Realtor, CDPE & ASP - Hill Country Lakeway Austin
Regent Property Group

Why can you not use a documented number and say "per tax records", "per previous appraisal", "per builder's plan"... as long as you state where you got the number, you as the agent should be covered.

April 18, 2010 01:40 PM
Anonymous #53
Anonymous
Dawn Kennedy

I saw many posts that said just use per tax records or per previous appraisal- unfortunately the ruling states that this does not relieve the REALTOR of liability for what is entered into the MLS. As Ryan pointed out the REALTOR is now liable for the third party information. The opinion, if I recall, specifically stated that disclaimers such as "deemed reliable but not guaranteed" did not negate the REALTOR's liability for the third party data. This is truly a no-win situation for the REALTOR- if he/she enters square footage or hands out an MLS hot sheet with it listed on the sheet they are taking on the responsibility of its accuracy and any legal claims that ensue -if he/she doesn't enter square footage and removes it from the hot sheet then they risk customer/client perception that the REALTOR is no longer the best source of information in a real estate transaction.

 

 

May 25, 2010 11:54 PM
Rainmaker
160,950
Ryan Case
877-828-0710
SCA Real Estate

I just wrote a blog post on the importance of square footage in the MLS

http://activerain.com/blogsview/1904462/inputting-square-footage-isn-t-mandatory-with-your-mls-you-re-joking-right-

 

October 09, 2010 11:56 AM
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Joe Pryor

REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties
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