Just got a call from USAA this morning. They want to do a full appraisal of my house (which they will pay for) in order to find out if it’s really 4 levels (which it is – a split level downstairs, mid-level, upstairs and a basement) as opposed to a 2 level which the appraiser is claiming. I did a little digging around and looked up my square footage according to the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation. Using their Real Property Search tool I verified the square footage (or what they call “Enclosed Area”) as 2754 sq. ft. On top of that their definition of “Enclosed Area” is

Generally, for residential property, the enclosed area of the dwelling above ground level. The calculation excludes the area of the basement (if any) even if it is finished. For commercial property, this is usually the total area in square feet of the building(s) excluding parking structures and out-buildings.

Now, why Montgomery County has it in their tax card that my house is 1700 sq. ft. I don’t honestly know. But the appraiser is doggedly sticking by his story. What’s sad is that I have a friend who is about 4/10 of a mile from my house who has a 1300 sq. ft. house which he re-financed last October through USAA and the appraisal (which he has a copy of) came out at $443,000! Also, a house sold just two weeks ago about 9/10 of a mile from mine (it’s the same model as my friends — a split foyer style) for $450,000! So even if the appraiser says that my house has only 1700 sq. ft. how can he justify appraising my house at $330,000 when smaller homes less than a mile from me are appraising for and selling for about $450,000? This guy needs to find another line of work because as an appraiser he obviously stinks!