In general, areas like staircases and closets count as finished square footage. Spaces like garages, three-season porches and unfinished basements or attics are not included in the square footage of a house. The MLS is a service real estate agents use to publish their active property listings so that consumers and agents can search for-sale homes and view them online.
Each MLS has different rules on how to report and what counts as finished square footage, but they all seek to standardize housing data so that you have the most accurate information and can trust the listings you find online. The answer to this depends on where you live, as local governing bodies may choose to calculate square footage differently. But in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, if your basement has a finished floor, wall covering, ceiling and heat, then its square footage can be included in the total finished square footage of the house.
If you are a buyer comparing homes and prices, you may want to pay attention to that breakout. In our market, as long as the basement bedroom meets the square footage requirements walls, flooring, ceiling and heat it will contribute toward the total square footage of the home. For a basement bedroom, that would typically require an egress window, in addition to the square footage requirements. Some people wonder if an attic can be included in the finished square footage of a home if there is a pull-down ladder or existing stairway to the space.
To be included in the square footage, an attic would first need to meet the same criteria as any other space — heating, flooring, ceiling and wall covering.
It would also need to be accessible by a conventional stairway. But what about non-traditional floor plans, like a 1. Or a four-level split floor plan? The second level of a 1. For example, in some MLSs the ceiling must be at least seven feet at the highest point. Spaces where the ceiling is less than five feet tall must be excluded entirely from square footage. To be counted as finished square footage, a porch must be four-season.
A four-season porch is much like any other room in the house, except that it provides clear views of the outdoors all year through a variety of windows. Any space that has walls, flooring, ceiling and heat would count as finished square footage. Using that foundation size, the agent can calculate the total square footage.
In other words, for a symmetrical two-story home, they could double that square footage number to get the total finished square footage for both levels deducting any space that is left unfinished. In some cases, a listing agent may go from room to room, calculating the exact square footage of each space that meets the criteria.
And sometimes, agents might rely on government records or past MLS listings for information. This can lead to inaccuracies in the reported square footage, as the homeowner may have finished a basement, attic or enclosed and heated a three-season porch to enjoy year-round in the time since the records were last updated.
Not only does this double the stair area, but in the case of a vaulted area, where part of the ground floor rises up to the roof of the property, that is also being counted twice. How do you overcome these problems when there is no agreement on how to measure a house?
First, use your head and make sure you ask the relevant questions. Ask what the stated measurement includes. Also check comparable sales in your area for any difference between reported dimensions. When buying a home, you can ask your own agent or appraiser for this information before you make an offer. Use your common sense and ask the right questions;. Loan Options Company Blog Contact.
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter. Fast Quote Get started with your free, no obligation fast rate quote now! Do you like the design and floorplan? How about the location? Are there rooms you absolutely love? Numbers are important, but they are no substitute for the intangibles that make a house feel like a home. Ryan is on the marketing team at Redfin and loves writing data-driven articles about all things real estate.
Ryan's dream home would be a Cape Cod-style house near the ocean and the mountains. Skip to content Share on facebook. Share on twitter. Share on linkedin. Share on pinterest. How to calculate the square footage of your house Assign a unit of measure Assign a unit of measure to each square on the paper a foot, for example and measure to the nearest tenth of a foot.