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.
You should always have a local, qualified professional determine answer your appraisal-related questions for any specific property. Do not make decisions about real estate based on the information in this article or on this website.
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. If it still looks like a patio with walls, an independent appraiser will need to make the call as to whether or not to include this space.
- Finished attic space as long as it also conforms to the original structure (can’t just add carpet and call it a bedroom) and the ceilings are high enough.
- 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.
- 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 (or may not) 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.
More Articles on Square Footage of a Home
Read our 3-part series on measuring a home, starting with Determining the Square Footage of a Home for more information.