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Ask Curbed: Square Footage SizeChopping

[Hey, it's Ask Curbed, the feature where you email us questions and we throw them open to the great wide Curbed readership for our mutual edification.]

A Curbed reader emails:

Could you please address the very problematic issue of measuring square footage? I've been looking to purchase a one-bedroom in Manhattan for awhile, and the square footage is usually greatly overstated, as you probably know well. How can realtors get away with advertising 800 square feet, when the simple calculation of floor plan space will often yield 500, for example?An excellent question, and one that just so happens to jibe with another recently received reader email:You guys should do a story about how brokers, especially recently have been overexaggerating the size of residential apartments as part of their marketing effort. lt seem to be running wild, especially in the last year. And these aren't rounding errors. In the case of some cookie-cutter one-bedrooms we could be talking about exaggerations of greater than 10% of actual size. I know some houses got into trouble a few years ago by over-promising square footage, and then covered their asses by using flexible terms prior to stating square footage such as "approximately" and "about." However, they seem to be at it again, and worse than ever before as those terms are now providing a protective shield that effectively allows brokers to outright lie about size. And you thought that loss factor was already bad enough.So, folks, whattya think? Fair or unfair? Responses and examples in the comments or to tips@curbed.com, please. Good examples of size chopping may be enshrined in a new Curbed featured called—wait for it—SizeChopper.