How is Square Footage Calculated in Real Estate


So, how is square footage calculated? First of all, it’s important to note the difference in “Heated Square Footage” and “Total Square Footage.”  Heated square footage is the total of the living areas. Total square footage is everything under the roof-including garages, covered porches-everything. 


An appraiser is concerned with heated square footage. The part of the house that is heated and cooled-where you LIVE. 


As Realtors, we use this information to pull comps to help us determine the best listing price for your home. We’ll pull sales comps in the area of similar properties and then we just take that average price per square foot for all the recent sold, multiply that by your heated square footage, and that's how we determine value. Of course, we will also take into consideration things like updates the like. 


So where do people get their heated square footage from if they don't have an appraisal? Many people rely on public records or even Zillow.  Unfortunately, in our area the neither of these resources are very accurate.  The tax assessor's office does not come out and actually pull tapes on all of the rooms and determine the square footage so there's a lot of estimation going. Since square footage directly impacts value, we as Realtors are especially concerned about accurate square footage. The difference in 2200 heated square feet and 2400 heated square feet at $100 per foot is $20,000! 


So, how can we get verified heated square footage? The best answer is from an appraiser.They're the most qualified individual to give you an accurate heated square footage measurement.  An appraiser will come out and actually pull a tape on the property and measure.  I think it’s interesting they measure ground level on the exterior walls, then they measure upper level on the interior walls and then they combine the two make sure they're deducting off any of the unheated spaces. The appraiser will then give you a measurement page with the true heated living space. If you have a prior appraisal, maybe from when you bought the property, even though the data in it as far as values are probably outdated the measurement doesn't change. If you don't have that but you want it you can call an appraiser and they'll come out and instead of doing a full appraisal they'll just do a measurement. They usually charge between $150 and $200 dollars for these measurement in our area. Many times, this is money well spent as it can avoid issues down the road. 



If you have any questions about this or anything else in the real estate process just give me a call. I’m Alan Castleman with Hickman Realty Group, and I’m here to help you!








Posted by Alan Castleman on
Email Send a link to post via Email

Leave A Comment

Please note that your email address is kept private upon posting.