Square Footage BasicsDetermining the size of a house or its square footage is one of the misleading and confusing metrics in the home building and selling business. The problem is that no one person uses a set standard to measure a home’s square footage, but rather do it differently.

However, there has been a move in recent years to generalize things and create a universal standard such as the ones used by architects. In addition to this, there are several real estate state boards that specify a process to determine the area of a home, but this is just a recommendation and not mandatory to use.

The one aspect that holds true is that the area of a home includes the thickness of the walls in the interior therefore is never measured from the inside of the walls. Here are two steps to consider when determining the square footage of a home.

Gross Area

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but sometimes real estate agents and builders in an effort to show the largest number measure the entire perimeter of the home and on all floors. Further, these measurements may not include stairs and porches, making it extremely hard to compare houses with one another.

Your county assessor or auditor is your relatively impartial source, where they measure the size of all houses the same way considering they do it for tax purposes. But even with this technique, the measurements taken by auditors and assessors may not be the exact reflection of the size of the home, but it does make it easier to compare houses.

Defining Separate Spaces

List the areas of your home separately rather than all at once into one number. It is highly recommended that you measure the perimeter of the home first including the exterior wall sheathing, without including the brick or siding and just the framing on all the floors.

Next, you need to minus the upper level of the spaces and also subtract the area of stairs on the second level as they’ve already been accounted for on the first floor. You may have spaces that are less than 6 feet high so do not include them in your count as you need to list those separately.

If you still can’t figure out the square footage of a home, it is best to consult your selling agent or builder and enquire about their basis for measurement. And if you’re comparing homes based on size, you will want to know exactly what that number includes!