What Is Included in Square Footage of a House? | BidMyListing

May 14, 2023 9:00:00 AM / by

What Is Included in the Square Footage of a House?

Determining the square footage of a house is a crucial aspect when evaluating its value or assessing its livable space. However, measuring square footage can sometimes be challenging due to varying standards and interpretations. Here we aim to shed light on what is typically included in the square footage of a house and provide guidance on understanding this critical measurement.

Finding Your Home’s Square Footage

To ascertain the square footage of your home, you can take a few approaches. Firstly, you can review the paperwork from when you purchased the house, as it often includes the square footage details. Additionally, reaching out to a real estate agent can provide you with an updated estimate, especially if you have made any additions or modifications to the property.

What’s Included in a Home’s Square Footage?

The square footage of a house encompasses the interior living space and typically comprises the following areas:

1. Main Living Spaces

These areas constitute the bulk of a home's square footage and include the living room, kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms, dining room, family room, and home office. These spaces are essential for daily living and provide functionality and comfort.

2. Storage Spaces

Are closets included in square footage. The square footage commonly includes built-in closets, storage rooms, and utility areas like laundry rooms or dedicated storage closets. These spaces contribute to the overall livability and functionality of the house.

3. Hallways

Interior hallways, corridors, and passages connecting different rooms and areas within the house are typically included in the square footage calculation. These areas facilitate movement and accessibility throughout the home.

While the above elements are generally considered part of the square footage, it is worth noting that some factors may influence the inclusion or exclusion of specific spaces. For example, attached areas like garages, enclosed porches, or sunrooms may or may not be included depending on local building codes, appraisal practices, and regional standards.

Does a Garage Count as Square Footage?

Does square footage include a garage? The square footage of a house usually does not include the garage. Garages are considered separate from the main living space and are often evaluated and appraised differently. However, it is essential to note that this may vary depending on local practices. Some regions may consider a portion or all of the garage's square footage in the overall measurement.

Demystifying Square Footage

Understanding what is included in the square footage of a house is essential for both homeowners and prospective buyers. The square footage typically encompasses the house's interior's primary living spaces, storage areas, and hallways. While the garage is typically excluded from the square footage, it's essential to know local standards and practices that may vary. By clearly understanding what constitutes the square footage, homeowners and buyers can make more informed decisions when evaluating properties.

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Square Footage Gray Areas

Determining a home's square footage can be challenging, especially regarding spaces that fall into gray areas. These areas are neither indoor or outdoor and may or may not be included in a home's living pace. There are some common examples of gray areas that homeowners may have difficulty calculating.

1. Finished Basements

Finished basements can be tricky to measure because they may or may not be considered livable, depending on the region. In some areas, a finished basement entirely below grade may not be counted as part of a home's square footage. According to an article on HomeLight, finished basements are generally not included in the primary square footage of a home.

2. Enclosed Porches

Screened-in or enclosed porches are another gray area regarding square footage. If the porch is not temperature-controlled and has no heat source, it may not be considered livable space and, therefore, not count towards a home's total square footage. The Raleigh Realty Homes blog mentions that enclosed porches may only be included in the square footage if they meet specific criteria.

3. Attics

Like basements, attics can be a gray area regarding square footage. If the attic is finished, heated, and has proper ventilation, it may be included in the home's total square footage. However, an unfinished attic used only for storage would not be counted. Edina Realty explains that finished attics with proper permits and code compliance can contribute to the overall square footage.

4. Staircases and Hallways

Staircases and hallways are part of a home's square footage, but they can be challenging to measure due to their irregular shapes. A seasoned appraiser can help ensure these spaces are accurately accounted for in the square footage calculation. According to Bankrate, hallways and staircases are typically included when calculating the square footage of a house.

How Much Value Does Adding Square Footage Yield?

The value added by increasing a home's square footage can vary depending on the location and the market. Adding square footage to a house generally increases its value. Still, the actual return on investment may differ based on factors such as the region, the quality of the addition, and the overall demand for larger homes in the area. It's essential to consider the cost of adding square footage and weigh it against the potential increase in property value. Bankrate suggests consulting with a real estate agent or an appraiser to assess the potential value of adding square footage to a specific property.

How Is Square Footage Measured?

Measuring square footage is typically done by calculating the area of a room or space. The most straightforward method is to measure the length and width of a room and multiply these dimensions to obtain the square footage. However, complications can arise when dealing with odd-shaped spaces, such as rooms with alcoves or irregular floor plans. In such cases, it may be necessary to break the space into smaller, more manageable shapes and calculate their areas separately before summing them up. Measuring square footage accurately is crucial for property valuation, and it is recommended to consult a professional appraiser or rely on established measurement standards in your region.

Finished Basements and Attics Do Not Add to the Primary Square Footage

It's important to note that finished basements and attics typically do not add to the primary square footage of a house. Below-grade living spaces, such as basements, are generally less valued than above-grade living spaces. While finished basements and attics can provide additional functional areas, they are often considered secondary living spaces and may be valued differently in real estate appraisals. The primary square footage of a house typically refers to the main level and above-grade living areas.

Bottom Line

Accurately determining a house's square footage is crucial for valuation purposes. Homeowners can accurately represent their property by understanding what elements are typically included. 

Looking to sell your home? Using your home address and the square footage of your home you can find the best real estate agent to guide you through the home selling process with BidMyListing. 

Our first-of-its-kind marketplace connects home sellers with top real estate agents who bid for the opportunity to represent their home sales. Each bid includes a cash offer, listing term, commission rate, and information about the agent. By putting all the negotiating cards on the table – and having the agent invest in the home sale upfront – we empower home sellers to make more informed decisions. Get started with BidMyListing today!

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