# Average House Size: Length and Width Explained

Did you know that the average size of a home in the United States has been steadily increasing over the years? Despite the rise of the tiny house trend, the typical house size has been on the rise since the 1970s.

In 1973, the median new single-family house was 1,525 square feet. By 2010, it had increased to 2,169 square feet, and in 2018, the average size was 2,435 square feet. This significant increase reflects the evolving needs and preferences of homeowners across the country.

Understanding the dimensions of a house and how they contribute to its overall size is essential for various purposes, from determining property value to obtaining building permits. Let’s explore how to measure the square footage of a house and the importance of accurate measurements in the real estate market.

### Key Takeaways:

• The average size of a home in the United States has been steadily increasing since the 1970s.
• In 1973, the median new single-family house was 1,525 square feet.
• By 2018, the average size of a home had increased to 2,435 square feet.
• Accurate measurements of square footage are crucial for determining property value and setting the right asking price.
• The dimensions of a house contribute to its overall size and livable square footage.

## How to Measure the Square Footage of a House

Knowing how to measure the square footage of a house is essential for various reasons, whether you’re a homeowner, real estate agent, or appraiser. By accurately measuring and calculating the square footage, you can determine the value of a property, plan renovations, or even obtain building permits. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to measure the square footage of a house:

1. Create a Floor Plan: Start by sketching a floor plan of the house. This will serve as a visual representation of the layout and help you keep track of the measurements.
2. Measure Room Length and Width: Go room by room and measure the length and width of each space. Use a tape measure to ensure accurate measurements. Record the measurements for each room.
3. Calculate Room Square Footage: Multiply the length and width of each room to get the square footage of that particular room. For example, if a room measures 10 feet by 12 feet, the square footage would be 120 square feet.
4. Sum Up the Room Square Footage: Add up the square footage of all the rooms in the house to determine the total square footage. This will give you an overall measurement of the house.

If you have a house with complex shapes or irregular room layouts, there are online square footage calculators available that can help simplify the process. These calculators allow you to input the dimensions of each room and automatically calculate the square footage for you.

It’s worth mentioning that square footage measurements generally include only the finished, heated, and livable areas of the house. Spaces like garages, basements, and attics that are not suitable for everyday living may be excluded from the total square footage.

For a visual representation, here’s an example of how to measure the square footage of a two-bedroom house:

RoomLength (ft)Width (ft)Square Footage (ft²)
Living Room1518270
Kitchen1012120
Master Bedroom1214168
Guest Bedroom1010100
Total658

Remember, accurate square footage measurements are crucial for various real estate purposes. Whether you’re buying, selling, or renovating a house, knowing the exact square footage will help you make informed decisions and ensure fair transactions.

## What is Considered Livable Square Footage?

Livable square footage refers to the spaces in a home that can be “lived” in. It includes finished rooms that are heated and cooled, such as bedrooms, bathrooms, living rooms, and kitchens. These are the areas of the house where people spend most of their time and carry out daily activities. Livable square footage provides a practical measure of the usable space within a home and plays a significant role in determining its functionality and value.

When determining livable square footage, certain areas of the house are typically excluded. Unfinished spaces like basements, garages, attics, and storage areas are not considered part of the livable square footage. These spaces may have different uses or may require additional work to make them suitable for everyday living. The focus is on including areas that are finished, accessible, and designed for regular occupancy.

Specific criteria for what is considered livable square footage may vary depending on local regulations and the standards followed by appraisers and real estate professionals. However, the general rule is to exclude areas that are not suitable for everyday living.

In addition to finished rooms, other factors that contribute to livable square footage include ceiling height, natural lighting, and the overall flow and functionality of the space. These factors can impact the livability and desirability of a home, influencing its market value and appeal to potential buyers.

It’s important to note that livable square footage is different from the “gross living area” or “gross floor area.” The gross living area encompasses all enclosed spaces in a home, including finished and unfinished areas. This measurement is often used for building permits, zoning regulations, and overall property assessment.

### Key takeaways:

• Livable square footage includes finished rooms that are heated and cooled, such as bedrooms and bathrooms.
• Unfinished spaces like basements and garages are typically not considered part of the livable square footage.
• Specific criteria for livable square footage may vary depending on local regulations and standards.
• Gross living area includes all enclosed spaces in a home, including both finished and unfinished areas.

Understanding what is considered livable square footage is essential for homeowners, buyers, and real estate professionals. It helps in accurately assessing a property’s value, determining its functionality, and making informed decisions in the real estate market.

## Different Standards for Measuring Square Footage

The square footage of a house can be measured using different standards and guidelines. These standards ensure consistency in measuring and reporting the size of properties. Let’s take a look at a few widely recognized measuring square footage standards and guidelines:

### National American Standards Institute (ANSI)

The ANSI standard is often used for calculating the square footage of detached single-family homes. According to ANSI, the square footage is determined by adding up the finished square footage of each level of the house. This includes areas with ceilings at least 7 feet high and excludes areas like unfinished basements.

### Multiple Service Listings (MLS)

When it comes to determining a home’s primary livable square footage, Multiple Service Listings (MLS) provide essential information. MLS is a database used by real estate professionals, and it typically includes details such as the property’s permitted livable square footage, which is the area suitable for everyday living.

### Different Standards for Different Property Types

It’s important to note that different standards may apply to various property types. For example, attached single-family homes or townhouses may have distinct guidelines for measuring square footage compared to detached single-family homes.

Understanding these measuring square footage standards and guidelines is vital to ensure accurate and consistent measurements of the size of properties.

“Consistency in measuring and reporting square footage is crucial for property transactions and ensuring transparency in the real estate industry.”

## Hiring a Professional to Measure Square Footage

If measuring square footage seems complicated, hiring a professional appraiser is a good option. An appraiser can provide an accurate and official square footage measurement for a fee. This can help avoid errors that could impact the sale of a home. Tax documents are not always reliable for square footage measurements, as they are based on builders’ plans that may have changed during construction.

When it comes to measuring the square footage of a house, it’s important to ensure accuracy and reliability. Professional appraisers have the necessary expertise and knowledge to measure square footage in a precise and standardized manner. They are trained to follow industry guidelines and use professional equipment to obtain accurate measurements.

By hiring an appraiser for square footage measurement, homeowners can avoid potential misinterpretations and discrepancies. Appraisers can provide an official measurement that is recognized and accepted by lenders, real estate agents, and other professionals in the industry. This can help streamline the buying and selling process and provide peace of mind to all parties involved.

“Hiring a professional appraiser for square footage measurement can help ensure accuracy and avoid errors that could impact the sale of a home.”

Additionally, appraisers can provide valuable insights and advice regarding the overall condition and market value of a property. They have extensive knowledge of the real estate market and can assess various factors that contribute to a property’s value. This information can be particularly useful for homeowners who are planning to sell their property or for buyers who want to make an informed purchasing decision.

### Benefits of Hiring a Professional Appraiser:

• Accurate and official square footage measurement
• Avoidance of errors that could impact the sale of a home
• Recognition and acceptance by lenders and real estate professionals
• Insights and advice regarding the market value of a property
• Peace of mind throughout the buying or selling process

When it comes to square footage measurement, relying on the expertise of a professional appraiser is a wise choice. Their knowledge, experience, and dedication to accuracy can provide homeowners and buyers with confidence in knowing the true square footage of a property.

Reasons to Hire a Professional Appraiser for Square Footage MeasurementBenefits
Accurate measurementEnsures precision in square footage calculations
Avoidance of errorsPrevents discrepancies that could impact property values
Industry recognitionAccepted by lenders and real estate professionals
Insights and adviceValue assessment and market knowledge
Peace of mindConfidence in accurate square footage measurement

## The Importance of Square Footage in Real Estate

Square footage plays a crucial role in determining the value of a property. When appraising a home, appraisers compare properties of similar size to establish an appraisal price. Accurate square footage measurements are essential for setting the right asking price when selling a home. Additionally, square footage is a key factor in real estate deals involving mortgages, as lenders rely on this information to verify the property’s value.

Knowing the exact square footage of a property helps in gauging its market worth. Appraisers consider the square footage when analyzing the value of a property, as larger spaces typically command higher prices. By evaluating properties of comparable size, appraisers ensure that the estimated values are fair and in line with the market.

“Square footage is like the backbone of a property’s value. It helps appraisers determine the appropriate worth of a home, ensuring that buyers and sellers are working from an accurate estimate.”

When it comes to selling your home, setting the right asking price is crucial. Overestimating the square footage can lead to an inflated asking price, potentially deterring buyers. Conversely, underestimating the square footage can result in undervaluing the property.

In real estate transactions that involve mortgages, lenders rely on accurate square footage measurements to verify the value of the property. This is particularly important as the loan amount is often based on a percentage of the property’s appraised value. Inaccurate or inflated square footage measurements can impact the mortgage approval process and potentially impede the closing of the deal.

Therefore, as a homeowner, it is vital to understand the square footage of your property and ensure accurate measurements. You can refer to the property’s original plans, consult professionals, or even use modern measuring tools that offer reliable results. By having precise square footage information, you can confidently navigate the real estate market and make informed decisions.

To illustrate the impact of square footage on property value, consider the following table:

PropertySquare FootageAppraised Value
House A2,000 sq ft\$500,000
House B2,500 sq ft\$600,000
House C1,800 sq ft\$400,000

In this example, House B, with its larger square footage, has a higher appraised value compared to House A and House C. This demonstrates the influence of square footage on property value.

By understanding the importance of square footage in real estate and ensuring accurate measurements, you can maximize the value of your property and navigate the market effectively.

## Calculating the Square Footage of a House

Calculating the square footage of a house is an essential step when determining its size and value. Whether you’re planning to sell your home or just curious about its dimensions, understanding how to measure square footage accurately is key. Here are the steps to help you calculate the square footage of a house:

1. Measure the length and width of each room: Start by measuring the length and width of each room in your house. Use a tape measure to obtain accurate measurements. Make sure to measure from wall to wall, including any alcoves or nooks.
2. Multiply the length and width: Once you have the measurements for each room, multiply the length by the width for each individual room. This will give you the square footage of each room.
3. Add up the square footage: After calculating the square footage of each room, add them up to determine the total square footage of the house. This will give you an overall picture of the size of your home.

For more complex floor plans or irregularly shaped rooms, it may be helpful to consult architectural drawings or hire a professional appraiser. They can provide expertise and ensure accurate measurements, especially in cases where there are unique features like vaulted ceilings or open floor plans.

Remember that measuring square footage is important for various reasons, such as determining property value, setting the right asking price, or obtaining building permits. By following these steps, you can easily calculate the square footage of your house and gain a better understanding of its size and dimensions.

## What to Exclude from Square Footage Measurements

Measuring the square footage of a house involves considering which areas should be included and which should be excluded. It is essential to exclude spaces that are not considered part of the “gross living area” to ensure accurate measurements. Here are some key factors to consider:

### 1. Non-Usable Spaces

Non-usable spaces, such as basements and garages, should be excluded from square footage measurements. These areas typically cannot be walked on or lived in, making them ineligible for inclusion in the total square footage of the house.

### 2. Two-Story Foyers

In some cases, two-story foyers may be considered non-usable spaces and should be excluded from square footage calculations. While visually impressive, these spaces are often open and do not provide functional living areas.

### 3. Finished Attic Spaces

Finished attic spaces can be included in the total square footage if they meet certain requirements. These requirements may vary depending on local regulations and specifications. It’s important to consult with a real estate agent or appraiser to determine whether the finished attic can be included in the square footage measurements.

Remember that local regulations and industry standards may vary, so it’s crucial to work with professionals who have in-depth knowledge of your specific location. They can provide guidance on which spaces to include and exclude when measuring square footage.

By excluding non-usable spaces and adhering to local guidelines, you can ensure accurate and reliable square footage measurements for your property. This information is valuable for buyers, sellers, and appraisers, as it helps determine the true livable area of a house.

## The Statistics of Square Footage

When it comes to understanding the real estate market, knowing the statistics of square footage is essential. Two key factors to consider are the median price per square foot and the average home size. Let’s dive into these numbers:

Median Price per Square Foot

The median price per square foot for a home in the U.S. is \$123. However, it’s important to note that this figure can vary depending on the location. Certain regions or cities may have higher or lower median prices per square foot compared to the national average.

Average Home Size

In 2020, the average size of a home in the U.S. was 2,261 square feet. This includes both single-family homes and apartments. However, it’s interesting to see that home sizes have actually been decreasing since 2017. In that year, the median size of a home was 2,426 square feet. This shift in average home size could be attributed to various factors such as changing preferences, sustainability trends, and economic considerations.

To put these numbers into perspective, let’s take a look back at the past. In 1950, the average home size in the country was just 983 square feet. Over time, homes have become larger to meet the evolving needs and lifestyles of homeowners.

### Region-Specific Variations

It’s important to remember that these statistics represent national averages. The median price per square foot and average home size can vary significantly from one region to another. Factors such as local housing market conditions, population density, and cost of living may influence these numbers. It’s always recommended to research and consult local market data for accurate and up-to-date information.

### Visualizing the Data

YearAverage Home Size (Square Feet)
1950983
20172,426
20202,261

This chart illustrates the average home size in the U.S. over time, showcasing the decrease in size since 2017. It’s important to remember that these numbers are meant to provide a general overview and may not reflect the specific characteristics of every property on the market.

Understanding the statistics of square footage can help both buyers and sellers make informed decisions. Whether you’re looking to purchase a new home or considering selling your property, these figures provide valuable insights into the real estate market.

## When to Consult a Professional for Square Footage

Calculating the square footage of a house can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not familiar with the process. That’s where a professional appraiser can help. Hiring an experienced appraiser ensures accurate measurements and scientific precision, giving you confidence in your square footage calculation.

An appraiser has the expertise to navigate complex floor plans and handle intricate details that may arise during the measurement process. They understand the nuances of measuring different room shapes and can provide accurate square footage measurements.

“Professional square footage calculation is essential for accurate real estate valuations and property assessments.”

The average cost for a single-family home appraisal is around \$350. While this may be an additional expense, it can save you from potential errors that could impact the sale or valuation of your property. By relying on a professional, you ensure the accuracy of your square footage measurement, avoiding any disputes or discrepancies.

When consulting a professional appraiser, make sure to provide them with all the necessary information about your property. This includes architectural drawings, if available, as well as any relevant documentation regarding renovations or additions.

It’s important to note that while tax documents may have square footage information, they are based on builders’ plans and may not reflect the final measurements. Hiring a professional appraiser for an official square footage measurement provides a reliable and trustworthy assessment of your property’s size.

By investing in professional square footage calculation, you gain peace of mind and ensure your property’s measurements are accurate. Whether you’re selling a house or obtaining a loan, accurate square footage plays a significant role in various real estate transactions.

If you’re unsure about how to calculate square footage or want to avoid any margin of error, consider reaching out to a professional appraiser for assistance. They have the tools, knowledge, and experience to provide you with reliable square footage measurements, saving you time and effort.

For more information on square footage calculations, you can refer to the Measurement Booklet provided by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

## Conclusion

Understanding the square footage of a house is crucial for a variety of purposes. It allows homeowners to accurately determine the value of their property, set the appropriate asking price when selling, and obtain building permits for renovations or new constructions.

Measuring square footage accurately and consistently is important to ensure fair and reliable calculations. While it is possible to measure square footage independently, hiring a professional appraiser can provide expert assistance and ensure precise measurements.

It is essential to consider local regulations and guidelines when calculating and using square footage measurements. These regulations may vary, so it is important to research and adhere to specific guidelines in your area. An excellent resource for more detailed information on housing statistics and square footage measurement guidelines can be found in the Housing by Year Built report by the U.S. Census Bureau.

## FAQ

### What is the average size of a house in the United States?

The average size of a house in the United States was 2,435 square feet in 2018.

### How do you measure the square footage of a house?

To measure the square footage of a house, sketch a floor plan, measure the length and width of each room, and multiply them together. Add up all the room measurements to determine the total square footage.

### What is considered livable square footage?

Livable square footage includes finished rooms that are heated and cooled, such as bedrooms and bathrooms. It typically excludes unfinished spaces like basements and garages.

### Are there different standards for measuring square footage?

Yes, different standards and guidelines exist for measuring square footage. The National American Standards Institute (ANSI) calculates square footage for detached single-family homes by adding up the finished square footage of each level.

### Should I hire a professional to measure the square footage of my house?

Hiring a professional appraiser is a good option if you want an accurate and official square footage measurement. They can provide a reliable measurement for a fee.

### Why is square footage important in real estate?

Square footage plays a crucial role in determining the value of a property. It is used by appraisers to compare properties and by lenders to verify a property’s value in mortgage deals.

### How do I calculate the square footage of a house?

Calculate the square footage of a house by measuring the length and width of each room, multiplying them together, and adding up all the room measurements.

### What should I exclude from square footage measurements?

Exclude spaces that are not considered part of the “gross living area,” such as basements, garages, and non-usable spaces like two-story foyers. Finished attic spaces may be included if they meet certain requirements.

### What are the statistics on square footage?

The median price per square foot for a home in the U.S. is 3. The average home size in the U.S. in 2020 was 2,261 square feet.

### When should I consult a professional for square footage?

It is best to consult a professional appraiser if calculating square footage feels overwhelming or if you want to ensure accuracy. They have the expertise to provide accurate measurements.