March 13, 2020
3 MINUTE READ
If you are considering buying or selling, it’s important to understand how to calculate square feet of a home. There are a number of differences between a home that is 500 square feet and one that is 5,000 — and the differences extend beyond just how much space you and your family have to spread out.
For one thing, a home’s square footage plays a huge role in determining the current market value, how much you’ll pay in taxes, and what type of renovations will be possible in the future.
Since most of us don’t regularly walk around with a square foot calculator in our pocket, what can we do? Read on to find out more about how to calculate square feet of a house.
If the room you’re in is simple and doesn’t have any design features that complicate the shape, you probably already know how to calculate the square footage. Simply use your measuring tape to get the length and width of the room, multiply the two lengths together, and ta-da — you quickly and easily have the square footage of the room. For instance, if your great room is 20 feet wide and 15 feet long, then 20 x 15 = 300 square feet.
While calculating the square footage of a single room is simple enough, many people become overwhelmed and intimidated by the thought of how to figure square footage of an entire home. And while we understand how the task can seem daunting, think of a home as just a collection of small boxes. In other words, break the large task up into smaller, easier tasks.
But what if the room has an outcropping? Simple. Just break that particular area down into another smaller box, measure each box individually, and then add up each box’s individual square footages to get the sum.
For instance, let’s say you live in a smaller, 2-bedroom condo. The square footage of your living room, bedrooms, bathroom, and hallway is 400 square feet, 200 square feet, 150 square feet, 200 square feet, and 100 square feet, respectively. Add these sums together, and you’ll have the total footprint of your entire condo — 1,050 square feet.
And, if all else fails, vCalc has a handy square foot calculator that can be used for even the trickiest calculations.
Now that you’re feeling confident in how to calculate square footage and how to measure the square footage of a house, we’re going to add a quick caveat — always take your square footage of a house with a grain of salt. In other words, a square foot calculation is surprisingly subjective, depending on who is measuring the space.
For instance, based on our example above, you were measuring actual livable square footage. However, architects and contractors often have their own methods of measuring a home’s square footage that includes calculating from the home’s exterior walls. And while this may not sound like a big difference, you would be surprised at how quickly the extra square footage can add up.
For this reason, many MLS services require the square footage for listings to come from a specific and verified source. So even if you come up with your own figures, you may need to hire a professional to calculate the square footage of your house to use in your listing.
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