Profile picture for weaving spider

Is garage space included in square footage, or just living area?

  • January 09 2011 - Elmira Heights
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Answers (16)

Profile picture for Mike Bottaro

Square Footage is only counted in the actual living space of a home.

Areas excluded from a square footage assessment are the following: garages, unfinished basements and bathrooms.

A basement however can be considered into the square footage assessment only if it is fully finished, has heating and cooling installed, and has an egress to exit.

  • April 28 2013
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
Unless actually converted to living space with permits etc, it is not counted in the living space square footage.  
  • April 28 2013
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Profile picture for tomandpei
My home is the former display and the garage was their office. It is fully insulated and finished, with it's own furnace & air conditioner, extensive recessed & other lighting, etc. It includes two 2-car garages. One of them could easily be converted into living space. How should this be counted?
  • April 28 2013
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Jkul,

I think most people here are saying the total sq ft includes a finished basement, but I also think we are all saying that it is counted differently as far as the price per sq ft. The price per sq ft is greater above ground than the price per sq ft below ground. We are not talking about an appraisal, but we ARE talking about what areas go into a TOTAL of sq footage. So take a breath.
  • January 09 2011
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No garages are not counted in the square footage.
  • January 09 2011
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Square footage is"under air".... meaning ( heated and cooled space only.) TOTAL square footage will include the garages and patios.
A home may be 1500 sq ft ...but be a total sq footage of 1980( taking in the garage and enclosed screened porch etc.

Sandy Harrington
CRS ABR E-Pro
[contact info removed by moderator]
  • January 09 2011
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In my market which is Colorado Springs, Co. garages are never included in the calculation of finished or living space.  Only those areas in which we live and then they must be heated. 
  • January 09 2011
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Profile picture for jkuhl
Different areas and MLS make up their own vague rules about square footage. Appraisers have to follow national rules, which are clear. All the appraisers in Pinal County, for example, when looking at that area's MLS for comparables have to guess what the RE agent was thinking when he/she came up with a GLA. Ahhh, let's see - looks like 1200 sq ft on the top level, and that probably where the BR's are, so they are saying a family room and the second bath, so they are probably on the lower level, and the rest is utilities and the 2 car attached garage, so the agent is saying 1850 sq ft, so we'll make it 1200 finished above grade and 650 below grade.

Over and over because the national standards are what are followed in appraisals and BPO's. <Can anyone tell this is a sore spot with me?>
I really don't understand why every MLS thinks they can follow their own made up rules, or why NAR can't impose a national standard based on appraisal standards.

I wonder, anyone know of an area where they include garage space in the GLA?  I mean, why the hell not, that's the way they do it there ...
  • January 09 2011
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Profile picture for weaving spider
Thank you to everyone who answered my question. It is very much appreciated.
  • January 09 2011
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In Pinal County Arizona, finished basements are included in the square footage whether they have a walk out or not.

Like everyone else has said, garages are never included.
  • January 09 2011
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Profile picture for jkuhl
By FannieMae and accepted appraisal practices, finished and heated above grade space is not the same as, or combined, with finished /heated below grade space. Finished/heated below grade space should be called out and valued separately. Look at any USPAP appraisal form.

Garages are never included in living space. Only cars live in them.
  • January 09 2011
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Profile picture for Rose Pinto
In my market, which is Central Long Island, garage space is not included in living space..
Square footage is finished living space and usually we make mention  if the basement is finished, that it also includes the finished basement.  Most appraisers include the finished basement in their appraisals under that category.  I do hope this helps.
  • January 09 2011
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Profile picture for Doug Maas
We do not count the sq footage of the garage here either.  That seems to be pretty common everywhere.  However, most homes here have basements and we count the "finished area" in the final sq. footage.  It is usually given a different value than the main and upper levels.

I have had an appraiser tell me that if the basement is finished with the same quality as the upper levels, he will give it the same value.

So, as with most real estate issues, you should check with a local agent and see what is the norm in your area.
  • January 09 2011
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The rules must be different in different areas because we all seem to agree a garage is not considered in the sq footage, but I have never ever heard of a basement that is finished and heated not being allowed, in the sq footage, if it did not have a walk-out entrance.

Appraisers give different amounts per sq ft for finished basements and unfinished basements compared to the finished space on the upper floors but I have always seen finished basements space added to the total sq footage even if it has no door at all. Check to see what is common in your area.
  • January 09 2011
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You cannot include your garage in your square footage, nor can you include a finished basement unless it is a walkout basement.
  • January 09 2011
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
Garage space is not included in square footage.   Only area that is fully finished under heat (and airconditioning where appropriate).

Many areas do not include basements below grade in square footage, even if finished.  They are called out separately.
  • January 09 2011
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