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Correct definition of Above Grade/Gross Living Area

Discussion in 'Newbies/Appraiser WannaBe' started by Brenda Mason, Aug 22, 2002.

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  1. Brenda Mason

    Brenda Mason New Member

    0
    Aug 21, 2002
    I am an appraisal student in Atlanta, Georgia and do not thoroughly understand what is considered the above grade gross living area. My instructor indicated that it is any level above the threshold. Please shed more light on this for me, as I have missed a few nights of class and want a more complete definition and example of this area.
     
  2. aprazer

    aprazer Junior Member

    0
    Feb 27, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    New York
    Gross living area is the finished area above grade(ground) level. Each level is calulated by the exterior dimensions. If you have a rectangle that is 35 X 25, that would be 875 square feet. If it was 2 stories with the same dimensions, the house would have 1,750 square feet. Anything below grade-either completely or partially is not counted in the GLA. Attics and basements are not included unless you are a broker or builder.
     
  3. Dave Smith

    Dave Smith Senior Member

    0
    Jan 14, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    Wisconsin
    Per the Fannie Mae selling guide dated 4/12/02. Section 405.06.

    Section 405.06 – Gross Living Area

    The most common comparison for one-family properties (including units in PUD, condominium, or
    cooperative projects) is above-grade gross living area. The appraiser must be consistent when he or she
    calculates and reports the finished above-grade room count and the square feet of gross living area that is
    above-grade. For units in condominium or cooperative projects, the appraiser should use interior
    perimeter unit dimensions to calculate the gross living area. In all other instances, the appraiser should
    use the exterior building dimensions per floor to calculate the above-grade gross living area of a property.
    Only finished above-grade areas should be used--garages and basements (including those that are
    partially above-grade) should not be included. We consider a level to be below-grade if any portion of it is
    below-grade-regardless of the quality of its "finish" or the window area of any room. Therefore, a walk-out
    basement with finished rooms would not be included in the above-grade room count.

    Rooms that are not included in the above-grade room count may add substantially to the value of a
    property-particularly when the quality of the "finish" is high. For that reason, the appraiser should report
    the basement or other partially below-grade areas separately and make appropriate adjustments for them
    on the "basement and finished areas below-grade" line in the "sales comparison analysis" grid. To assure
    consistency in the sales comparison analysis, the appraiser generally should compare above-grade areas
    to above-grade areas and below-grade areas to below-grade areas. The appraiser may deviate from this
    approach if the style of the subject property or any of the comparables does not lend itself to such
    comparisons. However, in such instances, he or she must explain the reason for the deviation and clearly
    describe the comparisons that were made.
     
  4. Lee in L.A.

    Lee in L.A. Elite Member

    138
    Jan 24, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    California
    Just remember to take out that 15 x 15 (or whatever) area that is the 2 story living room, foyer, what have you, aka an "open to below" area of the upper level.
     
  5. Mike Garrett RAA

    Mike Garrett RAA Elite Member

    25
    Jan 14, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    Colorado
    What is sometimes confusing is a walkout lower level where the walkout is above grade but the sides and back are below grade. If any portion is below grade, count it as below grade.

    In my market the below grade is usually finished to the same quality as the above grade areas and used as living space. Those who dont know how to read the appraisal report go nuts thinking we didnt include all their square footage. For that reason I have a couple of paragraphs in my addendum on how we report the square footage and how we value it.
     
  6. Lee in L.A.

    Lee in L.A. Elite Member

    138
    Jan 24, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    California
    These can be a problem. What if there's an interior stairway, and the lower level is finished just like the upper, and the assessor and everyone else has counted the rooms including baths, and square footage in the living area (based on your measurements). Just that the lower level has windows only on the back / downhill side, and maybe a couple on the sides of the house. But the front of the lower level is dug into the hill.

    This I called living area in a recent case, but then it's a case to case basis. And it's not the "Typical California basement" tiny concrete and dirt basement I see here.

    :lol: Not garages or decks or patios either. :lol: Unless you're builder or agent. If so, apparently you have license to exaggerate. Or is it just harmless "puffing". :lol: And what are they puffing anyway? :?: :lol:
     
  7. Bill_FL

    Bill_FL Senior Member

    0
    Aug 23, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified General Appraiser
    State:
    Florida
    Lee,

    I have run into this many times in the NC mountains. I have done homes on mountain sides with 2 or 3 levels below grade (due to steep terrain). You must be sure to compare apples to apples. Below grade is below grade. What I tell homeowners when I see their tax records indicate the level as above grade is to fight it and get their taxes reduced. I tell them to be sure to get a copy of my appraisal from the bank and take the drawing to the tax department (I offer to fax them a copy of the FNMA guideline). If you are preparing a FNMA appraisal, you must use their guidelines. Basements are basements.
     
  8. Mike Garrett RAA

    Mike Garrett RAA Elite Member

    25
    Jan 14, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    Colorado
    yes they are...cept when they are cellars.
     
  9. Domenick Cammarata

    Domenick Cammarata New Member

    0
    May 31, 2006
    I have a split level in the metro Atlanta area that both levels are 100% above grade. The top floor is 1800 sq' and has 9' ceilings and a 14' great room(3BR,Great Room, Dining Room, Kitchen, & 2 full bathrooms). The bottom level is above grade and is finished with the same consistency as the rest of the house. It is 1000 sq.' and has 2 bedrooms, a living room and a complete bathroom. Would this bottom level be included in Gross Living Space?
     
  10. CANative

    CANative Elite Member

    248
    Jun 18, 2003
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    California
    Is there interior access between the two levels?
     
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