In a previous post, we discussed the gross living area (GLA) in assessing a homes measurement. Now, let’s look at a few specific examples of unique property features that may be included in finished square footage calculations. These special characteristics are only covered under ANSI standards as Fannie Mae does not have these in-depth measurement guidelines.
Three Unique Property Features
Openings to the Floor Below
Openings to the floor below cannot be included in the square footage calculation. However, the area of both stair treads and landings proceeding to the floor below is included in the finished area of the floor from which the stairs descend, not to exceed the area of the opening in the floor.
Ceiling Height Requirements
To be included in the finished square footage calculations, finished areas must have a ceiling height of at least 7 feet (2.13 meters) except under beams, ducts, and other obstructions where the height may be 6 feet 4 inches (1.93 meters), under stairs where there is no specified height requirement, or where the ceiling is sloped. If a room’s ceiling is sloped, at least one-half of the finished square footage in that room must have a vertical ceiling of at least 7 feet (2.13 meters); no portion of the finished area that has a height of less than 5 feet (1.52 meters) may be included in finished square footage. See below;
Finished Areas Connected to the House
Finished areas that are connected to the main body of the house by other finished areas such as hallways or stairways are included in the finished square footage or the floor that is at the same level. Finished areas that are not connected to the house in such a manner cannot be included in the finished square footage of any level.
What is Finished Square Footage – and What Isn’t?
Please note that ANSI defines finished square footage as “an enclosed area suitable for year-round use, embodying floors, walls, and ceilings that are similar to the rest of the house.” Garages, chimneys, and windows that “protrude beyond the exterior finished surface of the outside walls and do not have a floor on the same level” cannot be included in square footage measurements.
So, now that we have covered how to measure gross living area as well as some unique property features included in finished square footage calculations, you should be well on your way to understanding and assessing a homes measurement.