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Living area (GLA) definition

Discussion in 'Ask an Appraiser' started by Wahubb, May 8, 2009.

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  1. Wahubb

    Wahubb New Member

    May 7, 2009
    Professional Status:
    General Public
    New York
    I have a question about the definition of calculated living area used by my town assessor. I live in the town of Sennett, Cayuga County, New York. My assessor has calculated my 2 story colonial as having the same square footage on the 2nd floor as the 1st. My question lies with the second floor as my 1st floor has an open foyer to the second floor.
    Should the square footage be deducted from the second floor for the open foyer? My open foyer area 10'x12' is clearly visible on the drawings provided to the building permit code enforcer.
    My second question is on my walk in attic. My attic is a walk in trough from the second floor bath. The attic is located over the attached garage. You have to step down 7" trough a door to enter this space. The ceiling space of this unfinished area is 6'-11" the area size is 14'x26'.
    The town assessor is telling me that this area is considered as usable living space, is this correct?
  2. Mztk1

    Mztk1 Senior Member

    Dec 3, 2006
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    There isn't a universal way to measure living area. Apppraisers are from two camps, how the market views it or based on the ANSI method. The ANSI method would answer your two questions this way:

    The second floor is 120sf smaller than reported because of the 10 X 12 open foyer, and the space over the garage, which is not finished, is not living area and because the room cannot average a 7' ceiling height, it cannot be considered living area even if it were finished.

    The market might view it differently. There are some places that I've heard of, though never appraised, where the open areas are sold and counted as if living area. I cannot for the life of me even see anyone considering an unfinished area that is accessed through the bath and is basically storage over the garage being considered living area, but stranger things have happened.

    Search ANSI Z765-2003 on the net, put the ecopy for $20, and if you want to fight the assessments based on living area go to your assessor with it and show how his living area is wrong based on the standard. He doesn't have to budge, but maybe he will.
  3. Paul Isolda

    Paul Isolda Senior Member

    May 20, 2004
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    1st - your 2nd floor open foyer may or may not be deducted from the living area, depending on how they do things there. It probably should be but more importantly, is it consistent with how other similar homes are measured?

    2nd - only space that is finished and heated should be counted as living area. I can see no valid reason for an assessor to value unfinished attic space as living area. In other departments it could be valid but not the assessor.
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