Cracking the Code: Understanding Home Measurements

by | May 13, 2024 | Blog, Buying a Home, First Time Buyer tips, Real Estate | 0 comments

Navigating the complexities of real estate transactions often leads to a puzzling discovery: the disparity between the living area reported by appraisers and the data found in public records. This mystery lies within the ANSI measuring standard, a set of guidelines from the American National Standards Institute that shapes the appraisal process for single-family homes

ANSI, overseer of standards, dictates a precise method for measuring single-family homes. Measurements are taken from exterior walls and include all above-grade floors, with basement areas classified separately. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac make this measuring standard mandatory for appraisers when valuing properties for loans purchased by them. 

Here’s a breakdown of key ANSI requirements, according to Realtor Magazine:

  • Boundary Definitions: ANSI measures from exterior walls and “includes the area on each floor above grade based on exterior measurements,” which includes stairwells but excludes open areas.
  • Ceiling Height Criteria: A minimum ceiling height of seven feet is required, with exceptions for sloped roofs on a second story, where living areas start at five feet on the slope and at least half of the ceiling must be seven feet or higher.
  • Basement Classification: Below-grade spaces, regardless of depth, are classified as basement areas.
  • Measurement Precision: Measurements must be recorded with meticulous accuracy, to the nearest inch or one-tenth of a foot.

Also, according to a Denver-based appraiser, sloping topography, the foundation and framework of a home shifting over time, trees and bushes, fences, walls, and downspouts all can make measuring to the nearest inch or tenth of a foot for exterior walls challenging, contributing to the reason that home measurements could vary from appraiser to appraiser.

Knowing the ANSI Square Footage Standards, as well as these other complicated appraisal factors, is crucial for both sellers and buyers in the real estate market in order to understand discrepancies between public records and appraisals.

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