Author Topic: Listed Square Footage  (Read 1903 times)


  • Pencil Stache
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Listed Square Footage
« on: May 11, 2015, 11:54:47 AM »
When selling a house what is the correct way of listing the square footage of the house? We're selling our house FSBO and I had always heard that you can't include the basement square footage even if it's finished but some of the houses comparable to mine are obviously including the basement.

So are you just supposed to include the above-ground area, the total finished area, or the grand total (including unfinished basement spaces)? Right now my house is listed at ~1500 but I have another 1200 downstairs, ~900 of it finished so that makes a big difference


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Listed Square Footage
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2015, 12:35:55 PM »
I believe that as long as you are explicit about where you obtained the sq. footage figure and that it includes the basement, you should be fine.  (Note that an appraiser will discount for the below area.  For our house, they didn't include it at all, despite being a walk out basement.)

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Listed Square Footage
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2015, 12:48:01 PM »
Believe it or not it varies by region. For instance, the term "under air" is used in the south. The best thing to do is to refer to a legal document such as a tax assessment, or an architectural plan rather than say "According to the owner" which puts the liability of accuracy back on you.



  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Listed Square Footage
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2015, 01:35:30 PM »
Okay, so I looked at the two comparable houses and what they had the square footage listed at vs what the county has them listed at. One is 2,350 listed and 1,800 county so ~550 of the basement is included. The other is listed at 2,280 but the county is only 1,000! They have to be including the entire basement AND the attached garage (the county has outside dimensions and show a 280sqft garage).

So I think I'm okay to include the finished portion of the basement. That begs the question of what is considered finished? The stairs basically cut the basement in half, one half is "finished" with a large rec room and a non-conforming bedroom but all outside walls are painted foundation blocks. The other half has a carpeted glorified hallway with the same outside walls. The 'hallway' is massive (maybe as much as 200 sqft) but is L-shaped and useless but it is carpeted so do I call it finished? And what about the two large storage rooms (maybe another 200 sqft) that certainly aren't finished with concrete floors but usable space unlike the unfinished furnace room. The county site says that I have 800sqft finished area in the basement which I think would include all of these but they haven't been inside the house in the 7 years I've owned it so I'm not sure how they got that number. I want to accurately represent my house and not short myself or mislead buyers


  • Bristles
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Re: Listed Square Footage
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2015, 08:36:02 AM »
A hallway certainly would count as finished space if it was upstairs.  The unfinished storage rooms I wouldn't count, though.

Le Poisson

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Re: Listed Square Footage
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2015, 08:49:48 AM »
Around here, the tax assessment counts finished space. So a finished attic/basement would count, but unfinished wouldn't.

In order to get around the taxes, many people will "nearly finish a basement by doing things like leaving off trim and not gluing down carpet/flooring. or go the other direction, and put down proper flooring/trim, but leaving the ceiling open and spraying paint over everything to create an industrial sort of feel.

The net effect of this is that you take SFA with a grain of sale and expect it to be optimistic. From a buyer's perspective useable space, flow and layout are more important than Total SF anyways. I've lived in very big, small houses and in very small, big houses.