Question Details

angela, Home Buyer in 19083

When looking at square footage of a house does that include the basement?

Asked by angela, 19083 Fri Jan 20, 2012

Help the community by answering this question:


Angela, you count it as the buyer, seller counts it and the Appraiser for the bank isn't supposed to include anything below grade level. So this is where major discrepancies can occur. I know Havertown very well and most house have basements as the majority of South East Pennsylvania.

Let us know how we can assist further,

Rob Hughes: Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.
(Associate Broker) (AB065650)
(Hughes Associates) (Realtor since 1987)

Office: 610-225-7400 x7438

Cell# 484-410-9765 (Preferred)


0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 20, 2012
Here in our area, the answer is NO. Only above ground level is counted.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 20, 2012
It also wouldn't include Attic or Garage:
Having said that, I would not be surprised to find houses that included any or all of the above.
This is something that the Inspector and Appraiser look for, and corrects when the house is sold.

Good luck and may God bless
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 20, 2012

There are any number of reasons why a basement normally wouldn't qualify as living space square footage. First of all it would need to conform to all of the existing code regulations regarding plumbing, electrical, HVAC with a primary and secondary means of egress. I suppose if a basement were designed to be a disignated living space and met all code guidelines,that it's possible that basement square footage could be includer but how many basements do you know of that are originally intended to meet living space needs?

Hope this helps,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 20, 2012
Generally, no. The square footage usually just includes above-grade space. (Odd, I know, but that's the general practice.)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 20, 2012
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
In most if not all cases, the answer is no.

Usually, the square footage of a home includes living spaces that are above 'the threshold" of the main door to the home. Everything 'above grade' is to be counted as Heated Living Area (HLA) if finished (walls, floor, and ceiling), heated from the same source, and is all connected.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) was asked by Fannie Mae on how to measure square footage. ANSI said, in effect, that because the majority of basements in the USA are surrounded with dirt (below grade), and have no windows, they are basements regardless of what’s there. Thus, basements are generally not included in the square footage calculation.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 20, 2012
Typically, a listing includes the finished living area above grade. If the basement is finished as well, this living area can be included as long as it is disclosed on the listing. Just be careful and make sure you understand where the square footage number came from and what is included in that number. As far as an appraisal is concerned, the appraiser is including the living area above grade only. The finished basement area is included separately.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 20, 2012
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2016 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer