“Which areas of a property are included in the calculation of home square footage?” D.J., Sonoma, CA
Home square footage includes only the livable (also called inhabitable) interior space, such as bedrooms, living room, kitchen and all other rooms and hallways. Areas not considered livable space, which should not be included in the calculation of a home’s square footage are:
- Garage (attached or unattached)
- Outdoor patios (covered or uncovered)
- Sheds, barns and storage structures
- Any areas not built as livable space per a legal permit
Sellers sometimes mistakenly include un-permitted space in the home square footage calculation. Examples of un-permitted space are:
- Any separate structure (e.g. guest house) or addition to the home built without a permit
- Non-livable space converted to livable space without a permit (such as remodeling a portion of a garage into a bedroom or enclosing a patio)
Buyers should request clarification from sellers regarding which spaces are included in the home square footage calculation and confirm the number provided with public records. Sellers are usually required to disclose to buyers if any improvements on the property, either livable and non-livable, are un-permitted. If a specific statement addressing this issue is not provided in a seller’s disclosure documents, buyers should request a written statement from the seller confirming the presence or absence of un-permitted improvements.
Note: Appraisers typically do not include the value of un-permitted space when estimating the market value of a home.
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NOTE: Real estate questions are answered within the scope of real estate broker expertise and no legal or tax advice is provided. Contact a qualified legal or tax professional for questions regarding those specialties.
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