Square footage surprise
When it comes to buying a new home, square footage can play a big role in a sale. But you may not always be getting the square footage you think you're paying for.
Melody and Don Williams bought their Mission home in 2009. At the time they were told it was just over 2,000 square feet. So they were surprised to see a listing in their neighbourhood for a similar sized home with significantly more rooms.
"I thought, how can they have all of that, when their house is only this much larger than ours," said Melody Williams.
A check with city hall turned up some disturbing news. According to the builder, the Williams' 2,032-square-foot home was really only 1,786 square feet, a difference of 246 square feet.
"I'm not very happy about the amount that I paid for the house…I would have offered a lower amount and stuck to my guns on it," said Don Williams.
The Williams filed a complaint with the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board. The president of the board, Sukh Sidhu, says realtors have a professional obligation to get the facts right.
"The realtors are supposed to measure the house and provide correct information. I cannot discuss why there is a difference of square footage," said Sidhu.
When it comes to measuring square footage, realtors are supposed to use the same guidelines as set out by the Real Estate Council of B.C.
CTV News tried to talk to the listing realtor, Rob Tizzard of Remax, to see how he measured the home. But Tizzard, the self-proclaimed "real estate wizard," did not respond to calls or emails. The Real Estate Board investigated the Williamses' case and said it could find no evidence of misconduct.
The board sent a letter of caution to Tizzard, and told the Williams to go to court if they are still not satisfied.
But the problem is that going to court will be expensive for the Williams and the sales contract they signed reads "all measurements, room sizes, square footage and lot size are approximate."
In fact, all MLS listings carry a similar disclaimer.
"We just thought people should be aware of this, that you're not necessarily getting what you're paying for and there doesn't appear to be any accountability," said Don Williams.
The Williams also filed a formal complaint with the Real Estate Council of B.C., which investigates disputes with realtors. They don't expect to hear back for at least a month.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Lynda Steele