Incorrect footage of house I purchased.

I purchased a home about 6 months ago. I was thinking of doing improvements to the house and found that the description of the house was 1200 sq ft but when I measured the house it is roughly 24×40 which is only 960 sq ft. Do I have any possible legal recourse? I believe I paid for 1200 sqft. It is even online on Zillow as a 1200 sq ft home.

Asked on June 29, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If you saw the home in person or reasonably had the opportunity to see the home in person (e.g. you were buying a home close enough to where you already lived or worked that a reasonable person would have viewed it in person), then you have no recourse. That is because you would sue based on fraud, or the seller making a material (important) misrepresentation upon which you *reasonably* relied; but if you saw the house and purchased it after seeing it, you would have bought it primarily based on your own first hand knowledge of its size and configuration. It is not reasonable to rely on a written description from someone else when you were able to see and judge it for yourself; therefore, you could not sustain a fraud case.
On the other hand, if you were buying the home sight unseen, such as, for example, due to a job or corporate relocation where you had no opportunity to view it in person, in that case, it would be reasonable to rely on the written description. In that event, overstating the square footage by around 25% would appear to be a material misrepresentation and you may very well have a case for fraud. In that instance, you could sue the seller and potentially recover compensation, such as the difference in value of a 1,200 vs. 960 sq. ft. home.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.