Answer:  When It’s Listed on MLS as a 2-Story

I don’t come across it that often, but I do come across it:  a home listed on MLS that’s miscategorized for “Style.”

Invariably, one of two things is going on:  1) an inexperienced agent didn’t know the difference; or 2) a very experienced knew exactly what they were doing, and “stretched” to represent a smaller home as being bigger.

Which is what I encountered earlier this week — namely, a 1 1/2 story home listed on MLS as being 2 stories.

Realtor Motives

The motivation, of course, is to attract Buyers who want an upper level with the same square feet as the first floor, and without any sloping ceilings — my working definition of a 1.5 story.

Of course, once you’re in the home and can see for yourself, a home either is or isn’t a full two-story.

But that’s the whole point:  you’re already in.

At least some Realtors figure that it’s better to get Buyers in and risk disappointing them, vs. having them skip the home entirely.


In the short run, it doesn’t really fool serious, sophisticated Buyers, who know what they are (and aren’t) looking for — and can tell the difference.

And the practice can boomerang on Sellers, who suddenly face Buyer scrutiny on everything else because they stretched on something so blatant.

In the long run, miscategorizing homes can (subtly) skew reported housing prices, and throw off Realtors and Appraisers trying to determine current housing values.

That’s because, post-sale, when the “wannabe” 2-story gets grouped with the genuine article, the prices of the latter suffer.

Meanwhile, omitting a nicer 1.5 story from its 1.5 story peers leaves that group valued lower, too.

See also, “2-Story Home Listed as 1.5 Story”; “‘More Than 2 Stories?’  Sure Looks Like it to Me”; “Misstating a Home’s Square Feet”; and “Exaggerated Square Footage.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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