Appraisers should measure square-footage

Michael Kayem is a Realtor with Re/max Estate Properties serving Culver City and the Westside since 2001.m

Dear Michael: I signed a listing agreement, but am having second thoughts about selling. How do I can- cel my listing? And will it cost me anything?

Answer: Since the seller’s cooperation is required to sell the house, most agents won’t give a seller a difficult time when canceling. Your listing agents only hope is that when you do later decide to sell your home, you will get back in touch with him/her. The cancelation agreement states that you cannot sell the home during the original length of the listing period, so if you attempt to put it back on the market during the contracted listing period using another agent, your original agent will attempt to enforce his/her contract to get paid his/her commission. In all fairness, if you’re listing agent performed his/her duties diligently, he/she should be chosen to re-list your home when you do decide to put it back on the market.

Dear Michael: We put our home up for sale and the square footage our agent listed is not accurate! Is a garage usually consid- ered in the square footage of a home? It is attached to the home…

Answer: Only livable space is factored in the square footage of a home. Although your garage is attached to your home, it is not considered part of the home’s square footage. Calculating the square footage of a home is not as easy as it sounds. Neither real estate agents nor homeowners should attempt this calculation (at least not if you want a reliable figure). Rarely are houses perfectly square, which is one reason for the difficulty. Appraisers map out the house on a piece of graph paper, calculate all the edges, come up with all the areas and then add them all together. Plus, there are other intricate rules. If there has been an addition to the house and the owner did not receive a building permit, then that section of the house may not be admissible as part of the square footage. The same with attic and basement conversions, lofts, and so on. It is best to rely on a licensed appraiser to calculate the square footage of a house. When a home’s square footage is advertised, the figure usually comes from the assessor, which goes as far back as when the builder completed the home. Homeowners and real estate agents should not calculate square footage. Best leave it to the expert to calculate the square footage and have one less liability to worry about.

Dear Michael: We are buying a home and close escrow next week. The seller may not be out in time. What can we do to make sure the house is vacant when we close escrow?

Answer: You will need to delay the close of escrow until the seller is out. If the delay is only for a few days then you will have to alter your moving plans. If the seller is not out after a week, then you be entitled to damages. Communication between the seller and your realtor is key. Your realtor needs to stay on top of the situation. You may have to rent a hotel room or move in with friends or family until the seller moves out. If the delay drags on, then you have the option to evict the seller. But this could take some time. Cancelling escrow is another option but will be costly. If you decide to cancel, I suggest you consult with a real estate attorney. Michael Kayem is a Real- tor with Re/max estate properties serving Culver City and the Westside since 2001.

You can contact Michael with your questions at (310) 390-3337 or e-mail them to him at: