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Square footage in home listings
Old 11-12-2009, 12:41 PM   #1
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Square footage in home listings

Can someone tell me, is there a standard for listing square footage for a home when buying or selling?

For example, is it finished square feet, total square feet, feet above ground? Does the listing method vary by locale?

Thanks!
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Old 11-12-2009, 12:56 PM   #2
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It varies by locale. In some regions where I have lived, it can only include the part of the house with heating and/or air conditioning. In other regions, the unfinished, unheated attached garage can be included. Your realtor will know how it is done in your area.

Sometimes sellers include a disclaimer in their ads, saying that the buyer should verify square footages. There are two doors on the outside of my house that lead to small toolshed closets that do not connect actually with the interior. Although it was advertised as 1598 square feet when I bought it, the appraisor for the mortgage company subtracted out the toolshed closets so officially it is 1558 square feet.

The square footage computations are one reason why so many people convert attached garages to rec rooms (in my area, where they aren't included unless they are heated and cooled). I don't know about basements, but have noticed square footages computed both ways in houses with basements in Missouri that I have been looking at.
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Old 11-12-2009, 03:17 PM   #3
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Up here in the north (Sk, Canada), square footage doesn't count the basement or any attached garages. In the case of a four-level split, the top 3 levels are counted but the bottom-most (basement) isn't.

In general it would include all other heated/air conditioned areas of the house.
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Old 11-12-2009, 03:17 PM   #4
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As far as the Appraisal Institute and guides for most appraisers the Sq. Ft. of a house is that area that is living area under 'heat or air'. Garage's don't count in the sq. footage unless they have been enclosed and have heat and air. That is not to say that decks and garages and such do not add to the value of a property, but for sq. footage it is the 'climate controlled area' that counts. That means that if you have a swimming pool in the interior of a home, and it is exposed to the elements it does not count as part of the square footage. I never appraised a property with an enclosed air conditioned pool so I am not real sure how that would be handled. My guess is it would not be considered 'living space' and would not be counted. Second guess is, the house is most likely so big it does not make much difference.

Take a look here: http://www.ncrec.state.nc.us/publica...tins/sqft.html
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Old 11-15-2009, 11:51 AM   #5
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In my area the local county assessor's office -- the folks that figure out what I owe them in property taxes -- have their own calculation of sqft. When I bought my house the assessor's sqft was lower than the sellers' sqft, so when I offered I based my offer on the assessor's sqft measurement.

Point being that perhaps you have a similar govt agency that calculates sqft for you and they would at least probably be impartial and consistent in measuring.

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Old 11-15-2009, 05:36 PM   #6
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Thanks all! Who would have thought it varies by area! Seems this should be something that is standardized, but I did get what I needed!
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Old 11-15-2009, 05:53 PM   #7
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From an appraisers stand point it is pretty much standardized. However, when you begin to work with appraisal districts i.e. property taxes, then all bets are off. Many times the rules are set by the state governments. I think Texas just passed a law to attempt to standardise appraisal districts practices for all counties.
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