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How It's Important
Rose Hart's OUTSIDE
Recently we met with our insurance agent and discovered that the square footage from the City's records, which are used to calculate our premium, did not match what we bought in 1987. The process to get this all changed made us mindful of how a home's square footage is measured, how rooms are defined and how things have changed over thirty years.
The square footage is important to state and local taxing authorities, your homeowner's insurance underwriter, and of course a Realtor when the house is sold. Unfortunately, there are different ways to calculate Finished Square Footage. What we relay here are the most common changes and consistent considerations that we have found.
A Room is a space defined by a door or doorway. What was two open bedrooms with partial walls in 1987 is now a one bedroom loft. The floor space in a one and a half story with knee walls used to be measured from wall to wall. Now, only the floor space where there is a six-foot clearance is measured. This alone may remove a lot of space from the calculated Finished square footage. A bedroom converted to a walk-in closet may or may not be included in the room count, based on whether it's easily converted back into a bedroom.
The Basement. The most important thing to know is that an enclosed room in the basement is not a legal bedroom unless there are conforming egress windows. However, a habitable basement room like a craft room will be included in the total Finished space. Otherwise, unfinished space is not included in the total by the City, some insurers, or by a Realtor.
Bathrooms. These are always included in the room count and Finished space total. Unenclosed fixtures don't count as bathrooms.
Getting it all changed. If you go around and measure your house with a tape measure and count the rooms, then that's all you've accomplished. However, if your measurements radically differ from the City Assessor's or your insurer, then you may want to update the information. To get the assessment changed, or have acceptable measurements for an updated premium quote, an Assessor from the City or the insurer has to come out. They'll need to enter the house to count the rooms and verify the foundation walls. Some insurers will require one of their assessors visit the property before they'll write a policy. An assessor will also grade your house, a subjective judgment of the construction materials and level of craftsmanship. This also includes a judgment of its Condition, Desirability and Utility.
|Contact Rose Hart at 612-250-0119 or Sally Bader- Hoagland for more info.|