Quick Guide For Measuring Square Footage

By: ROS Team

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People of all ages dream of either building or buying their dream house. Unfortunately, reality doesn’t always reconcile with the dream of buying property. One of the most common aspects of the disconnect comes when considering a property’s square footage.

But how is square footage calculated? In this article, we’ll take closer look at how to find square footage and why this calculation is important.

What is Included in the Square Footage Calculation?

Square footage is the total space in a building. It’s calculated by multiplying the length of a structure by its width. New York City real estate is expensive and it only gets more so as a building’s square footage increases, so be prepared to pay up! It’s also a good idea to have a general idea of the average price per square foot so that you know almost immediately whether the listed price is reasonable.

Measuring Square

Why is Square Footage Important?

Square footage is an important aspect of buying property because it provides the buyer with some insight into the amount of space they are getting.

Square footage is especially important in the insurance industry since it drives property insurance costs. When a property’s square footage is inaccurate, it can impact a buyer’s coverage.

Real estate agents sometimes assume that a property’s public record or MLS information is accurate, so they rely on the documented square footage alone instead of re-calculating it for themselves.

Insurance companies have started campaigns to educate real estate agents about the importance of accurately measuring square footage and the possible implications when it’s miscalculated.

How to Calculate Square Footage of a House or Apartment

To get the total square footage of a house or apartment, measure the square footage of each room or space and add them together.

Calculating a room’s square footage is simple: multiply the length of the room by its width. Let’s suppose a room in your house is 30 feet wide by 20 feet long. The room’s square footage would then be 30 feet x 20 feet = 600 square feet.

Let’s say your house has a bedroom, a kitchen, a TV lounge, and a drawing room. The square footage of each space is 400, 200, 500, and 450, respectively. The house’s total square feet can be calculated as: 400 + 200 + 500 + 450 = 1,550 square feet.

Calculate Square Footage of a House or Apartment

How Do Condos Stack Up Against Co-ops When it Comes to Square Footage?

Co-ops rarely provide square footage stats but sellers should consider including this information for potential buyers. Doing so helps buyers get a better sense of the unit’s available space and whether it will accommodate their needs.

Not sure of the figures?  Consider hiring a professional to calculate it for you.  Or, if there are comparable units for sale in your area that provide square footage information in their listing, use it as an estimate for yours but be sure to clearly note that the figure is just that–an estimate.

Condo listings typically include square footage information along with a unit floor plan. And, thanks to the NY Department of Finance, this information is available to the public when real estate is listed for sale.

It is More Technical Than it Seems

Square footage is not subjective. The Attorney General allows different methods for measuring it; the only requirement is that the methodology for calculating the space has to be disclosed. With that being said, developers can use the calculation method that will result in larger numbers (i.e. including a portion of the building’s common spaces such as hallways).

FAQs: How to Measure Square Footage

Can I Include the Basement when Calculating Square Footage?

A finished or unfinished basement, as a general rule, does not count against the overall square footage, especially if it is completely below ground level.

Read Also: Renting a Basement Apartment: To be or Not to be?

Why Should I Measure Square Feet?

The main reason to measure square footage is to estimate the property value. The square footage will have a direct impact on the sales price, and it may make a significant difference when advertising the property.

Another reason to measure square footage is to estimate the cost of materials for home remodeling operations such as interior painting or new floor installation.

What is Not Included in the Square Footage Calculation?

Square footage refers to the house’s finished living spaces, and not all unfinished areas are included in the calculation. Excluded areas include:

Which Tools Are Used to Calculate Square Footage?

To Calculate the Square Feet, You need the Following Tools:

  • Measuring Tape
  • Calculator
  • Pencil
  • Noting Pad

How do you Measure Square Footage in an Apartment?

To calculate your apartment’s square footage, multiply the length of each room by its width. Then add all the rooms’ square footage together to get the apartment’s total square footage. Don’t forget to Include bathrooms and closets in your calculations.

How do you Measure the Square Footage of a Building?

To calculate a building’s square footage, multiply its length measurements by its width measurements. Don’t forget to multiply this number by the number of stories if the building has more than one.

square footage price in NYC

What is the Average Price Per Square Footage in New York City?

The average price per square foot varies across the boroughs. Manhattan is the most expensive place with a PPSQ of $1,319; Brooklyn comes after that with $1,033. Queens and the Bronx are the most affordable places, with PPSQ of $540 and $342, respectively.

Final Thoughts

Don’t underestimate the importance of a property’s square footage, especially if you’re in the market to buy property in NYC. Asking the right questions, including which method was used to calculate the structure’s square footage, can provide a lot of insight into whether it will suit your needs or be worth your investment when it’s time to sell.

Related Article:

Square Footage Guide To Living From Small To Big Real Life Home
Best Price Per Square Feet in NYC – To Rent and Buy