How Important Is Square Footage?
Buyers tend to think bigger is better, but a smaller home may actually feel more spacious than a similar home with a larger footprint. That’s what makes the emphasis on size over livability so frustrating – it’s not really an accurate gauge for living space.
Living space is roofed, enclosed, heated, cooled and finished out. But, because there is no accepted standard way to consistently measure interiors, square footage is typically measured from the exterior of the home as length times width. This is so that banks, tax appraisers, roofers, painters, real estate professionals, and others can have a handy number to enable them to commoditize, price and negotiate homes and services.
Interiors are always smaller than the exterior square footage suggests. The thickness of the exterior walls, insulation, wallboards, and sheetrock can vary. Some spaces aren’t for walking around, like the empty space beneath stairwells, or the code-required space around water heaters and other systems.
If you’re shopping for a home and see descriptions online, you know there’s a lot of difference between 3,400 sq. ft. and 1,400 sq. ft., but a few feet more or less between similar homes doesn’t matter. If the home’s interior is well-planned, spaced appropriately, furnished wisely, and clutter-free, it will feel like there’s more living space.
If you’re selling a home, your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network professional can help you find ways to make your home appear more spacious. You can start with letting in more light and eliminating extra furnishings.