Measuring Your Home’s Square Footage

measuring your home's square footageMeasuring your home’s square footage is often confusing and can be a bit misleading from what you might understand as a standard measurement.  Measuring a home is difficult and even professionals have a hard time getting it perfectly accurate.  In fact to add to the difficulty there’s actually no set standard in the way a person is required to measure so of course square footage may slightly vary.  With no set standard in place, the slightest error may cost you thousands in your home’s value.

Many homeowners and home buyers misconstrue gross living area as the same as total square footage of the home.  I can tell you from many experiences that this is not the case.  Gross living area and square footage of a home are different and appraisers calculate the two areas under different price per square foot values.  For instance if a home has an office or bonus room that’s not directly attached to the actual living space then the value will be adjusted properly.  Additionally guest houses are also not valued under the same price per square foot metrics.

Measuring Your Home’s Square Footage

The steps in measuring your home’s square footage is actually quite simple.  Here’s some tips to make the measurement as easy as possible and before you get started you may want to download some grid paper to make drawing your plans more simple.

  1. Sketch out the interior floor plan of your home, make sure to draw each floor separately so each one can be accounted for more easily.
  2. When drawing your floor plan, try to break the home into rectangles like bedrooms and hallways, this will make measuring much easier.
  3. Unfinished areas like patios and garages don’t need to be added toy our drawing as they will not be counted in your square footage.
  4. Start calculating your homes square footage by multiplying each area (rectangle) by its length and width.
  5. Once you have all the areas multiplied, add them together and this is your homes approximate square footage.

Remember though, measuring your home’s square footage doesn’t actually give you the gross living area unless your home has no finished areas outside the actual living areas of your home like the bonus room, guest house, etc that we discussed earlier.

Another area to consider are basements.  Basements that are finished are also considered part of the home’s square footage but usually aren’t considered in the home’s actual GLA.  Likewise finished attic space is also in the grey area and although will probably be counted in the homes square footage it’s likely that the same price per square foot value used for the GLA will not be added equivalently to the added space.  These two areas definitely add to the homes overall square footage but probably will not be added under an appraisers value based on gross living area.  For instance your home like the example we’re talking about may have a main living area of 2000 square feet, it also may have a 1000 square foot finished basement and 500 square foot finished attic.  Listing your home for sale stating your home now has 3400 square foot would be a bit misleading but mentioning your home is 2000 square feet and has an additional 1500 square feet worth of finished basement and attic space is perfectly acceptable.


For more information on measuring your home’s square footage, please contact us or leave a comment below.  We’d appreciate the opportunity to assist you!


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