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Do finished basements count towards square feet?

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July 07 2012 - Haymarket
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All additions to the house, like basement, sun room, bathroom etc, should be permitted and inspected by the county inspector for SAFETY reasons: electrical, plumbing.
I have seen quite a few "improvements" including basements that were not done according to standards and were fire, flood, and health hazards. 

BTW, some home insurance companies do NOT cover damages IF the improvement was not permitted and inspected by the county.
This fact alone is worth permitting, because even if the county inspector does a mediocre job - as some do - at least your home is insured against any damages from fire, storms,etc. To be sure, you should discuss this with your insurance company.
 
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July 08 2012

Both other answers are correct, however I just want to add a clarification.  The answer is Yes, finished basements count towards sq ft of home, however, only the upper 2 levels are recorded as "living area" in tax records and MLS.  and that is how your home is "appraised" by your county.  If there were permits done when finishing your basement, it will also show in the tax records.  If no permits were pulled "we see this many times and it is no big deal", then tax records will not show any finished basement.   If you are refinancing or selling, the basement sq ft will show, but you will get added value not by $-sq ft ratio, but by finished sq ft/basement $ amount.  This number is significant based on what is finished and how, i.e. extra bath, granite, media room, etc, etc.  Good Luck.

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July 08 2012
Finished basements are included in the Total Finished Sq.Ft.
MRIS - MLS in the Washington, D.C. area - breaks down square feet as follows:
*Above grade finished
*Above grade unfinished
*Below grade finished
*Below grade unfinished
*SQFT - Total Finished

I work with buyers and sellers in Northern Virginia - let me know if you have any additional questions. 

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July 07 2012
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On Zillow, the square feet for a home are the above grade finished living area (under heating/air  conditioning).   The finished basement square feet are called out separately.  
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July 07 2012
 
Related Questions
Do finished basements count towards square feet?
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Latest answer by Vivianne Rutkowski
July 08 2012 | 4 answers
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