How to Measure and
Calculate Residential Square Footage
Make a Sketch of the Home
Getting it Down on Paper
Inaccurately reported square footage is the subject of
numerous complaints made each year to state real estate
commissions. A small percentage of cases involve willful
misrepresentation (knowingly giving incorrect information), but
a larger number of complaints occur simply because agents and
sellers don't know how to measure a home's square footage.
If your state real estate commission has not established square
footage guidelines, the following recommendations for North
Carolina agents might be of help, because they are based on
widely accepted standards.
People who follow standard guidelines and document their
measuring procedures are better equipped to defend their
calculations if a complaint is filed.
Measure the House
1. Starting at an exterior corner, measure the length of all
walls. Round measurements to the nearest inch.
2. Make a sketch of the home's perimeter, recording all
3. If you must measure some areas from inside, add six inches
for an exterior wall and four inches for an interior wall.
Determine Finished Living Areas
- Must be space intended for human occupancy.
- Must be heated by a conventional, permanent heating system.
- Must have walls, floors and ceilings of materials generally
accepted for interior construction.
- Must be directly accessible from another finished area. That
means a finished room accessed through any unfinished space
cannot be counted as finished square feet.
Mark all unfinished areas on your sketch.
Essential Home Selling Preparations
Setting the Sales Price
Reasons Why Homes Don't Sell
How to Measure and Calculate Residential Square Footage