Content of the material
- How to Measure Square Footage of a House
- How to Calculate Square Footage
- Convert all of your measurements to feet
- Calculate the Area as Square Footage
- How To Figure Square Feet For Your Home
- What is included in square footage of a house?
- Finding the square footage of your home
- Finished Vs. Unfinished Square Footage
- Above Grade Square Footage vs. Below Grade Square Footage
- What to leave in (and take out of) the square footage
- Ask The Pros
- Why Is Square Footage Important?
Measure the length and width of walls on the exterior of the house. In the case of a house that is not rectangular, measure the length and width of each section separately.
How to Measure Square Footage of a House
Here is an overview of how to calculate the square footage of a house.
- Assemble your supplies. Bring a calculator, a tape or laser measure, a pen, and a notebook when you plan to measure the square footage of a space. You can draw out the floor plan with the notebook, measure the space with your tape measure, and add up your measurements with the calculator.
- Measure the separate areas of the house. Go through your house and measure the dimensions of each room one at a time. Measure a room’s length and width along the walls of each room in feet and note the metrics in your notebook.
- Calculate the square footage of each room. If you’re working with square or rectangular rooms, you can simply multiply the length of each room by its width to calculate the square footage. For irregular rooms, divide the space into geometric shapes, use the applicable formula, and add up the square footage. To measure the square footage of a triangular space, multiply its base by its height and divide that number by two. To calculate the square footage of a circular space, measure the circle's radius (the distance from the center point to the circle's edge), multiply that number by itself and then multiply the new number by pi (3.14).
- Add up the square footages of each room. Once you have the measurements of each room, add them all together to get your overall square footage. You can make the calculations yourself or use an online square footage calculator.
How to Calculate Square Footage
Square footage is area expressed in square feet. Likewise, square yardage is area expressed in square yards. Square meters is also a common measure of area.
Assume you have a rectangular area such as a room and, for example, you want to calculate the square footage area for flooring or carpet.
The way to calculate a rectangular area is by measuring the length and width of your area then multiplying those two numbers together to get the area in feet squared (ft2). If you have on oddly shaped area, such as an L-shape, split it into square or rectanglualar sections and treat them as two separate areas. Calculate the area of each section then add them together for your total. If your measurements are in different units, say feet and inches, you can first convert those values to feet, then multiply them together to get the square footage of the area.
Convert all of your measurements to feet
- If you measured in feet skip to “Calculate the Area as Square Footage”
- If you measured in feet & inches, divide inches by 12 and add that to your feet measure to get total feet
- If you measured in another unit of measure, do the following to convert to feet – inches: divide by 12 and that is your measurement in feet – yards: multiply by 3 and that is your measurement in feet – centimeters: multiply by 0.03281 to convert to feet – meters: multiply by 3.281 to convert to feet
Calculate the Area as Square Footage
- If you are measuring a square or rectangle area, multiply length times width; Length x Width = Area.
- For other area shapes, see formulas below to calculate Area (ft2) = Square Footage.
How To Figure Square Feet For Your Home
Calculating the square footage of a home is relatively easy. To measure square feet, you just have to take it one room or space at a time. Measure the length, measure the width, multiply these two and you have the square footage of a space. For example, let’s say a bedroom in your home is 12 feet wide by 14 feet long. 12 X 14 = 168, so that bedroom has 168 square feet.
With one extra step you can easily measure square footage for odd sized rooms that do not end on a specific foot measurement. Let me show you how by slightly adjusting the example I used above.
Let’s say that bedroom is 12 feet 9 inches wide (or 153 inches) and 14 feet 9 inches long (or 177 inches). Notice what I did here. Ignore the foot measurement on your measuring tape all together. Instead, only look at the total inches for length and width. Here is the math with the extra step:
- Divide each inch total by 12 (153 divided by 12 is 12.75 and 177 divided by 12 is 14.75)
- Multiply the two numbers (12.75 x 14.75)
- Answer: 188, the room is 188 square feet
What is included in square footage of a house?
The easiest way to calculate square footage is to measure all areas and rooms with a floor. If you can walk on it it counts. Square footage includes all of the spaces in your that is actual space. Your square footage total should include:
- Bedrooms and the closets
- Living or recreation rooms
- Enclosed 3-season or all-season rooms
- Unfinished spaces like a basement
Garages, outdoor areas, and unfinished attics do not count as square footage.
Finding the square footage of your home
To determine the square footage of you need some basic tools and to follow a few steps. The tools needed include:
- Measuring tape
Follow these steps to accurately measure the square footage in your home:
- Measure every space except the garage, the crawl space, and the attic if it is not finished.
- Measure at the floor.
- Squaring off spaces is often the most practical way to capture all of the square feet.
- Multiply the length and the width of each space you measured.
- As you measure each space label each space as finished or unfinished and whether it is above grade or below grade
If you are shopping for a home to purchase, the square footage number you see in the listing or online is most likely the total finished square footage. However, it is important to know how much unfinished square feet is present and how much square footage is above grade or below grade. Each of these affect a home’s value.
Finished Vs. Unfinished Square Footage
Many people are confused about are basements included in square footage. The answer is yes, basements are included in square footage. However, that square footage should be further classified as finished or unfinished.
Finished square footage is most often defined as a space where the walls, ceiling, and floor are all covered. What does that mean? For walls, it is covered when you cannot see the wall framing. The skeletal structure, electrical and pipes are covered with some other material such as drywall, panelling, or plaster. For a ceiling, this is the same as with walls, you cannot see the skeletal structure because it is covered with some other material.
As for the floor, if you are above the ground, the base material is usually subfloor also known as oriented strand board (OSB). It looks like plywood. If you are in the basement or the home is a ranch on a slab, the base material is likely concrete. To be finished square footage, you should not be standing directly on that material. Instead, there should be some type of floor covering over the concrete or OSB like carpet, hardwood flooring, or tile, or flooring laminate.
When measuring your home to determine its square footage make sure you put each amount of square footage for each room or space into the finished or unfinished column.
Above Grade Square Footage vs. Below Grade Square Footage
Above grade square footage is square footage above the gradient line. The gradient line is where the earth meets the home. Square footage on the main floor and all floors above will almost always be above grade. This only gets a little tricky when the home is a bi-level, tri-level, quad-level, or hillside ranch.
These home models may have a basement, but the lowest level may be called the lower level. This happens because a level of the home is partly under the gradient line but also partly above it. Most areas consider a level like this to be the lower level and mark it as above grade square footage. Check with your local municipality, contractor, or a real estate agent for a certain answer to this question.
What to leave in (and take out of) the square footage
But, of course, it’s not that simple.
Garage space is not included in square footage, and many standards do not count basements (even if they’re finished) in overall square footage. Either way, make sure to measure the basement’s square footage for your records — you can still include it in any future property listings.
Conversely, finished attic space that’s fit for habitation and boasts at least seven feet of clearance should be included in your GLA. The same is true for any additional stories in the house.
For example, suppose you’re describing a two-story home with a 1,500-square-foot first floor, 1,000-square-foot second floor, and 800-square-foot finished attic. You could list it as 3,300 square feet with 1,000 square feet of unfinished basement and a 600-foot garage. But to describe it as a 4,900-square-foot house would mislead potential buyers about the size, and unfairly boost the property’s value.
Ask The Pros
Learning how to calculate the square feet of a house can be a challenging task. Thankfully, there are experts to help you. It is common practice to hire a professional appraiser to accurately measure your home. Depending on the property’s size, the cost of an appraiser to measure the square footage can range from $100 to several hundred dollars. When an appraiser calculates the square feet of a house, they also only include areas that are heated and cooled. While two different appraisers will sometimes have different measurements on square footage, there is usually only a 1-3% variance. Appraisers will do their best to calculate square footage with scientific accuracy.
Why Is Square Footage Important?
Square footage is important in real estate because it is the clearest representation of the total area of livable space in a homeowner's property. Here is an overview of the practical reasons that square footage is important.
- Home value: Square footage is one of the variables factored into setting the listing price or determining the fair market value of a house. If you order an appraisal for your new house to determine its fair market value, the appraiser will factor the square footage of this house to similarly-sized homes in the area.
- Securing a mortgage: Most mortgage lenders will require homebuyers to get a home appraisal before granting them a loan to protect the lender from promising more money than the house is worth. If your appraiser finds that a home is worth less than it is listed for—potentially because of a square footage discrepancy—the buyer may not get a loan for the house unless the listing price is adjusted to affect the appraisal value.
- Property taxes: Assessing your home and measuring the square footage can help gauge whether a homeowner is paying too little or too much in property taxes. Your property’s square footage directly impacts the assessed value of the house, which influences property taxes you’re required to pay.
Knowing how to calculate square feet of houses is beneficial to you. Knowing how to do this will help you when it comes time to sell your home, plan for projects, and appeal a property tax assessment.
All interior parts of your home are included so long as there is a floor you can walk on. Parts of your home that do not count are garages, unenclosed outdoor areas, accessory structures, crawl spaces, or unfinished attics. Make sure to classify each portion of square footage as finished or unfinished, too.
You can find the square footage of a house by measuring each room. Think in squares and rectangles to make measuring easier. There is nothing wrong with measuring a living room with a bump out as two pieces to make it easier. Figuring square feet is easier with some basic tools you likely already have, too. Now, you are ready to find the square footage of your home.
Those that know how to find the square footage of a house carry an inherent advantage in every deal they work on. Of particular importance, however, is accuracy. Those who can accurately learn how to calculate square footage of a house stand a better chance of realizing success. At the very least, they will know exactly what they are getting into (or out of).
Have you ever run into questionable home measurement calculations? Would it have helped if you knew the standards used today? Please feel free to let us know in the comments below.
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