So why is it that the square footage of your home is different when it is measured for an appraisal than what the builder’s floor plan showed? And how come different appraisers will measure a home at different sizes? Unless you’ve added onto the home, I’m sure it’s the same size as the day you moved in.
The most likely reason is that some appraisers are more careful with their measurements than others. I’ve observed some appraisers measuring with a measuring tape down to the 1/4 inch while others use a measuring wheel just to get the general dimensions of a room and round off to the nearest foot.
Another major reason is that some appraisers measure the outside dimensions of the home, while others measure the inside. Builders like to measure the outside of the home so the home appears larger for their marketing efforts. Lenders sometimes prefer to measure the inside of the home, since that is actual living space and lenders are usually more conservative since it is their money at stake. Some appraisers will even go so far as to measure and then SUBTRACT out the area where your fireplace sits.
If you are wondering how a few inches here or there could make a difference, I assure you it really does. The effect is compounded across every room of your home. If your walls are 6 inches thick, then an exterior measurement might measure one of your rooms at 12 feet by 14 feet, which is a 168 sq. ft. room. An interior measurement would yield a room 11 feet by 13 feet, which is 143 sq. ft. That is a 25 sq. ft. difference, and that is just in one room! Multiply that by all the rooms in your home, and you could be losing 250-300 sq. ft. altogether.
If you have any questions on this or any other real estate topic, please call me at 831.295.8509 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to Carl Zanger in our Mainstream Campbell, CA office for writing this excellent blog post.