Nearly anyone looking to buy a home would want a garage, but for most, it is not used as a main living space, so when you see the square footage of a home, you have to wonder if it is counting the garage or not.
So, are garages part of square footage? No, garages aren’t considered part of the livable space inside a home, and therefore, the garage doesn’t count as part of the overall square footage for the home.
There are a lot of factors that come into play when it comes to how square footage is calculated for a home. If you are thinking about purchasing a home or selling your home, keep reading! We have all of the important information you need to know about square footage before you start.
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Does a Garage Count as Square Footage?
It might be a shock that garages don’t count for the overall square footage for a home, but they aren’t considered livable space. It doesn’t matter if the garage is attached to the home or if the garage is a detached garage, it won’t count toward the square footage of the home.
What if You Convert the Garage?
Some people may be wondering if they convert their garage into a bedroom or living space if that would change the way the garage is viewed when it comes to listing a home. The answer to that is yes, in most cases. If you have the proper permits need by your county to convert your garage into a livable space, you can convert your garage and count the area as part of your square footage.
Square Footage: What Is and Isn’t Included
Although you should always hire a professional to calculate the square footage of your home, it’s always a good idea to have a basic understanding of what is included and not included in the listing. Appraisal IQ has a great list of what is included and not included when calculating square footage.
This information is based on an appraisal company located in Texas. The requirements of what counts toward square footage and what doesn’t could vary from state to state. However, most states are going to be the same or very similar to what is listed in this article.
What appraisers included when calculating the square footage of home:
- The biggest thing that appraisers include when looking at what can be counted toward square footage, interior livable spaces. This includes any living rooms, bedrooms, and bathrooms.
- If you have an enclosed patio that is heated the same way that your home is, your patio could be counted toward your overall square footage. The patio has to have a similar structure and quality as the rest of your home.
- When it comes to attics, they can count toward your square footage if they are finished and have a total of seven feet in clearance from the floor to the ceiling. If the space is livable and not just a room used to store old Christmas decorations, the appraisal company might include the room. When you convert an attic into livable space, it’s no longer considered an attic and more of a bedroom or multi-purpose living area.
- The appraiser will also include all closets located within the interior of your home if your home has a utility room, and staircases are part of the final numbers.
- If your garage is attached to your home and you have a living area separate from the garage above the garage, that area will count toward your square footage.
What appraisers do not include when calculating the square footage of a home:
- If your patio is open or has only a screen as part of the walls, you can’t include it within the home’s square footage. As listed above, the only way you can include a patio is if it is finished and is livable space with heat.
- We already touched on whether or not garages count as square footage, and they don’t. Now, if you have converted your garage into a livable space and it no longer has the function or ability to hold a vehicle, you can count that space as part of the overall home square footage.
- Your appraiser will also not count any unfinished areas of the home regardless of where the area is located.
- If your home has a large open airway, it won’t count. This includes areas above the stairs on the second floor.
- The biggest debate on square footage is probably the basement. A lot of people finish a basement and use it as a livable space. However, the basement is not included in the square footage of the home. It will be listed differently on the home listing. Always include that you have a basement, and if the basement is finished or partly finished, include that with the information on the basement.
- If you have any outbuildings that are not attached directly to your home, they do not count. This would include storage sheds that are used for multiple purposes, pool houses, or any kind of guest house that is separate from the main house. You will want to list these buildings as extra space that is available when you are listing your home, just remember, that they are not officially part of the square footage of the house.
- If a room requires you to leave the main house to access the area, you cannot count that area as part of your square footage.
Remember, things can vary from state to state based on the requirements they set on home listings and what can or can’t count. If you are going to be listing a home, make sure you check with your state’s specific requirements to make sure you are listing the appropriate spaces when listing your home.
Do You Measure Square Footage Inside or Outside?
In most cases, the appraiser will calculate the overall square footage of the home from the outside of the house. This is why your numbers from the inside may not match with what is calculated from outside. They have to take into account the thickness of the walls, and that will add to the square footage total versus what you have calculated on the inside of your home.
Who Should Calculate the Square Footage of a Home?
If you are going to be listing your home, make sure you are listing your home with the correct square footage. It might seem like it can be an easy task, but not just anyone should be calculating the square footage.
The homeowner or real estate agent shouldn’t be the ones to calculate the square footage of the home they are listing. You are going to want to hire a professional to make sure it is done correctly. A licensed home appraiser is a person that you should call to come out and measure your home for the listing. They know exactly what they can and can’t count, and the official way to do it.
If you are looking to list your home or you are in the market to purchase a new home, make sure you are paying close attention to the listing. That is where you are going to see the home’s square footage. If you see that the home has a finished basement or standard garage, remember that those spaces do not count toward the square footage on the listing.
If you ever have any questions about your home and if something will count toward your square footage, make sure you check your state’s requirements or reach out to a local appraiser to find out any additional information.
Image credits: Image by Mad House Photography