To think that I always choose snarky comments for the “Comment du Jour” would be silly. As I always say, the comments are full of information, but I know not all of you read or follow them. So…a reader (FogCityBrit) provides a horses mouth (City Assessor) account of calculating square footage: (An update on Chelsea would be nice too, you know.)
Having recently finished construction on a ground up new single family, I had occasion to discuss how the ‘tax’ sqft (I presume this is what is listed on the MLS) is calculated by the City assessors office. Here is my question and their response:
Q. Do you have guidelines on calculating the sqft? is it the gross area
(i.e. to the outside extent of the envelope)? Should voids be deducted?
A. For detached houses, measure from the exterior face of the walls.
· For attached units (i.e. – townhouses and side-by-side duplexes), use
the centerlines of the common walls as the outside dimension. It may be
easier to measure from the inside surface wall and add 6 inches to account
for the common walls on both sides.
· For condominium units, measure from the inside surface wall since the
airspace is what is being purchased. Remember to include the partition
walls within the condominium unit as part of the GLA.
· Begin measuring from any corner and work your way around the house.
· Measure to the nearest inch.
· Draw a separate floor plan for each level in the house. Do not assume
that each floor is identical.
· “Square the house” by checking whether the measurements of parallel
sides of the structure are equivalent. The total front building measurement
should equal the total rear measurement. The total left-side measurement
should equal the total right-side measurement. Minor discrepancies may be
due to the corners of the structure not being at perfect right angles.
Exclusions from the finished area:
· Attached garages – Use the interior wall surface of the garage next
to the house as the outside wall of the house.
· Openings to the floor below – Subtract the opening from that level.
· Exclude porches and converted garages that are not finished or
considered habitable living area.
· Chimneys that protrude beyond the exterior surface are not included.
— Houses are described by their total room count. For example, the
shorthand designation 5/2/2 describes a house with 5 rooms, 2 bedrooms and 2 baths:
· In general, a kitchen, bedroom, living room, dining room, den, or
office study is a room. Bathrooms, laundry rooms, sunrooms, and storage
rooms are not counted as a room.
· A bedroom should have a door, a window that provides for an emergency
exit, natural light and ventilation. In modern homes, a bedroom always has
a closet. In many older homes, closets were not included.
· A full bathroom includes a toilet, sink, a bathtub and/or shower. If
the bathroom only has a toilet and sink, it is a ½ bath. If it only has a
toilet, it is a ¼ bath.
— Attics, Lofts and Low Ceilings:
· Level ceilings must be at least 7 feet high. If a room has a sloped
ceiling, at least one-half of the finished floor area must have a ceiling
height of at least 7 feet. Otherwise, omit the entire room from the total
· Lofts and finished attics must be accessible by a conventional
stairway or other access. If you need to reach the loft by climbing a
ladder, then it is not part of the finished area.
— Guest Cottages, Detached Rooms:
· Finished areas that are not connected to the main residence by a
finished hall or stairway must be listed separately. If you have to leave
the house to get to the room, it is not part of the finished area.