Townhouse on 6500 ACRES? Non-Existing School Distirct? Caveat Emptor Baby,Caveat Emptor

As I was doing a search for houses within a certain elementary school district the other day, I thought for fun I would see how many listings had a certain magnet school as the districted elementary school.  For those of you that don’t know, the school I am talking about is one that you can only get into by lottery.  So, in other words, there should be NO houses in all of Fayette County that claim to be in this school’s district.

The sad news is that there are 5 listings that claim to be in a school district that does not exist.  I see stuff like this all the time.  From wrong neighborhood names to wrong school distircts….everyday.  My personal favorite data entry mistake was a townhouse in Andover Hills which had a lot that was 6500 ACRES!!  Yep, that agent checked acre rather than square feet as he/she input the info into the MLS.    Another listing had the lot size as being smaller than the first floor of the house.  Then there are the intentionally deceptive ones.  You’ll see this sometimes if a house is close to a more desirable neighborhood.  I once saw a house in Mount Vernon labeled as being in Chevy Chase.  Another one that was in Southpoint was listed as being in Waterford.

I get a good laugh out of some things like that, but the school district thing really bothers me.  See, somebody may still come look at the 6500 acre townhouse and buy it.  It would be obvious that it didn’t really have almost 3 times the amount of land that was last added to the urban service area.  The house with the lot smaller than the square footage of the first floor should also be easy to clear up.  But a school district?  That is something that you can’t tell from looking at the house.

Being a realtor, I know that my clients look to me to give them an answer.  They assume I know what I am talking about.  That is one reason I usually tell them I am not 100% sure about something unless I am 100% sure…….then I go find out for sure.  Not all agents do that.  I can easily see a buyer, especially from out-of-town, ask their agent about the school district, then the agent look at the inaccurate info that the listing agent provided.  School district plays a big role in a lot of people’s real estate decisions.

On the flip side of this is the seller, who may be in a really desirable elementary school district but nobody will ever know it.  That seller may end up sitting on their house longer and possibly selling for less that the full potential due to a simple mistake.

So my message to both buyers and sellers is to verify all the info.  Sellers, make sure the square footage, lot size and school district are correct.  Also see if your house says whether it has a garage or not.  There is a box to check yes or no when an agent does the input.  The default is no.  If an agent misses this, then to anybody who enters having a garage in their search criteria won’t find your house.  To buyers, check all that stuff too.  If you are concerned about square footage, have your agent measure it for you before you make an offer.  To check the school district for any street in Fayette County, go here:  http://www.fcps.net/tools/street-directory.

And oh, I asked about removing this school from the list of schools in Fayette County.  I thought not having it as an option for agents to choose from might just be in the public’s best interest.  I was given a really logical reason for why we have to continue with something that doesn’t make any sense.

Caveat emptor…….cause nobody is really policing all the info that agents put online.

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