A house that sounds spacious and spacious online may have as much as 800 of its total square feet in a four-foot-tall basement. What about that? In cities like Washington DC, homebuyers are often confused about the difference in square footage between what is listed and what they see on tour.

So why can square footage information be misleading? As it turns out, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) guidelines for calculating a home’s square footage can be considered the standard, but there are no official laws governing this process. Because the rules aren’t mastered, some real estate agents place their best estimate on a home’s square footage. As a result, buyers and their agents often have to investigate. In addition, some reports from Multiple Listing Services (MLS) all finished and unfinished square meters of a house as a single number, adding to the confusion.

If you love a home, does it matter if the 2000 square foot charmer turns out to be 1600 square feet? When it comes time to sell, 400 feet less measured can significantly affect the price as square footage is used to set a price. market value of the house. Read on to learn how to calculate the square footage of a home.

Understanding how the square footage of a home is measured

To understand how a home’s square footage is measured, start by consulting your city’s building administration. Many city and county records are now available online, making obtaining this information much easier than it used to be. Some updates, such as unauthorized rebuilds, may not show up in the records, but it will still provide a good base estimate.

Then familiarize yourself with basic ANSI Guidelines for calculating square meters for single-family houses. Practices may vary slightly from market to market, but these rules apply to most areas in the country:

  • Spaces below the level (basements, dens, etc.) usually do not count towards the square footage of a house. Even a completed basement can often not count towards the gross living area (GLA) of a house, but it can be listed separately in the total area of ​​the listing. More about this below.
  • The ANSI method specifies measuring from the outside of the house, but wall width is usually not subtracted to account for the actual living space.
  • Stairs and closet spaces are included in the square footage of the house.
  • Finished square footage in the attic is included if an area has a minimum of seven feet of clear space.
  • Covered, enclosed porches can only be included if they are heated and use the same system as the rest of the house.
  • Garages, pool houses, guest houses, or rooms that require you to leave the completed portion of the main house to access are not counted in a home’s square footage.

How to calculate the square footage of a house: three steps to follow

As a buyer, it can be helpful to know how to calculate a home’s square footage yourself – just multiply the length and width of all the applicable rooms in the house. All you need to get started is a 100 sq. ft. tape, some graph paper and a pencil.

1. Assign a unit of measure

Assign a unit of measurement to each square on the paper (eg 12 inches or a foot) and measure to the nearest tenth of a foot.

the first step to calculating square feet

2. Choose a wall

Pick a wall and start measuring the distance, making your way around the inside perimeter of the house in one direction, then drawing lines on the graph paper accordingly. Keep in mind that while ANSI guidelines specify measuring the exterior walls, measuring from the inside will give you a better idea of ​​the actual living area.

the second step for calculating square feet

3. Look at your map

Finally, go back to your floor plan, multiply the rectangular areas and add them all up to get your final number. If your calculation includes an area that is not allowed, don’t forget to subtract it.

the last step for calculating square feet

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