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Ask Attyadvisor Your Own Question
Attyadvisor, Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 6710
Experience:  29 years of experience in General Practice, Real Estate Law and Estate Law.
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Can we count the square footage of a suite which is attached

Customer Question

Can we count the square footage of a suite which is attached to the house but has a separate entrance to the overall house footage?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 1 year ago.
Is this a follow up to a previous question?
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 1 year ago.
The lot size itself is what is measured. How large is your lot?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It is not the lot size, that is not the point.Bad answer.
It is the square footage of the house plus the square footage of the attached suite with a separate entrance but not through the house.
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 1 year ago.
I apologize you are a different question. Let me find the attorney that was helping you.
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 1 year ago.
I do not see that you were working with anyone else. You will want to check with the county assessor. They can tell you exactly what square footage counts and this would be very hard to dispute as this is not only government record you are paying taxes based on the square footage the assessor is counting. Which county in California is your property located in?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It is in Marin county
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 1 year ago.
Perfect. Let me pull up the link for you.
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 1 year ago.
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 1 year ago.
“One of the most confusing and misleading metrics in the home building and home selling business is area — the “size” of a house.The problem is that there’s no adopted standard; everyone measures it differently. There has been a move in the past few years to create a universal standard like the one architects use (specified in AIA contracts), but it isn’t mandatory and isn’t yet widely used.Many state boards of real estate specify a process to measure house area, but it’s a recommendation, not a requirement. So “house area” means different things to different people.The one thing that is always true is that area is never measured from the inside of the walls; the area of a house always includes all wall thicknesses interior and exterior.Gross areaNot surprisingly, builders and real estate agents often want to show the largest number they can, so they sometimes measure the entire perimeter of the house on both floors. They may or may not include porches, stairs and two-story spaces. Because you don’t know their basis, it can be very hard to compare one house to another.A relatively impartial source is your county auditor or assessor. They calculate the size of the house for tax purposes and therefore measure all houses the same way. And although their measurements aren’t always a true reflection of the size of the house, they use the same protocol, so it’s easier to compare one house to another.But county records show only the gross areas contained within the perimeter of the foundation, which doesn’t accurately reflect the “livable” space within.Defining separate spacesA better way is to list areas separately, rather than combining them into one number; that’s the way we calculate areas at our office: We first measure the perimeter of the house at the exterior wall sheathing — not the siding or brick, just the framing — on both floors.Next we subtract the upper part of any two-story spaces and deduct the area of stairs on the second floor (they’ve already been counted on the first floor).Spaces that are less than 6 feet high aren’t counted in the “main” number (areas with sloped ceilings). Instead, we list those areas separately.In fact, we show a listing of square foot areas that lets you know where the areas are being counted from, something like this:First floor: 1,500 square feetSecond floor: 1,000 square feetSubtotal heated areas: 2,500 square feetFinished basement: 800 square feetTotal heated areas: 3,300 square feetScreened porch: 200 square feetOpen porches: 200 square feetGarage: 600 square feetTotal unheated areas: 1,000 square feetTo simply say that this house is 3,300 square feet or 4,300 square feet, or 4,700 square feet (if you include upper volumes and stairs) would be misleading. It’s more informative to say it’s a 2,500-square-foot house with a screened porch, garage and finished basement.The best you can do right now (other than measuring it yourself) is to ask the builder or selling agent their basis for measurement. You need to know exactly what’s included in that number if you’re comparing homes based on size.”
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 1 year ago.
The best way to determine square footage is through an appraiser and checking with the assessor's office. Common mistakes occur as many owners are unaware that"Although a garage is attached to the home, it is not considered part of the home's square footage. That is because only livable space is considered in the square footage calculation.Calculating the square footage of a home is not as easy as it sounds. Neither real estate agents nor homeowners should attempt the calculation (at least not if you want a reliable figure). Rarely are houses perfectly square, which is one reason for the difficulty. Appraisers map out the house on a piece of graph paper, calculate all the edges, come up with "mini-areas" for each rectangle - then add them all together.Plus, there are other intricate rules. If there has been an addition to the house and the owner did not receive a building permit, then that section of the house may not be allowable as part of the square footage. The same with attic and basement conversions, lofts, and so on.It is best to rely on a licensed appraiser to recalculate the square footage of a house."
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 1 year ago.
Nothing. Just asking this question, because of the statement of our real estate agent who says the square footage does not count fully. It is however a beautiful generously sized room with lots of windows and an adjacent bathroom.Can we count the square footage of a suite which is attached to the house but has a separate entrance to the overall house footage? It is livable space and if the assessor is charging you property taxes based on that square footage being included it is included. Please accept my apologies again I thought you were my follow up question. Please do not hesitate to ask me any additional questions that you may have with regard to this matter. It would be my pleasure to continue to assist you. If you would be kind enough to rate my service positively so I will receive credit for my work I would appreciate it. Thank you for using JA! We appreciate your business.
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 1 year ago.
Are you still with me?
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 1 year ago.
Were you able to confirm the square footage with the assessor?