# Calculating Square Footage

The three most important factors that determine a home’s value are; location, square footage, and amenities (number of bedrooms, bathrooms, garages, porches, decks, patios, finishes, etc.). Of the three, location is the most important with square footage being the second most important. Knowing the square footage of the home is particularly important to most all buyers since it provides them with a convenient (although not always accurate, as you will see in this article) method for them to estimate the value of the home in comparison to other properties. Although neither the North Carolina License Law nor the North Carolina Real Estate Commission, require the reporting of the square footage of a home for sale, it is nonetheless common practice among Realtors to report it because of its widespread use among buyers (and Realtors) dividing the asking price by its square footage to arrive at the price per square foot of the property. Therefore, for the accuracy of measuring and calculating square footage, it is essential that Realtors follow the Residential Square Footage Guidelines endorsed and adopted by the North Carolina Real Estate Commission and the American National Standards Institute, Inc. (ANSI) when measuring and calculating the square footage of a home.

When Realtors input the square footage of a home in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), the two most common mistakes made by new or inexperienced agents are representing finished basement square footage as “above grade (above ground) square footage”, and finished basements and rooms with ceiling heights less than 7’, in the home’s overall “living area” (total heated/finished square footage). An important factor in accurately reporting square footage in MLS is distinguishing between “finished square footage”, “unfinished square footage”, and “living area”. In order for the total square footage to be accurately represented in MLS as “living area”, it is required to have a heat source and be finished, and have a ceiling height of at least 7’, to be counted for marketing and advertising purposes to prospective buyers.