Measuring Square Footage of a House Accurately

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Executive Realty 91362

There are many reasons why knowing how to calculate the square footage of a home is a useful skill to have. It could help you understand the size of a home so that you will know if your furniture will fit when you are buying a new property.

Property information might give you some measurements, but if you understand how is sq ft calculated, you will better realize what those numbers really mean. It can also be used when planning home improvement projects, or when you are calculating the value of your home.

One of the most critical functions of a listing agent is giving the public accurate information both input into the multiple listing service and in any advertisements. Not being accurate can potentially lead to legal problems.

The first thing a buyer will do when they think they have been fooled is consult with a real estate attorney for their options.

We will look at how you can easily calculate the square footage of a home and try to avoid any mistakes of misrepresentation.

What is the Square Footage of a Home?

Square footage is the available flat space within the property. But to understand how large the room is and what furniture can fit in that space, you need to take measurements. If you have the length and the width of the room, the sq ft calculation can give you this answer.

Before you move into a home or buy new furniture for a property you already live in, a square feet calculation should make sure you best make use of the space available.

How Square Footage is Calculated?

Calculating the square footage of a home is fairly straightforward, just multiply the length and the width.

However, things can become confused if a different unit of measure is used. Feet are the normal measurement used, but sometimes inches and yards can be used as well. If this is the case, you might need to translate the other measurement into feet to make it easier.

A square foot calculation uses this basic formula:

Length x width = area

All measurements should be using the same unit of measure, preferably square feet, as it is the standard most commonly used. This will give you the area of the home in square feet.

For example, if you have a rooms that is 12 ft x 12 ft there would be 144 square feet in the room. Measuring a larger home that has many jogs and angles is going to be more challenging than a small rectangle like you might find with a tiny house.

Dealing with Other Units of Measure


To convert square footage into square inches, perhaps for smaller areas or items, you need to multiply the feet measurements by 12. Since there are 12 inches in a foot, multiplying by 12 will convert to inches which can then be multiplied to give the square inch size. To convert from inches to feet, instead, divide by 12.


If you need to convert the square footage into yards, multiply the measurements (length and width) by 3 and then by each other. There are 3 feet in a yard, so divide by 3 if you need to convert yards to feet.


If the area needs to be given in square meters, the calculation is more difficult. Multiply both the length and the width measurements in feet by 0.3, before you multiply them together. One foot measures slightly more than 0.3 meters (0.3048 meters), so multiply by 0.3 to convert feet to meters.

Converting meters to feet means multiplying the measurements by 3.281 or 3.28084 to be more accurate. Then multiply the new length and width figures to give the square feet. There are slightly more than 3.28 feet to a meter, but if you want to be more accurate or measuring a larger area, using more decimal places will help.

The Square Feet Calculation for Different Types of Rooms

Rectangular rooms are the easiest to calculate, just multiply the length by the width. If a room has closets, these can be treated as small rectangular areas and calculated as you would the main room.

These rectangular areas can then be added to the square footage of the main room.

If the room has odd angles, not forming a rectangle, the area can still be calculated. The room could be divided so that you have a rectangle that is easy to calculate, and an odd shape left over.

If what is left is a triangle, all you need to do is multiply the length by the width, but then divide it by 2. Then add this triangle size onto the rectangle size to give you the square footage of the room.

What is the Usable Square Footage of the Home?

Usable square footage normally refers to rooms in the home like the living room, kitchen, or bedrooms, but not stairwells, lobbies, or storage spaces. It excludes common or shared areas in the property and just relates to personal space in the home which a tenant can use.

It is vital to note that below grade living area is not considered part of the square footage of a home. While it is considered part of the "gross living area," there is an essential distinction.

Below grade living area does not have the same market value as above grade living space. A licensed professional appraiser and a savvy real estate agent will not look at these areas of the home the same no matter how nicely they are finished.

You may have spent a hundred thousand dollars finished your basement. That doesn't mean you have added this much to the value of the property by doing so. Both buyers and sellers need to keep this in mind when looking at a home's square footage.

The correct square footage is an impactful variable in figuring out a home's market value.

Accurate Square Footage Measurements Are Vital

The size of any property can have a significant impact on the value. It is crucial for a real estate agent to properly represent an accurate size. One of the more litigated areas of real estate is agents inflating the square footage. Doing so can lead to inappropriate values. Buyers rely on this information to make decisions. When it is off there can be problems created.

When in doubt, it is better to put a smaller size into the multiple listing service than an exaggerated square footage.

Would a buyer have offered the same amount of money if they knew the home was smaller? When you get to court, you'll find out the answer is no.

Final Thoughts

Taking the time to get accurate square footage measurements is key for any real estate agent. Never rely on the seller for an accurate home measurement. Take it upon yourself to do the proper research.

Posted by

With three decades of experience, Bill Gassett is an authority in the real estate sector. Bill writes informative articles for numerous prestigious real estate sites to help buyers, sellers, and fellow real estate agents. His work has been featured on RIS Media, the National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Placester, Realty Biz News, Credit Sesame, and his own authority resource, Maximum Real Estate Exposure. Reach out to Bill Gassett for his real estate, mortgage, and financial expertise.

Comments (2)

Bill Salvatore - East Valley
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - 602-999-0952 / em:

Unless you are licensed, stay away from this.  Happy Hump Day, make it a productive Wednesday. Bill

Sep 21, 2022 10:14 AM
Bill Gassett

Stay away from what?

Sep 22, 2022 04:25 AM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker

Great information, thanks for sharing.  I hope you have a great day.

Sep 22, 2022 03:38 AM