It’s one of the first things you hear when a real estate agent describes a prospective property:
“This house has [X NUMBER ] square feet.”
But what does that really mean?
A simple review of three key terms will shed some light on the situation.
In the Denver metro area, it’s common practice to let “square footage” account for the area of a dwelling that is above grade. In other words, the basement area is never included in simple square footage, regardless of whether the basement is finished or unfinished.
A second term, “finished square feet,” describes the amount of livable below-grade space added onto the main living area. The key term here is “livable below-grade space.” Finished square feet only comes into play when a basement has been worked on. The walls have been studded and hung with sheet rock, the bare concrete floor has been dressed up, electrical work has been done, perhaps a working bathroom has been added, etcetera.
A third term, “total square feet,” is typically used in situations where the basement is unfinished. A home might therefore have 3,000 total square feet that includes 2,000 square feet (above ground, finished space) while the remaining 1,000 square feet refer to the unfinished basement space.
Knowing the actual definitions of these terms is one of the many keys to finding a home that perfectly matches your needs and desires.
For instance, a good, qualified real estate agent knows that a family of seven will likely feel cramped in the kind of house mentioned above. A house with 3,000 total square feet might sound pretty good until you realize that all the family’s day-to-day living will be conducted in two-thirds of that space: the 2,000 finished square feet above grade.
My name is Mike Dovel and I’ve been a Colorado real estate agent for more than thirty years. Experience has taught me to be precise with my language, in business as well as in life.
For this reason, I walk every real estate buyer I partner with through a thorough explanation of the terms we’re likely to encounter on our journey to find them the perfect home.
When buyers tell me they’d like to purchase a 3,000 square foot home for their family, I make sure that what they really mean is 3,000 square feet of above-grade space.
If my assumption is incorrect, it’s better to know right out off the bat. It’s also the perfect opportunity to understand the buyer’s specific and unique needs.
Is a basement bedroom something they’re willing to consider or expressly forbidden? Do their lifestyle preferences indicate that a finished basement is preferable, arbitrary, or mandatory? Does the family have any unique storage needs that an unfinished basement might facilitate? Are they willing to purchase a home with an unfinished basement with an eye toward finishing it themselves at a later date, and thereby potentially increasing the resale value of the home?
The old saw in Denver Colorado real estate is that the key to success is location, location, location.
After more than three decades helping people like you buy and sell their Denver Colorado homes, I’ve learned that the key to success is communication, communication, communication.
A good, qualified real estate agent should be regarded one of your most trusted financial advisors, as well as one of your most discreet and sympathetic confidantes.
My clients know they should be as honest with me as possible. How else can I help them find the home of their dreams?
If you’re looking to buy a house in the Denver metro area or beyond, call my office today.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a first time buyer or a person with vast experience in the local real estate market. Come in. We’ll get to know each other. I want you to describe the home you imagine for yourself and your family in every detail.
It will be my pleasure to help you find it, turn the key in the lock, and cross the threshold to happiness.