A house that sounds roomy and spacious online may unquestionably have 800 of its total square feet contained in a four-foot-tall dirt-floor basement. What’s up with that? In cities like Washington DC, homebuyers are often tumbled well-nigh the square footage discrepancy between what’s listed and what they see on tour.
So why can square footage information be misleading? It turns out the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) guidelines on how to summate a home’s square footage may be considered the standard, but there are no official laws that govern this process. Since the rules aren’t governed, some listing teachers just post their weightier guess on a home’s square footage. As a result, buyers and their teachers often have to investigate. In addition, some Multiple Listing Services (MLS) report all finished and unfinished square footage of a house as a single number, subtracting to the confusion.
If you love a home, does it matter if the 2,000 square foot charmer turns out to be 1,600 square feet? When it comes time for you to sell, 400 fewer feet in measurement can impact the price substantially, since square footage is used to determine a home’s market value. Read on to learn how to summate the square footage of a house.
Understanding how the square footage of a house is measured
To understand how the square footage of a house is measured, start by referring to your city’s towers department records. Many municipality and county records are now misogynist online, which makes getting this information much easier than it used to be. Some updates – like unpermitted remodeling – may not be reflected in the records, but it will still provide a good baseline estimate.
Then, familiarize yourself with vital ANSI guidelines for gingerly square footage for single-family homes. Practices can vary slightly from market to market, but these rules wield to most areas in the country:
- Below-grade spaces (basements, dens, etc.) do not usually count toward a house’s square footage. Even a finished vault oftentimes can’t be counted toward a home’s Gross Living Zone (GLA), but it can be noted separately in the listing’s total area. More on this below.
- The ANSI method specifies measuring from the exterior of the house, but the wall width is not usually subtracted to worth for very living space.
- Stairways and closet areas are included in the house’s square footage length.
- Finished scalp square footage is included if an zone has at least seven minimum feet of clearance.
- Covered, enclosed porches can only be included if heated and using the same system as the rest of the house.
- Garages, pool houses, guest houses, or any rooms that require you to leave the finished zone of the main house to proceeds wangle are not counted in the square footage of a house.
How to summate the square footage of a house: Three steps to follow
As a proprietrix it can be helpful to know how to summate the square footage of a house yourself – just multiply the length and width of all workable rooms in the home. All you’ll need to get started is a 100 sq ft tape measure, some graph paper, and a pencil.
1. Assign a unit of measure
Assign a unit of measure to each square on the paper (ex. 12 inches or a foot) and measure to the nearest tenth of a foot.
2. Pick a wall
Pick a wall and uncork measuring the distance, making your way virtually the interior perimeter of the house in one direction, then drawing lines therefrom on the graph paper. Keep in mind that although ANSI guidelines specify measuring the exterior walls, measuring from the inside will requite you a largest idea of the very livable area.
3. Look at your floor plan
Lastly, go when over your floor plan, multiply the rectangular areas, and add them all up to get your final number. If your numbering includes an zone that is not permissible, don’t forget to subtract it out.
Does a vault count as square footage?
As a unstipulated rule of thumb, basements usually do not count towards the square footage of a house. For a vault to increase a home’s square footage, it must meet unrepealable criteria to be considered livable space, and such criteria can vary between states. Your local county assessor’s office determines whether appraisers can segregate what is considered square footage towards a home’s Gross Living Area. Unelevated we highlight some of the most worldwide criteria a vault may have to meet to be included in your home’s total square footage.
- A portion of the vault is above-ground – Basements that are 100% unelevated ground usually do not count towards the square footage of a house.
- The vault is finished – Flooring, walls, lighting, and other features must be similar to the main living areas of a house.
- The vault is heated and conditioned – You cannot use a space heater to heat up a basement.
- The vault has legal ingress or egress – To worth for safety, a legal escape point is necessary in specimen a fire breaks out. This could be an egress window or walkout door that leads to the outside.
Get in touch with a real manor agent or appraiser to weightier understand if your vault can be counted towards the square footage of your home.
A final word on square footage
Be enlightened that condominiums have fewer established rules and no ANSI guidelines. To start, you can visit your city’s towers department and ask them to pull the home’s plans and permits for the property; all builders are required to include square footage for each unit. If that info is nonflexible for you to get, you may want to rent an appraiser. If you’re a seller, it’s weightier to pay an appraiser to provide a square footage assessment, so your listing is as well-judged as possible. Finally, consult an agent. Teachers usually see dozens of homes a week and have a pretty good spatial sense, and can often requite you a ballpark estimate of any home in question.
Finally, remember that while square footage is important to your home value, don’t focus on it at the expense of style or your emotional response. Do you like the diamond and floor plan? How well-nigh the location? Are there rooms you veritably love? Numbers are important, but they are no substitute for the intangibles that make a house finger like a home.