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What Does Square Footage Really Mean?

One of the most common questions from home buyers is, "What is the square footage?"  And while it may seem it like an easy answer, it is often a much deeper and more complicated question, especially when dealing with homes in Central Jersey.  One of the reasons is that there are many older homes in the Brunswick area, where square footages were neither supplied by a builder or measured by the municipality, unlike newer homes, which often have floorplans supplied by the builder.  Second, many local governments don't even maintain square footage in their tax records, nor do they inspect homes and measure upon a sale.  Finally, even if a number is available, there is no universally agreed upon method to calculate square footage. 

If you're interested in additional information, Brendon De Simone, a real estate expert in San Francisco and New York, wrote a fantastic article discussing some of the challenges in the square footage question, as well as what it means for buyers and sellers.  His best advice for sellers was not to list square footage at all, based not only the lack of a universal standard, but also the amount of costly litigation that is happening.  One of the best takeaways for buyers was this - "a buyer either feels like the space is right or not, and that feeling is more important than a figure that may or may not be real".  A house is much more than a number - it's a home.


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