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Maryanne, Home Seller in East Longmeadow, MA

In MA, is a finished basement included in floor space?

Asked by Maryanne, East Longmeadow, MA Tue Jul 6, 2010

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There is a ton of information on this topic on the web. Just do a quick search and hunker down for a few hours of reading. Everything you wanted to know about measuring a home's square footage, but were afraid to ask.

The engineer in me likes the explanation below. Your mileage my vary.

“With regards to areas below grade, it is common for the appraiser to not include areas in Gross Living Area (GLA) as per Fannie Mae Guidelines XI 405.05 and ANSI Standards Z765. Which are consistent in definition by stating: The above grade finished square footage of a house is the sum of finished areas on levels that are entirely above grade. The below-grade finished square footage of a house is the sum of finished areas on levels that are wholly or partly below grade. Any level that is partially below grade makes the entire area ineligible for being determined in GLA.”
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 10, 2010
Generally no. For raised ranches it varies but usually not. Even if you have nice rooms down there, if it is below the frost line, it is basement. If the basement is finished we include a little note in the listing with the additional square footage.
Some banks will count square footage in basements. Hope this is helpful.

Christine Moran
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 7, 2010
If you are trying to compare apples to apples, living space should not be included in living space. Finished basements vary in design, usability and are more apt to be unusable year round, unless they are heated. Another reason not to include basement space is that the comparable market analysis program, provided by MLS is more difficult to provide owners and buyers with quick and accurate information, based on square footage. It is my opinion that it is a tactic to make a property appear larger, on paper, than it really is, even if it is disclosed.

In my humble opinion, I feel it is misleading to use basement square footage in living area.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 6, 2010
When I list houses in the East Longmeadow area and the seller request that I include that finished basement area, I do so and qualify it in the MLS listing information. Or I will add languuage that states,(for example) the sq ft does not include 400 sq ft of finished living area. I hope this helps you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 28, 2013
no any room below eye level is not counted as living space however a finished basement adds value to your property.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 17, 2012

In MA for the general rule only above "grade" (ground) space is included in the gla. On the MLS we have a disclosure to fill out if we are including the basement in the GLA. Best with you sale.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 11, 2010

If you need help determining whether your basement qualifies to be added to the total living area, please give me a call! I would be happy to set up a time with you to have a look! If you are planning on selling and looking for ways to maximize a sale, I can give you other ideas and suggestions that we can achieve this as well! Look forward to hearing from you!

Dawn Currier
Keller Williams Realty
Cell 413-250-1970
Web Reference: http://www.dawncurrier.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 10, 2010
The first question would be if it's recognized by the city/town as legal conforming space and then it can be included in the total square footage. The local MLS, MLS-PIN has an area where it can be disclosed that the count includes finished basement space. When in doubt disclose but do so knowingly.
Web Reference: http://www.MedfordHouse.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 6, 2010
This is a long pondered over question that is asked frequently. The answer is it should not count for appraisal purposes, it can, however, count in MLs as long as its discloded as basement space.
Web Reference: http://www.mdmrealtyinc.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 6, 2010
Generally, I feel if a seller is being taxed on the space - below grade or not - it is fair to include it in the gross living area. It doesn't matter too much though, people pay for "utility space", that is, space that they can utilize. If the basement is finished, but not terribly useful, it is unlikely the seller will get much of a premium. There are various factors that you can use to determine a spaces utility, ask a pro who knows!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 6, 2010
You can include finished basement in living area, but you have to disclose this fact. If you don’t have that disclose you disservice yourself. Potential buyers will expect bigger house, than the property you have. You will be preparing house for showings that would not produce the sale… It’s a time consuming and frustrating.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 6, 2010
Hi Maryanne-
Sometimes a realtor will add in the square footage of a finished basement into total living area. It should also be disclosed if that is the case. I would be more then happy to set you up on the MLS so you can see all the disclosures listed. You can give me an email back.

Carrie Polci
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 6, 2010
Hello Maryanne,

Finished basements can be counted in the gross living area. The tricky part is finding out whether or not the listing agent has included this info with the total living area. Sometimes they disclose this space in another section of the MLS.

Hope this helps!

Jeffrey H. Carter, ABR
978 717 9015
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 6, 2010
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