House Measuring Guidelines  7/16/14
Because of a growing interest by the public in the square feet of a house and the price per square foot, REALTORS® are finding it necessary to be more accurate in their quotation of square feet of a house. This comes from the fact that the square footage is a major criterion in establishing the fair market value of a house.

Since both REALTORS® and appraisers are heavily relied upon by buyers and sellers to assist in establishing real estate values, it is imperative that guidelines be established and accuracy be practiced in house measurements. The results of inaccuracy are unhappy buyers and sellers, and may lead to court actions against those who instigated the inaccuracy.
The diagrams on this page are to be followed only as a general guideline in achieving standardization in measurements.
In taking these measurements, remember:

DO NOT include porches or patios as living space unless completely finished and heated.

DO NOT include garages in square feet calculations.

DO measure from the outside foundations, including overhanging room areas.

DO indicate the per cent (%) of finished lower levels and basements.

DO add the outside wall thickness to you measurements if you are taking your measurements from the inside.

DO use accurate measurements (round to the nearest foot) when calculating the square feet on each level

DO round off to the nearest square foot before entering square feet figure in worksheet.
 
Ranch  (any listing that does not have any upper floors-this also includes condos, apartments, etc.)

MAIN LEVEL
22 x 36.5 = 803 Square Feet
BASEMENT
22 x 36.5 = 803 Square Feet
Two Story  (or 1.5 story, or 3 story)

two story 
UPPER LEVEL
22 x 36.5 = 803 Square Feet
MAIN LEVEL
22 x 36.5 = 803 Square Feet
BASEMENT
22 x 36.5 = 803 Square Feet
Split Level:  Raised Ranch

Bi-Level 
MAIN LEVEL
  
24.25 x 42.5 = 1030.6 Square Feet

LOWER LEVEL
   24.25 x 42.5 = 1030.6 Square Feet
Split Level:  Bi-Level

Bi-Level 
UPPER LEVEL
  
24.25 x 42.5 = 1030.6 Square Feet

LOWER LEVEL
   24.25 x 42.5 = 1030.6 Square Feet
Split Level:  Tri-Level

Tri-Level 
UPPER LEVEL
   24.25 x 24 = 582 Square Feet
MAIN LEVEL
  
22 x 22.5 = 495 Square Feet
LOWER LEVEL
   24.25 x 24 = 582 Square Feet
Split Level:  Four Level (or Tri-Level w/Bsmt).  Also applies to:  5-Level or 4-Level w/Bsmt.

Four Level   
UPPER LEVEL
   42.5 x 40 = 1700 Square Feet
MAIN LEVEL
   22 x 24 = 528 Square Feet
LOWER LEVEL
   42.5 x 40 = 1700 Square Feet
BASEMENT
   22 x 24 = 528 Square Feet

Measuring Houses and Counting Rooms
American National Standard for Single-Family Residential Buildings - ANSI Z765-2003 (American National Standards Institute, Inc.)

 General:

  • Always measure the outside.

  • Include chimneys & bay windows, but not areas that don’t have floor levels, or where you can’t stand – 5’ minimum.

  • Always measure each floor, & watch for overhangs and recessed areas.

  • Do not include the attached garage; use the interior wall of the garage next to the house as the outside wall of the house.

  • Include the stairs on every level they serve.

  • Exclude openings to the floors below.

  • Measure each level of a split-level. Multiple floors can be combined into one level if they are within two feet of each other.

  • Unfinished areas above-grade must be counted separately.

Basements and Below-Grade Floor Areas:

Above-grade includes all finished square footage which is entirely above ground level.

Below-grade includes areas which are wholly or partly below ground level.

Disregard any rules-of-thumb or local custom that allow you to include below-grade areas if less than 5’ below ground level, if a walk-out, or if less than ½ of the area is below grade. Even if the below-grade area is fully finished, it is not part of the finished, above-grade, floor area.

Low Ceilings, Attics and Lofts:

  • Level ceilings must be 7’ high, and at lease 6’4” under beams, ducts and other obstructions. (There are no height restrictions under stairs.)

  • Sloped ceilings – ½ must be at least 7’ high, & you can include all area more than 5’ high.

  • Lofts & finished attics must be accessible by a conventional stairway or other acceptable access. If you need to use a ladder, it’s NOT part of the finished square footage, no matter how big, & regardless of the ceiling height.

Detached Rooms and Guest Cottages:

If not connected by an enclosed, finished hallway, they must be counted separately; this includes finished rooms above a garage.

Room Counts:

Generally, a room is used for “living”, such as a: 

            Kitchen, Bedroom, Living Room, Family Room, Den, & Dining Room.

Bathrooms, laundry rooms, sun rooms, lofts, closets, storage rooms, utility rooms, enclosed porches and patios, foyers & entryways are not usually considered to be “rooms”.

If an eating area, whether formal or informal, can have a wall installed and be a separate room, it can be a Dining Room, otherwise it’s a Dining Area.

Bedrooms:

Should be at least 70 square feet.

Bedrooms must have two forms of egress, and one must be a window or a door leading to the outside. (Can’t walk through one bedroom to get to another.) If not, it’s something else, but not a bedroom.

Bathrooms:

Local custom defines bathrooms, but generally:

  • ¼ bath has 1 fixture,

  • ½ bath has 2 fixtures,

  • ¾ bath has 3 fixtures (either shower or tub, but not combo),

  • Full bath has 4 or more fixtures, or combo shower/tub.

In most markets, ¾ baths are generally considered to be full baths.