In the State of Louisiana our Real Estate Commission has a mandatory course each year that real estate licensees need to take to renew their real estate license and this year that course was on how to measure a house. It isn’t as easy or difficult as it might seem but after taking this course we agents will all be doing it the same way…prior to these standards it was possible to correctly measure a house several different ways and get different square footage amounts and they were all correct or not inaccurate. One house I measured had a lot of large dead spaces between the interior and exterior walls and so the house appeared smaller than the measurement indicated.
The first question is what is considered living area? Or should we use finished area instead of living area? Well that was not defined by our National Association or by the Appraisal Foundation. The Air Force has a definition for Net Living Area – should we all use that? No. Until 1996 there was no nationwide standard for measuring square footage in single family homes. Now after this mandatory course we will be following the standards set by the American National Standards Institute or ANSI..these standards only apply to detached single family houses and attached single family houses. Condo’s are not classified as a single family houses and different criteria apply to them.
Measured square footage has to have a particular ceiling height, has to have certain finishes for floors. Rooms with concrete floors would not be included if painted but if “finished” they can be included. Rooms with ceiling heights under 7 feet would not be included except in certain cases. Areas included must be under one roof unless an area is connected by a finished area and so on. Wall thickness counts and now we have a national standard for what number to use – on second floors.
The correct square footage is so important because loads of people in New Orleans use a price / square foot to price homes. If you bought your house thinking it was a certain square footage it is possible when the ANSI standards are used the number will be different. Both numbers may be correct..
It is not so easy to correctly measure houses.