Basements and Your Home’s Square Footage

Is a basement included in the overall square footage of a home?

When researching new homes or you are about to put your home on the market, there are a lot of things that you should know. One thing that you should be aware of is what is and isn’t included in the square footage of your home. Something that typically isn’t included in the square footage of a basement.

Basements and your home’s square footage

A finished basement is not typically included in the overall square footage of your home. This is especially true if the basement is completely below grade, meaning the entire basement is under ground-level. Ultimately, what is and is not included in square footage is dependent on your state. Be sure to check with a local assessor to know whether your basement’s square footage can be counted as part of the gross living area.

If your state does not allow a basement to be included in overall square footage, it is likely that you will need an ingress and egress. This means that you must have a door that leads to the yard area on one side of the basement to enter and leave the basement area. The square footage calculations for this type of basement are determined by how much of the basement is above ground.

Does basement square footage affect your mortgage?

According to Fannie Mae, if any part of your basement is below grade, the whole basement is considered below grade. This is regardless of how finished the basement is. Only above grade basements square footage can count towards the gross square footage of the home. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t factor in your basement’s square footage into the pricing of your home. Offer what you think is reasonable for the square footage of your home. Then, add  an additional amount for what you believe your basement to be worth. Focus on the usable space your basement provides. If your basement wows the buyer, it can definitely mean your home can sell for a higher price.

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