Friday, September 2, 2011

ANSI Standards

You would be surprised how many times I am questioned about the square footage (SQFT) of a home.  As Real Estate appraisers, we are required to measure homes based off American National Standards Institute (ANSI) guidelines.  Hopefully, I can put some of these questions to rest by explaining some of the most common misconceptions.

“Why is my SQFT so low?  We just added a sun room.”  Depending on how you plan the addition of your room will determine if it can be added as SQFT.  The area must be accessible through a finished portion of the home and must be a four season room (heated and cooled).  Recreation rooms, bonus rooms and sun rooms that come off unfinished portions of the home (i.e.  garages) do not meet ANSI standards.

“Why wasn’t the SQFT in the basement included?”  It actually was considered in the final opinion of value, just as a separate component from the above grade SQFT.  When we input the data into our reports, we use the above grade SQFT and the amount of the basement that is finished.  This is a technical point which we sometimes depart from when dealing with berm homes.  The above grade SQFT, basement, and the portion of the basement that is finished are all adjusted separately. 

“Why wasn’t that room considered in the SQFT?”  In order to be considered in the SQFT, the room must meet two requirements.  First, the room must be habitable (which mean finished walls, ceiling and floor).  Next, the room has to have utility.  In order to have utility, it must serve a purpose that people want, which would include closets and storage spaces. 

Let me wrap up by tying off a few loose ends.  Staircases can only be counted once, so they are excluded from the second floor.  Ceiling heights need to be at least 7’ with a few exceptions.  If the room is habitable, has utility and is connected by a finished portion of the home, then it may be included in the SQFT. 

I’ve attached a link to the ANSI document that will shed light on the details that I’ve outlined in this article.  Again, these are the most common questions I hear on a regular basis about the SQFT of homes, and I hope I’ve answered them.  If you have any more questions, please post a comment and I’ll do my best to answer it for you.   

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