Why Knowing the Actual Square Footage is So Important

This past tax appeal season we got to see first-hand how important it is to know the true square footage of a house. In this case, it saved our client over $4,000 per year!

We were hired to do a tax appeal appraisal of a home in the Bryn Mawr section of Lower Merion Township. The homeowner was paying over $15,000 per year in property tax. It was a very straightforward assignment.

So, we inspected and measured the property. Our measurements showed that the house was 2,808 SF.  Not a big house by Main Line standards but, a good size.  The problem was that the assessor’s record and sketch of the house showed that the property was 4,438 SF.  That’s a huge disparity.

After talking with the assessor, we found out that the house had only been measured from the exterior and that the assessor never went inside the house. Had the assessor gained entry to the house they would have seen that a large part of the first floor had ceilings that were actually two stories high.  The assessor assumed that the second floor mirrored the foot print of the first floor.

In this case, knowing the true square footage got our client a 25% reduction in their assessment which translated into over $4,000 per year in savings going forward!

As an Agent, you can’t always rely on what is in the public records. If you ever find yourself questioning the square footage, it’s always best to have the property measured.  The most common lawsuit against real estate agents is for misrepresentation of a property’s square footage.  A simple “footprint” sketch can save you from all sorts of headaches and possibly a law suit.

Most appraisers can provide basic sketches that will give you a good idea of the actual square footage. If you need something more detailed and “professional” there are several services that will do architectural renderings of a property that are great for high-end marketing pieces.


The Coyle Group’s team of Philadelphia Real Estate Appraisers are a leading provider of appraisals for Estate/Probate, Divorce, Bankruptcy, Tax Appeal and Pre-Listing. We also provide “footprint” sketches for determining a more accurate square footage of a property.  If you need a guest speaker at your next sales meeting, please give us a call. We would welcome to opportunity to speak to your group and field any appraisal related questions you may have. For more information please visit our website at www.TheCoyleGroupLLC.com You can also contact The Coyle Group at 215-836-5500 or appraisals@coyleappraisals.com



Main Line WOW!

As an appraisers in the Philadelphia market, we often find ourselves looking at properties on the Main Line.  Every now and then we have an opportunity to visit a property that is truly exceptional.  Below are a couple of photos of a mansion that we were asked to appraise in Bryn Mawr.  The house, although it looks like it’s been there for 80 years or more, is only around 15 years old.  The family and architects that built this residence paid incredible attention to detail.  Every element of the house was perfectly executed, from the stone with elegent limestone accents right down to the slate and copper roofs; and even the courtyard.  The interior finishes and scale of the residence are just as impressive as the exterior.  This is easily on my Philadelphia/Main Line Top 10 List.

   The Coyle Group - ML MansionThe Coyle Group ML Mansion 2


For more information on the valuation of Unique & High Value homes and condominiums in Philadelphia and along the Main Line please visit www.TheCoyleGroupLLC.com .  You may contact The Coyle Group directly at 215.836.5500 or by email appraisals@coyleappraisals.com

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If You Had $1,000,000

Each year I like to take a look at the area to see what $1,000,000 can buy you in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs.  Here’s what I found…

In Philadelphia, $1MM can get you this stylish, luxury Contemporary in Chestnut Hill with 5 bedrooms, 4.5 baths and 4,336 SqFt of living space.  It also gets you a location on corner of Germantown Avenue, not very private.




The search in Bucks County takes us to Buckingham Township, where for $1MM you can have this 5,364SqFt Colonial with 5 bedrooms, 5.5 baths, an in-ground pool, 3 car garage, finished walk-out basement on 2.39 acres.  Not bad!




The million dollar offerings in Delaware County took us to Haverford Township.  There, a cool million can get you this 100-year-old stone residence designed by Fred Bissinger.  It features 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, with 2,597SqFt of living space and an in-ground pool.




 In Montgomery County a $1MM can get you into this nice stone Cape situated on 2.24 acres on the Main Line, in Gladwyne.  The house boasts 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths and approximately 4,369SF of living space.  You also get a three car detached garage and access to the award-winning Lower Merion schools.




 Chester County, offers the most bang for the buck by far!  If you want a little fixer upper you can grab this place in Chadds Ford, a 231 year old farmhouse on 14.9 acres that includes barns, stone walls, a pool and pond.  The main house had 4,539SF, 6 bedrooms and 4.5 baths.  There is also a 3 bedroom 2 bath guest house.  If you happen to have an additional $1.85MM laying around you can also buy the adjacent 56 acre parcel for a little more privacy!