A New York Times article tells the story of Hong Kong multimillionaire Hiroshi Horiike, whose $US12.25 million Malibu manor is allegedly “missing” a third of its square footage.
Advertised for 15,000 square feet by real estate brokerage firm Coldwell Banker, official county records say that the home actually has less than 10,000 square feet. Horiike, who bought the home in 2007, is suing Coldwell, looking for $US5 million in damages.
It’s one example of a series of instances where square footage provided by the city and the real estate agent don’t match up.
But this problem isn’t new. Not every appraiser will get the same measurement, and what they choose to measure as livable space can vary, either based on city requirements or the shape of the property.
“I’ve seen instances where people wanted to include the square footage of stairs leading to the second story,” Dennis B. Ellman, a real estate lawyer in California, told the Times.
In the case of Horiike’s home, a barbecue area and the garage were included in the measurement which the architect stated in a deposition, according to the Times.
For those scoffing at a millionaire who’s missing 5,000 square feet of house, consider that the size of the home isn’t only about bragging rights — it can influence property taxes, the price of contracting jobs, and the ultimate price when deciding to sell.
“I don’t love my house,” Horiike told the Times. “It has become a bad dream. It has broken my heart and broke my dream about American people. Before, I thought everything here is beautiful. And perfect.”
Buyer beware. You can read the full New York Times article here.
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