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Finished Square Feet

September 28, 2019

NorthstarMLS details above and below ground finished square footage, where finished is defined as areas with finished flooring, wall covering and ceiling.  Any finished sq ft should also have permanent, sufficient heating and adequate ceiling height:

Above Ground Finished Square Footage:
Total finished square footage measured at and above ground level as it appears from the front view of the building.

Main Floor Total Square Footage:
Total finished square footage on the main floor only. Do not include 3-season porches or any outside amenities, even if covered – porches, decks, patios, Etc. For a split level include the entry/foyer area.

Below Ground Finished Square Footage:
Measured below ground level as it appears from the front view of the building.

Garage Square Feet: Not Required for Condominium Style

Total square feet of the entire garage. Do not include add-on portions, such as loft or upper level. The purpose is to help the buyers determine the number and size of vehicles/items that will fit. Also, see Garage Stalls  for further information.

“Total” square footage fields count both finished and unfinished square feet.

Tips for measuring from measurement seminar:

  • Don’t include 3 season porches or any area without heat
  • Make sure interior of home makes sense according to exterior and the foundation size

Ceiling Heights:

Level ceilings must be at least 7 feet high, and at least 6 feet 4 inches under beams, ducts and
other obstructions. There is no height restriction under stairs. If a room has a sloped ceiling, at
least one-half of the finished floor area must have a ceiling height of at least 7 feet. Otherwise,
omit the entire room from the floor area calculations. If a room with a sloped ceiling meets the
one-half-of-floor-area-over-7-feet requirement, then include all the floor space with a ceiling height over 5 feet.  Lofts and finished attics must be accessible by a conventional stairway or other access to be counted. If you can only reach the loft by climbing a ladder or going outside, it’s not part of the finished floor area regardless of the ceiling height.

Secondary Structures:

Fully Finished secondary structures such as a carriage house or pool house (with permanent sufficient heating) may be included in the total finished square footage field.  However, the size of the secondary structure must be included in remarks or supplements because appraiser may need to know the size of the secondary unit for valuations.

Is this Floor finished?

Agents often ask if a cement floor is considered finished.  It is important to consider intent, design, and ensuring accurate representations under the law and REALTOR Code of Ethics.  In a condo example, a glossy cement floor was designed and finished to look like that, so the representation that the condo floor is finished would likely hold up to a claim of misrepresentation.  In the case of a basement where the walls and ceiling are finished but the cement floor remains, it may be more difficult to defend that space as finished.  An appraiser could likely give more specific example of what would and would not be acceptable in different municipalities or to different lenders.  Your brokerage may have direction too to avoid a claim of misrepresentation when representing that a basement is finished square footage.

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