Home Buying in Ashland>Question Details

Whiskas, Both Buyer and Seller in 02118

When figuring the square foot cost, how is a partial or full finished basement considered? Is it just added to the 1st and 2nd floor square footage?

Asked by Whiskas, 02118 Thu Sep 16, 2010

I see lots of houses listed with lots of square feet, but I know that the square footage in the ads includes the basement. How is that calculated into the square foot price? Is it given the same value as the upstairs? Personally I think adding the square footage of a basement without indicating that it is basement is a sales trick and very misleading.

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Kevin Vitali’s answer
Price per square foot for a home is usually calculated on above ground living area and should not include any lower level living area. Finished basements should not be calculated into the price per square foot.

The general rule of thumb is if a lower level is more than 50% above ground it can be calculated as "living area". If you are a buyer it is important not to assume anything and if you are buying based on square footage than do your due diligence. If you are a seller make sure the quare footage is calculated correctly.
Web Reference: http://www.thehousewiz.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 16, 2010
Listing agents often add it to the square footage to get more activity but you are smart to question it. I prefer when listing agents either disclose "basement square footage included in overall square footage" (so you know to subtract it) or better yet say X square footage plus X bonus square footage in the basement.

Basement square footage does not hold the same value as the rest of the home so when you are determining a price value you should remove it when crunching numbers. It does have some value so if it is finished a good rule of thumb is to give it half the value (per square foot) of the rest of the home.
Web Reference: http://territoryre.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 16, 2010
If basement is a "walk-out" (ie; one entire wall is exposed at ground level with direct access to ground level patio or yard with doors and windows) then square footage is included in living area.

If basement is not a walk-out, then square footage should be broken out separately and should indicate square footage amount as "basement finish".
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 16, 2010
Basement space MUST be disclosed!!! The only gray area I see here is when its a split level, there is great debate there.
Web Reference: http://www.mdmrealtyinc.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 21, 2010
Whiskas:

In the MLS we are asked to put down whether we are including the basement in our sq. ft. description. You really should only include above grade space in this analysis. Best
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 19, 2010
It is misleading and frustrating for buyers and agents not to disclose when the basement is added in the sq footage of the home.
That being said in MA if it is below grade does not count, (for most appraisers and realtors and building inspectors), however a finished basement does add some value as a home improvement. It is ultimately up to the appraiser to decide if the value of a finished basement is the same as the value of a main living area(s).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 16, 2010
Whiskas,

I'm not sure how it is calculated in Ashland. In Wisconsin square footage is all over the board. The way it is calculated changes from municipality to municipality. Generally the basement is not included unless it has egress windows and is finished.

Some municipalities use the outside footprint while others use the inside dimensions of each room. As Greer already stated, you are wise to question the calculation. And I always tell my buyers that if the exact square footage number is important to you or the exact size of a room or the exterior parcel, always measure yourself.

Linda
Web Reference: http://www.lindacefalu.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 16, 2010
It depends. Not all square footage include the basement. Not all advertisements will calculate square footage the same way.

You are wise to question the calculation. It's often best to do it yourself. It is the only way to make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Just take the price of the whole property and divide by the square footage of livable space. You may or may not want to include a finished basement. Does a finishable basement count for you? What about a finished basement that doesn't have a walk-out door (i.e. it's a bulkhead, not ground level) These are all variations ... as is the dimiensions of the lot (if it is a single family).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 16, 2010
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