Measuring Square Footage

When purchasing a condo it is important to understand the size of the living space and where you may need to sacrifice on space and convenience.  Urban living usually requires a downsizing in space especially for someone coming from a house in the suburbs.  There are multiple methods utilized when measuring and reporting the size of properties and it is important that you understand exactly what you are purchasing.

If you can visit an already constructed property and see for yourself if it works for you then there is no problem.  However if the property is under construction and you are just looking at a plan on a piece of paper it becomes a little more complicated.

Let’s take for example the currently under construction Pacific Gate luxury condominium building by Bosa at Broadway and Pacific Highway in downtown San Diego.  They have beautiful plans and amazing electronic devices that show you the floor plans and views.  They offer you square footage figures that are great.  However what they do not tell you is that these figures are measured from the outermost portion of the building and do not accurately indicate the usable space of the property.  They offer a variety of floor plans, but there are basically six luxury floor plans and four estate floor plans.  On all of these plans the usable square footage is considerably less than the marketed and published square footage.  For example the U floor plan which is an estate lot is advertised at 2,608 square feet, which seems quite comfortable for the layout as depicted on the floor plan.  However the condominium plan lists that this property is actually only 2,390 square feet, a difference of 218 square feet!  In most homes that is the equivalent of a quite large bedroom.

It appears that Bosa, like many other developers, is using standard methods of measuring square footage.   When you read in detail their purchase agreement for Pacific Gate, they make it very clear that you are agreeing to purchase a condo that is similar to the plan advertised but that you are not buying and they are not guaranteeing any specific square footage.  This clause is probably a measure to shield themselves from any liability regarding square footage representations in their marketing materials in response to the class action lawsuit that they settled on this very subject in 2014.  The lawsuit claimed that Bosa had mislead buyers regarding the square footage of properties that they sold in nine different buildings, seven of which are located in downtown San Diego.

The bottom line is that you need to know what you are purchasing and that you ensure that any property that you are considering purchasing is a size that is appropriate for you.