Question Details

Liza, Home Buyer in New York

How do you measure square feet ?

Asked by Liza, New York Tue Feb 26, 2013

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To compute the area of a square or rectangular area use AREA = Length X Width, to compute the amount of surface in a triangular area Area = 1/2 (Base X Height). With regard to square footage, when purchasing a new home measure it yourself or better yet have the selling agent/builder measure with you there watching and recording. For tax purposes, municipalities only count livable, heated space. Closets and hallways are included, but garages, attics, unfinished bonus rooms, and sun porches aren't. Nor, usually, are basements—though some localities include walk-out basements that are finished to the standard of the rest of the house. Because tax records aren't infallible, listing agents are supposed to measure the property themselves. But many just copy the information from tax records, and rely on boilerplate language in listing sheets and contracts that the "information is reliable but not guaranteed." Some also include space that a tax appraiser wouldn't, like a lavishly finished below-ground basement, and then use language that protects them from claims of deception, like "square footage on three levels." So before deciding how to proceed it's important to find out if the agent measured the house, what was measured and how it was done.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 26, 2013
Thank you for your responses. If a room is 12 feet 8 inches by 12 feet 3 inches, do you add the extra 11 inches and go up a square foot?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 26, 2013
Great answer Joe! It's just as I see it. I would add that you ask the agent you are dealing with, if it is a private residence and not an apartment, if the basement square footage is included if it is finished. Some agents will list it as square footage and make a notation that it is or is not included. Some agengs just list every square foot. Your agent should be able to guide you.

Don Mituzas
Licensed Associate Broker
Douglas Elliman Real Estate
http://www.donmituzas.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 26, 2013
appraisers typically measure the outer wall measurements and then multiply by 2 if a two story and then subtract vaulted areas or unliveable attic areas over the garage. Not a science! Best to use the assessor SQFT numbers for comparision. They do not measure each room and add them up. Doesnt take into account huge masterbaths and walkin closets and grand foyers or staircases.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 26, 2013
Take one side and multiply by the other side. So a 10x12 room is 120 sq ft. A 9x12 room is 108 sq ft The problem comes when you have a none sq or rectangular room. You have to cut up the room into bite size chunks to figure the sq footage and add the results to get the total.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 26, 2013
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