The Square Footage Question(s)…

Lately, I have received a lot of inquiries about square footage.  Here are some examples:

  • “Does my garage count in my home’s square footage?  It’s huge!” 
  • “Can I count my screened-in porch in the square footage?”
  • “I finished out my garage and it’s now used as a bedroom.  Can I count that?”
  • “Does my gigantic walk-in closet count?
  • etc…

I have had a lot of these questions myself in the past.  The following article was taken from The Appraisal IQ website where there are tons of helpful Austin real estate and appraisal resources.  Let me know if you have any questions about your property and I will do my best to get you some answers.  Enjoy!  

When Measuring a House, What Counts?

Not all of the space under your roof counts as living space from an appraiser’s perspective. Some spaces don’t count towards the measured square footage of a home.

What Do Appraisers INCLUDE in the Square Footage of a House?

  • Interior spaces that are conditioned spaces (heated, and cooled, if necessary) such as bedrooms, bathroom and living rooms.
  • Enclosed patios that are heated and (if the rest of the house is) air-conditioned and are similar in workmanship (quality) as the rest of the home.
  • Finished attic space as long as it also conforms to the original structure (can’t just add carpet and call it a bedroom).
  • Below grade rooms only when typical for the market (for example: a home built on a sloping lot).
  • All of the interior closets, entries, utility rooms, unless they meet the exclusion descriptions, below.

What do Appraisers EXCLUDE in the Square Footage of a House?

Some common spaces are not considered to be living space and are therefore not included when calculating the square footage of a house:
  • Screened patios (and open ones as well).
  • Garages, unless they have been converted to living space. Read The Value of a Garage Conversion.
  • Unfinished areas, regardless of the level in the home.
  • 2nd floor airspace (for example: open space, above an entry, or a vaulted room)
  • The open area above a stairway on the second floor.
  • Basements.
  • Detached living space such as an office in a extra building on the property – these spaces are measured separately.
  • Spaces that are accessed only by traversing non-living space, like an enclosed storage area of a garage.
These spaces may be determined to add value to the property upon analysis of the comparable properties in an area, but they are not included in the square footage.
Some spaces, such as a finished basement, may add value, but at a lesser rate than other finished (above-grade) spaces. This is determined on a case-by-case basis, based on the quality of the space and how the market has recently responded to similar homes.

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