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On Rooms and Square Footage: Keep This in Mind When Selling Your Home

John Welch Georgia Real Estate_On Rooms and Square Footage

Have you ever wondered how to count the rooms in your house or figure the square footage? According to the American National Standard Institute for appraisers, they will count the total number of rooms in your house, then the number of bedrooms, and then the number of bathrooms. Laundry rooms, breakfast areas, foyers, and bathrooms do not count towards the total room count. So if you have three bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room, a family room, and a dinning room, you would have a 7 room house. If you have two full bathrooms, your house would be listed as (7-3-2) or 7 total rooms, 3 bedrooms, and 2 bathrooms.

To qualify as a bedroom, it must be at least 100 square feet, have a closet, a window (big enough and low enough to crawl out of in case of a fire, etc.), a close-able door and it must be heated and cooled and finished to the same quality as the rest of the house. In addition, it must be above grade (so if it is in the basement, it doesn’t count) and it must have ready access to a FULL bathroom ( a shower or tub, a sink, and a toilet). Access can’t be through another bedroom. You could call it an office or den, but not a bedroom.

The number of rooms, and the square footage are two of the parameters you often see in a house listing. Unfortunately, the square footage is so often an erroneous figure that real estate agents usually don’t use it to figure comparable homes. Plus, the quality of the square foot can vary greatly depending on the materials used. For a single family residence, an appraiser will measure the outside dimensions (though not on condominiums) of the finished area (an enclosed area of the house suitable for year-round use with walls, floors, and ceilings similar to the rest of the house) Garages are specifically excluded. Basements have value but are treated differently.

A real estate agent is not supposed to measure for square footage and will often rely on tax records so they are not responsible for any errors. If you think your house is listed inaccurately, you can appeal to the tax office, but remember if the square footage goes up, your taxes may too.


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