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How to Read the MLS Property Report--A Guide for Charlotte NC Home Buyers (Part 3)

How to Read the MLS Property Report—A Guide for Charlotte NC Home Buyers (Part 3)

If you are a Charlotte NC home buyer, you will want to understand the wealth of information you can get from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) property reports that your real estate agent gives you.  This guide will lead you through a property report and make you a better-informed home buyer.  Part 1 covered the basic property information found at the top of the report.  Part 2 addressed what you should know and what you should investigate if the report indicates that the property is subject to a Home Owners  Association (HOA).

How to Read the MLS Property Report—A Guide for Charlotte NC Home Buyers (Part 1)

How to Read the MLS Property Report—A Guide for Charlotte NC Home Buyers (Part 2)

Part 3 of this guide covers the section of the MLS property report that lists square footage of the home.  If you are like most Charlotte NC home buyers, you are interested in the size of the home.  The property report includes a grid showing HLA or heated living area, unheated square footage and additional square footage for five potential levels of the home plus the total square footage in each category.

What is HLA?  It is important to understand how HLA (heated living area) is defined.  HLA includes heated finished living area directly accessible from other living area through a door or by a heated hallway or stairway.  A finished, heated garage is not counted as HLA because it is not living area.  Main, upper, third, and lower level HLA includes above- or on-grade areas.  A tri-level house would have a main level, an upper level, and a lower level, all at or above ground level.

Basement HLA is heated, finished, below-grade living area directly accessible by interior stairs with earth adjacent to any exterior wall on the level.  Sometimes, upscale basement homes where the basement level has the same finishes and ceiling heights as other levels of the homes will be listed as having a lower level rather than a basement level.

What is unheated square footage?  Unheated or unfinished square footage includes square footage directly accessible from other living area through a door or by a heated hallway or stairway.  Enclosed porches, attached garages and unheated sunrooms are examples of unheated square footage.

What is additional square footage?  Additional square footage can include heated, unheated or unfinished space.  It is square footage that is not directly accessible from other living area through a door or by a heated hallway or stairway.  Examples of additional square footage are second living quarters or basement area not directly accessible from the main dwelling.  A detached garage is also additional square footage.

Why is the square footage listed as a range?  Square footage is listed in a range on the MLS report.  This can be very frustrating because the range can be as much as 300 to 500 square feet.  A range is used to report size because of the difficulty of obtaining an accurate number for square footage.  Reporting size in a range prevents misrepresentation of actual numbers.  Generally, the number entered by the listing agent is within 5 to 6% of the top of the range.  In other words, the amount of square footage is much closer to the top of the range in the report than to the bottom of the range.

Want to know more about buying and selling real estate in Charlotte NC?  Visit www.CarolinaSmallTownLiving.com.

Copyright 2011.  Carol Fox.  Allen Tate Realtors.  *How to Read the MLS Property Report—A Guide for Charlotte NC Home Buyers (Part 3)*

Posted: Monday, June 6, 2011 12:35 PM by Carol Fox

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