If you’re like many people considering buying a home with a basement, you have questions – including whether the basement can be included in a home’s square footage, whether a seller can count a finished basement in square footage, and how to even calculate the square footage of a basement. This guide to buying a home with a basement will get you started – and if you don’t see your question answered here, feel free to call me at 865-368-5150 to ask!
Guide to Buying a Home With a Basement
Buying a home with a basement is a great choice for many people, whether or not it’s finished – it can be the perfect place to settle in and put down roots. However, if you’re like many people, you need to know:
- When can a basement be included in square footage?
- What is included in the square footage of a house?
- What if the house I want doesn’t make the appraisal because of the basement?
Here’s a closer look at each.
When Can a Basement Be Included in Square Footage?
Usually, even if a basement is completely finished, it can’t be included in a home’s square footage if it’s 100 percent below the ground. However, in many cases, basements with exterior entrances – like walk-outs – can be considered when a seller is calculating square footage.
When you see a home’s square footage listed, there’s a very good chance that it doesn’t include the basement. If you’re not sure, though, talk to your REALTOR®.
For the most part, in order for a basement to be considered part of the living space (and be counted in square footage), it must have:
- Legal ingress or egress. That means there’s a place for people to come in and out, which may mean a door or window (but it’s usually a door).
- Conditioned air, like heat or air conditioning. Space heaters don’t count.
What is Included in the Square Footage of a House?
For the most part, any space that has walls, flooring, a ceiling and heat will count as finished square footage. That means places in a home such as stairwells, closets, walk-in pantries and storage spaces inside count. However, basements are a different story. The space must be “livable” to be considered part of the home’s square footage; it’s called “gross living area,” or GLA. So if there’s a section where you can’t stand up under the stairs, there’s no window, or there isn’t a heat vent in the room, it doesn’t count toward gross living area.
What if the House I Want Doesn’t Make the Appraisal Because of the Basement?
Sometimes people selling a home count the square footage in the basement as living space in the listing – but the appraiser most likely won’t count it unless it’s a walk-out basement. That means the house may not appraise for as much as the seller is asking, and it can throw a wrench in your plans.
That doesn’t mean that the house or the space under it isn’t valuable. It just means that the seller may not be able to get the price he or she wants for the home – and that you may have a negotiating point. Talk to your REALTOR if this happens to you, because it can mean different things for different people.
Are You Buying a Home in Knoxville?
If you’re ready to buy a home in Knoxville, I’ll help you find one that’s perfect for your needs. Call me at 865-368-5150 now and let’s talk!