When searching for a new home or apartment, you’ve likely come across listings that mention the square footage of the property. Square footage is an essential metric in determining the size and value of a property, but it can also be a source of confusion, particularly when it comes to whether garages are included in the count. In this blog post, we’ll explore the concept of square footage, delve into the definition of livable space, discuss whether garages are typically included in the square footage, and touch on the importance of accurately understanding this aspect of a property listing.
Understanding Square Footage
Square footage is a fundamental measurement used in real estate to quantify the total floor area of a property. It is calculated by measuring the length and width of each room or space within the property and multiplying these dimensions to obtain the area in square feet. The resulting sum provides a clear understanding of the overall size of the property, which is vital information for prospective buyers and renters.
Defining Livable Space
Before addressing whether garages are included in square footage calculations, it is essential to define what constitutes “livable space.” Livable space refers to the areas within a property that are considered habitable and suitable for living. These spaces usually include bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, living rooms, dining rooms, and any other rooms that can accommodate daily activities. Garages, on the other hand, are traditionally designed for the storage and protection of vehicles, making them a different type of space altogether.
Are Garages Included in Square Footage?
The answer to whether garages are included in square footage calculations is not entirely straightforward, as it can vary depending on the location and the method used by different appraisers or real estate professionals. In general, the inclusion of a garage in the square footage calculation hinges on its level of finish, accessibility, and usage.
Finished and Conditioned Garages: If a garage is finished and conditioned to the same standard as the rest of the living spaces, it is more likely to be included in the total square footage. This means that the garage is insulated, heated, and air-conditioned, making it a viable living space that can be used for various purposes beyond vehicle storage.
Unfinished or Non-Conditioned Garages: Garages that are unfinished or non-conditioned, lacking proper insulation, heating, and cooling, are typically not included in the square footage. Such spaces are considered as part of the overall property but not counted in the livable area.
Converted Living Spaces: In some cases, homeowners may convert their garages into livable spaces, such as additional bedrooms, offices, or family rooms. In such instances, the converted space is usually included in the square footage, provided it meets local building codes and regulations.
Importance of Knowing What’s Included in Square Footage
Understanding what is included in the square footage is crucial for several reasons:
Accurate Property Valuation: The square footage significantly impacts a property’s value. Buyers and renters need accurate information to assess whether the property meets their needs and aligns with their budget.
Comparing Properties: By knowing whether garages are included, potential buyers can make an apples-to-apples comparison between different properties. This ensures they are considering similar properties in terms of size and livable space.
Future Planning: Knowing the true livable area can help homeowners plan for future renovations, expansions, or even potential resale.
Verifying Square Footage
Given the importance of accurate square footage information, it’s essential for buyers, renters, and homeowners to verify the details provided in property listings. Here are some steps you can take to ensure the square footage is reliable:
Hire a Professional Appraiser: A licensed appraiser can provide an unbiased evaluation of a property’s square footage, taking into account local regulations and guidelines.
Check Property Records: Review official property records, which may include square footage details from previous assessments or permits.
Consult Real Estate Professionals: Reach out to experienced real estate agents or brokers who can provide valuable insights into square footage calculations and property values in the local market.
Square footage is a critical factor in the evaluation of a property’s size and value. Whether garages are included in the square footage calculation depends on their level of finish, condition, and purpose. Knowing what is included in the square footage is essential for making informed decisions, comparing properties, and planning for the future. For accurate information, it is advisable to consult professionals and verify property records. Armed with this knowledge, prospective buyers and renters can confidently navigate the real estate market and find a space that truly suits their needs and preferences.