Profile picture for HeartsHome

In CT, can a finished basement (walls,floor, electrical) BUT no heat,be included in sq.ft?

We're looking at buying a home in Danbury, CT which has about 200sf included in living space for a basement that's been mostly finished except it's not heated. The Listing Agent said the furnace in the next room gives off enough warmth?!? It's not a walk-out and only has 1 tiny little basement window. In checking Vision Appraisal, the city does show that as living space, but I'm dubious considering you'd have to plug in a heater to keep the space warm in the winter.
  • March 04 2011 - Danbury
  • 0
    0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Be a Good Neighbor. Be respectful and on-topic. No spam or self-promotion! See our Good Neighbor Policy.

 
 

Answers (8)

Electric baseboard heating is an easy option  to heat the space although electricity is not bargain, with the size of the area, and with the use of a thermostat it should serve the purpose to keep the space comfortable.
Basement living area should not be used when adding sq ft to total living area.
  • March 18 2011
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Call the town and see if a permit was pulled to finish the space. I bet the fire department would not recommend a space heater. Newer furnaces do not give off heat to the surrounding areas.
  • March 15 2011
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Profile picture for Jay Cusack
If the town does not include the square footage as below grade, then a permit probably was nit pulled for it therefore not town approved. I would check that
  • March 15 2011
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Basements heated or unheated or not included in square footage. The appraisal industry does not include them for valuation purposes. People who have finished basements use them for their own personal needs and purposes. They are especially great for kids. A finished basement does add some ancillary value. Basements are tricky when there is only one way out and no natural light.
  • March 05 2011
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

For appraisal purposes, basements - whether finished or not, whether heated or not - are never included in the square footage of the home.

Appraisers utilize GLA - Gross Living Area - which is only that space that is finished and is above grade.  Basements are not above grade - even walk-out basements will have some portion that is below grade and is then not to be included in the square footage.

Some agents will include finished basement square footage for marketing purposes.  Vision Appraisal will also include a finished basement as a separate line item for living area. 
Be aware that your appraiser will NOT include this space in his or her valuation of the home.

Finished basements do have a value, but it is not the same value as finished space that is above-grade.

As an FYI - My house has an unfinished basement that the kids use as a playroom. It is not heated, but we have never needed heat down there, as it remains warm enough in the winter.
  • March 05 2011
  • 1Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Basements can be considered living space, but not without heat.  Basement bedrooms can not be a bedroom without egress.  I would not include that space in the SQFT but would note it in the comments as possible with addition of heat.
  • March 04 2011
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Is the heat on in the house? It is winter now, so you should be able to verify the temperature.

If not, you might chat with a home inspector about whether or not it is viable to heat the space via indirect heat from the boiler, especially if it is a tiny space.

Zillow has a great guide to hiring a buyer's agent. You can read it too see whether you think it is for you.

  • March 04 2011
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Hi TheMass,

This would not be considered Living Space.  I am surprised that the Listing Agent would even tell you that it is.  Your Real Estate Agent should know that this is not living space.  If you don't have an agent I would suggest that you find one that has the knowledge necessary to protect you when buying a home.

Clearly this space would not meet present building codes, which in itself would not allow it to be living space.  A finished basement would require 2 ways of egress to meet building codes.  This means that you would need two ways of exiting the basement in case of a fire.  One is usually the stairs that you take to get to the basement and the other will either be a large enough window for a person to easily get out of or another door that leads to the outside.  You can even have a second staircase at the other end of the basement to conform to the code.  You would also require a source of heat.  All finished basements would require a CO (Certificate of Occupancy) and my guess is that it does not have this.  If it did you would most likely find it on Vision Appraisals.

I hope this helped!  If you have any other questions feel free to ask.

Good Luck!
Ray 
  • March 04 2011
  • 1Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.