What Realtors Routinely Get Wrong; or,
“How Come There’s No Such Thing as a 2-Season Porch??”

If Realtors routinely confuse the various types of porches . . . I don’t know what chance a layman has.

Perhaps that’s why, as a public service for Twin Cities Realtors, the local MLS has a post describing the differences ” and critically, addressing when to include an enclosed porch in a home’s finished square feet.

According to the Northstar MLS Rules & Regs Department, here are the distinctions:

4-Season Porch/Sunroom

“A 4-season porch is a room that functions as an interior room, but allows you to take in the views of the outdoors year-round. It has permanent heat and is included in the finished square footage of the home.”

3-Season Porch

“A 3-season porch has windows with integrated screen systems and can be used for long periods throughout the year. They can shield you from outdoor elements such as rain, wind, sun and insects, but 3-season porches are not heated. Therefore, it is not a part of finished square footage, but is considered an enclosed space.”

Screen Porch

“Screened porches are a covered porch that has screened openings instead of windows. A screened porch may be less sheltered from the outdoor elements, but still offers protection from the sun and bothersome insects in the summer. Screen porches should not be included in the finished square footage.”

Practicing Conservatism

With that as prelude, here’s a practice pointer (my own, vs. MLS’s):

When in doubt, under bill vs. over bill.

That is, better to call it a 3-season porch than a 4-season, and safer to exclude the porch from finished square feet than to include it.

P.S.: Given how conspicuous a porch (of any type) is, it’s arguable whether ” even if a Seller misstated its attributes ” a Buyer would be entitled to rely on the Seller’s misrepresentation(s).

That’s especially after viewing the home multiple times (likely before making an offer), then subsequently inspecting it once there’s a signed Purchase Agreement.

See also, “Partial Bathroom“; and “Proposal: ┬áthe Fractional Kitchen.”

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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