Property Q&A in Kinnelon>Question Details

Hershey, Home Buyer in Kinnelon, NJ

In Ne Jersey, does a nicely finished basement count towards the homes total square feet?

Asked by Hershey, Kinnelon, NJ Sun Mar 28, 2010

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Hi Hershey,

The basement finished or not is not part of the published sqare footage of the home. It is "counted" by the township as livable area and may have an impact of the taxes.

It is also fine for agents to advertise a finished basement and the square footage that is available, most people would like to know and it is the sign of a detailed and organized agent! Within my MLS there is a section for the basement square footage. Although it is not counted in the "sqaure footage of the the home"
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 28, 2010
Hi Hershey,

No it does not. The term "GLA" refers to gross livable area and includes finished heated space on levels that are totally above grade. The basement is not counted by appraisers or the town, no matter how nicely finished. Finished basement space does have value, but it is separate from, and lower than, square footage on the main levels. Many agents incorrectly include finished basement space both in the room count and the quoted square footage. This is an improper and amateurish attempt to puff up a listing and make it seem bigger than the competition. It fools nobody and makes the agent look rather stupid, but is nevertheless fairly common. Some sellers are adamant on having the agent include the finished basement in the square footage and room count, and in that case the agent must hold his nose and carry out the wishes of his client.

Good luck!

Marc Paolella
Relocation Director/Appraiser
Century 21 Joe Tekula Realtors
Phone (direct): (973) 584-4235
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 28, 2010
It might, and it might not. It depends on the town, and now it also depends on the type of loan. Does the town count any living area below grade level? Is there a walk-out from this basement? What is the town's assessment formula with respect to basements, finished or otherwise? In some towns, it depends on whether it is a full basement or a partial basement, fully finished or partially finished. Are there any plumbing fixtures in this basement? Are there any windows? Some towns will count no bedrooms below front grade level. Others will.

On the other hand, it will depend on the lender as well. I know of one lender will only count a finished basement (from an appraisal perspective) as $2,500 regardless of size, walk-out, or condition.

Why do you ask the question? I'll be happy to research the answer that is specific to your situation. Please call me.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 28, 2010
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