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Matt Morgus

Calculating the Correct Square Footage | San Francisco Real Estate Podcast

Calculating the Correct Square Footage | San Francisco Real Estate Podcast

How to find out the accurate Square Footage.

Photo by @mattmorgus

Why would I need to find out the accurate square footage?

One of the main key factors when pricing a property to sell in San Francisco is the price per square foot. You can figure out the price per square foot by taking the listing price and dividing it by the square footage. (Listing Price/Square Footage = Price per square foot)

Knowing the price per square foot makes it easier to compare properties to each other. As of May 2018, the average price per square foot averaged around $1,048 for a property in San Francisco

Let's say a property has an extra "bonus space", "attic", "converted garage", "basement", "unwarranted space", "enclosed porch" or "un-permitted addition" that is an extra 300 square feet. At $1,048 per square foot, this could potentially add up to $314,400 in additional value to your property.

How can I tell if a room is unwarranted? 

The most basic definition of an unwarranted room is a place or room that was built for the non-use of habitation. This could be any of the examples I listed above plus a few others like "porches", "decks", "laundry rooms" etc. Many times, unwarranted space has not been approved by city building inspectors. This means that some of the spaces might not be up to traditional building codes. There can be risks involved if you live in or rent out an unwarranted space.

The easiest way to tell if a room is warranted is to pull the building permits from the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection and compare the permits to what is actually visibly in the property. 

Cross check the permits with the County Assessor records of San Francisco

How to calculate square footage? 

Yes, you would think that the easiest way to measure your home's square footage is to pick up a tape measure and to start measuring. Think again. 

There really is not a set of standardized rules on how to measure square footage. This means that your measurement will be different from an Architect's measurement, and theirs will be different from an Appraiser, and theirs will be different from the County Assessor.

The true answer lies somewhere in between.

Can a real estate agent measure the square footage for me? 

Since there is not a set of standardized rules, a real estate agent in San Francisco can not and will not measure the square footage for you. Rather, they will most likely refer you to a local Architect, or a company that measures square footage and draws floor plans.

Are there any other resources I should check out?

One of the biggest resources to use will be the San Francisco City & County Assessor's Office. They have their own internal set of rules by which the County of San Francisco goes by.

Also, check out The Front Steps article they wrote about back in 2007.


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