Measuring the square footage of a property may seem like an objective and straightforward task, but you’d be surprised at how many agents and homebuyers misunderstand this pivotal figure. True square footage provides homebuyers a concrete understanding of their prospective domain, but here’s the problem: the rules to determine a home’s square footage are not always uniform across the board. What’s more, much of a home’s value is determined by its size, so accuracy is certainly important. While many real estate agents have their own systems for determining or confirming a home’s true square footage, it doesn’t hurt to update your practices and become an expert on the subject. After all, you may learn a few techniques that could add value to a listing, or better prepare you in guiding house-hunters on the lookout.
Most towns and cities have a local records department where floorplans and blueprints are kept on file. It’s worth noting that these records don’t typically include any subsequent additions or remodels on a property, but they still give archive hunters a legal baseline when outlining a property’s square footage. Oftentimes, a straightforward online search of a city or county’s records office can pull the information necessary, or else agents can poke around in person to uncover informative blueprints at the records office. Either way, access to original blueprints or floorplans is a great tool for determining livable square footage. As a bonus, original blueprints and floorplans—especially in historic properties—can be intriguing visual aids for prospective buyers, as well.
While there aren’t universal standards when it comes to measuring square footage, there are general guidelines that can help determine square footage in an authentic way. Per the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), here are the official recommendations for measuring a home’s real square footage:
Buyers and sellers have or will make a sizable investment in a property, so isn’t it fair to double-check all the relevant facts and figures when it comes to true square footage? If you want to take on the endeavor yourself, here are a few helpful steps to take.
Mastering your craft is everything, and the real estate industry is no different. Every now and again, it’s worthwhile to update your well of information, take matters into your own hands, and continue to innovate with the industry. While square footage may not seem like the juiciest starting off point for such a venture, never forget: mastery of technical knowledge is a sure sign of expertise.