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Square Footage

Q - What is included in the square footage of a listed home? Balcony? Garage? Unfinished basement?

A - Essentially the square footage should include only those areas which are liveable.  The criteria for 'liveable' means that the room is heated, has windows and often, it also means, that it's insulated.

A balcony does not fit this criteria even though it may be enclosed.  Similarly, a garage doesn't fit the criteria either even though there are garages which have been rudimentarily converted to 'living' space.

As for an unfinished basement, it is unfinished even though there may be furnishings in that area and it may well be set up to accommodate a household member.  Nevertheless, it should not be counted in the finished square footage.

In order, to relate the extent of the space available in a house, some listings allow for a category of 'unfinished' square footage or it can be included in the comments of the listing. This conveys the information that there is potential to enlarge the living space of the home at some future date.

It is, nevertheless, inappropriate to include the balcony or the garage in the 'unfinished' square footage.  Garages and balconies should continue to be described as such.

Measuring a home accurately is an art.  Many real estate agents provide square footage information but it tends to be an approximate partly due to the manner of measurement and also because these figures are rounded off to the nearest foot.   If you have certain furnishings that require a particular fit, bring along your own tape measure to be sure that the home can adequately accommodate your needs.

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