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How to Figure Out the Square Footage of a Home

Sep 10, 2019

Whether you’re in the market to buy a home or you’re looking to sell yours first, one key concept that will come up again and again is square footage.

It might seem like calculating square footage couldn’t be simpler, but as you’re about to see, there are some vital details you must consider when it comes to real estate.

How to Calculate the Square Footage of a Home

To calculate the square footage of a home, start by dividing it up into rectangular rooms. If there are nonrectangular areas, we’ll cover how to address those in a moment.

For the rectangular areas, all you need to do is multiply the width by the length.

So, if a room is 20 feet by 40 feet, the square footage would be 800 feet.

Do this for every room in the house, and then add them all together for your total square footage.

Exclude Unfinished Areas

If you’re calculating the square footage of your home because you want to put it on the market, be sure you’re only including the “finished” areas of your house.

In other words, only areas that are heated and cooled in the same way as the rest of your house can go toward the total.

For example, you may have a sizable screened-in porch, but if you don’t heat it in the winters, it can’t be included when you measure your square footage. Therefore, if you’re thinking about selling soon, you may want to enclose and heat your porch to up your square footage and your home’s perceived value.

Basements are a bit trickier because they are only considered finished – and, thus, their square footage can be included in the home’s total – if they are:

  • Heated and cooled in the same way the rest of the house is
  • Connected to the main floor with an entrance door
  • Floored or carpeted like the rest of the house

Finished areas also only count toward your total square footage if they’re attached to your home. Pool houses, sheds, and garages can all be listed separately, but they can’t go toward your actual house’s overall square footage if they aren’t attached.

How to Figure Out the Square Footage of Non-Rectangular Rooms

If you have a room that’s not a perfect rectangle – maybe it has a square area attached – just divide it into separate rectangles, calculate the square footage for each of them, and add up their totals like you would with the rest of your house.

However, some homes have areas that aren’t rectangular.

How to Figure Out the Square Footage of a Semicircle

For example, you could have a semicircle coming off of a room to give a panoramic view of the surrounding area.

In that case, measure the line that makes up the straight portion of the semicircle.

Then, divide it by two, so you have the radius (r).

Plug that number into the equation for a circle’s area: πr2.

Finally, divide the answer by two.

So, if you measure the straight line and it equals 10 feet, you’d divide that by 2, getting 5 feet.

After you square 5 feet, you’d have 25 feet and then, multiplying it by π, you’d arrive at 78.54 feet. Divide that by 2 and you have your square footage for the semicircular space: 39.27 feet.

How to Figure Out the Square Footage of a Triangular Space

Does the house in question include a triangular space?

In that case, turn the triangle into a right triangle by starting at the tallest point and cutting it down the middle (if it’s already a right triangle, skip that step).

Then, multiply the height by the base and divide that number by two. That’s it. That’s the square footage of the triangular space.

If you had to cut your triangle in half, just find the square footage for both and add them together.

How Does Your Home’s Square Footage Compare?

After you’ve calculated the square footage of your home – or the one you’re interested in purchasing – it’s only natural that you’ll then wonder, “How does my home’s square footage compare to others?”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median size of a newly built single-family house in 2017 was 2,426 square feet.

The median differs significantly by region, though:

  • Northeast: 2,488 sq. ft.
  • Midwest: 2,254 sq. ft.
  • South: 2,480 sq. ft.
  • West: 2,398 sq. ft.

Square Footage: Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Many house hunters treat square footage as one of the most important factors when looking for a home.

After all, the more square footage you have, the more home you have, and who doesn’t want that?

If two homes are priced the same but one has significantly greater square footage, many buyers would assume that’s clearly the superior property.

This is why it’s important to keep in mind that square footage only tells part of the story. Just because a house is large doesn’t mean it’s going to make for a good home.

For example, some houses have large square footages because of their common areas but only two bedrooms. The extra space might be attractive to some people until they realize they have three kids.

Likewise, you probably won’t enjoy living in a large home if it means living in a loud or dangerous neighborhood.

A large house could also mean you don’t have much of a yard, a major drawback if you had hoped to install a pool or put a fence in for your dogs.

So, while you should definitely consider the square footage of a home, don’t let it play the biggest role in your decision. Among other factors, consider what you could do with the available space.

Need Help Finding Enough Square Footage in a Home?

As you can see, calculating square footage – and what that number means – isn’t as straightforward as it might seem.

Nonetheless, it’s important to get the number right when selling your house and understanding what it entails when buying one.

That’s where an experienced real estate agent can help. Find yours through SimpleShowing and enjoy all of the benefits of selling with a 1% real estate agent.

Likewise, if you’re in the market to buy a home, use our platform and take advantage of our amazing Buyer Refund program. You could receive up to $15,000 back after purchasing your new house with a SimpleShowing Agent.

Contact us today to learn more about how SimpleShowing is making it easier than ever to buy and sell homes.