Birmingham Alabama MLS Adds Square Foot Option to Listings

The Birmingham Alabama MLS (Multiple Listing Service) has recently added an option for Realtors to list GLA (gross living area) for their listings.  The new feature will go live on August 2, 2010.  Realtors are given an option of entering GLA data obtained from an appraiser, building plans, or tax records.

The first two sources are reliable, however tax records can be tricky in our area.  I have found that tax records are most accurate with one level homes that are either on a slab, crawlspace,  or that may have some unfinished basement.  It is less accurate with homes that have a second story and/or finished area in the basement.  These areas are difficult to determine without going into the home.  To complicate matters, the county is not notified of some improvements, making their records potentially inaccurate.

If a previous appraisal or plans are not available I suggest the realtor obtain the services of a qualified appraiser to measure their listing so they can present the most accurate information possible.  There are standards for measuring homes that have guidelines for what is counted as livable space and what is not.  The appraiser you choose should be familiar with these.  I offer this service to all Realtors in the Birmingham, Alabama area.  The fee is based on the size of the home and in addition to getting the square footage information you also get a floor plan sketch with location of rooms.  This sketch can be included in your listing.  A more detailed drawing is available for a slightly higher fee if this is desired.

My question to all Realtors is this: would you be interested in getting accurate GLA of your home to provide to your buyers and make your listings stand out by having a sketch of the home?  If you have any questions please give me a call at 205-243-9304 and I would be happy to answer them for you.


  1. I started my appraisal career in Atlanta GA. At the time the MLS did not list the GLA of homes. I now work a few hours south of Atlanta and my two local MLS both show the GLA for homes. It is interesting to see the difference in attitudes in the two markets: The ATL market never talked about sq.ft. or cost per sq.ft. and the market I am in now is absolutely obsessed with cost per sq.ft and the GLA of homes. It would be interesting to see if the attitudes toward GLA change in your market once the MLS starts to show this information.

    • I’ll keep an eye that. Realtors are typically very cautious about the GLA, however I think it is very important because I have talked to homeowners who are very surprised at the square footage I report on my appraisal. It seems maybe they were “informally” quoted an amount that is totally different than what I measure. However it happens, I think it can’t hurt to disclose this if it is from a reliable source.

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