Finished square footage

Square footage, location and condition are the big three when it comes to determining the dollar value of a home.  Getting the correct square footage using existing records on the home is not easy.  I can look in the tax records and find one number and then go in the MLS and see that the Realtor is using another number.  


Our MLS shows the measurements for homes that are on the market. Including room sizes, which floor the room is on, the foundation size, the total finished above and below ground square footages.

There are some things buyers should know:

1.   Not everything you read in the MLS is accurate, which is why if you read the fine print it will say the information is “deemed reliable but not guaranteed”.  If you need accurate measurements you might want to take your own.  If you need to challenge an appraisal or a price start by taking measurements.  

Generally agents do not deliberately misrepresent room sizes or square footages but sometimes they make mistakes and sometimes they just use the last set of measurements that were in the MLS without verifying them. 

2.   Finished Square footage is not equal.  What I mean by that is that below ground square footage is not as valuable as above ground square footage is so when looking at the totals check to see how much is above ground and how much is below.

3.  Property tax records do not always show an accurate square footage and the square footage is used in the record to calculate the value of the home.  Sometimes buyers like to use tax records as a source of information about property values.  If the square footages are wrong the value could be just as wrong.

There are rules about what can be inlcuded in finished square footage. Certianly closets, halways and bathrooms are included even though we don’t see measurements for them seperately in the MLS.  If there is a finished room that is surrounded by unfinished space we can not include it in the finished square footage.  Sometimes there will be one room finished in the basement but the space outside the room is unfinished.

It isn’t always easy to get accurate measurements.  Some rooms have irregular shapes and we are only allowed to put two measurements in the MLS for each room.  The accepted way to get the total square footage for a home is to measure the foundation.  Unfinished spaces are subtracted to get the finished square footage. . . well there is more to it than that but you get the general idea. 

**real estate is local if any of these rules apply outside of Minnesota it is purely by chance. :) 

Also see Legal Bedroom

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