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Measuring a tri-level (split level) house

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mnagent

Freshman Member
Joined
May 21, 2008
Professional Status
Real Estate Agent or Broker
State
Minnesota
I'm an agent in MN and, unfortunately, the measurements in tax records cannot be relied upon. I'm listing a 4-level split and want to make sure I have the correct measurements. Foundation size is 60 x 25. I measured from the exterior of the house and this measurement includes the 2-car garage. Without the garage, the foundation is about 42 x 25 (1050 sq. ft).
  • The fourth (lowest) level is finished, but partially below grade, so I understand it is considered Lower Level Finished Square Footage. The total square footage for this 4th level is 336.
The other 3 levels are as follows:
  • front door entrance is on the same level as a 1/2 bath and a family room with fireplace and door that goes into the garage. This level is 414 square feet.
  • From the entryway, you go up 5-6 steps to the next level, which hosts a living room, dining room, and kitchen. From the dining room, there are sliding glass doors to the deck. This level is 483 square feet.
  • From here, you go up another short flight of stairs to 3 bedrooms and a full bath. This floor is 338 square feet.
My question is: on our MLS, we need to indicate foundation size, above ground finished square feet, and below ground square feet. I want to make sure I understand whether the level on which one enters is considered above ground FSF or below ground FSF. Clearly the top two levels would be considered "above ground FSF." Thanks much!
 

Thomas Fiehler

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2003
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Ohio
If the level that you enter on is 100% above grade, then it is included in the GLA. If not, it becomes part of the basement. Sounds like you have what we refer to as a Quad Level.
 

hglenbetts

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2007
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Michigan
Mnagent,

Welcome. I am a Realtor, in addition to an appraiser. The Sq ft of a split level is always good for an argument in both professions, and I'm sure you'll get 10 different, definitive answers here.

My answer is to call your MLS and see what they require for reporting. In my market, a tri level is considered all above grade living space (for my MLS). If it's a Quad (like you described) only that lowest level is basement. Where we report foundation type, it's basement/slab (or crawl) depending on what the lowest living level is over.

The next closest MLS market to me, reports anything not fully above grade as basement and NOT above grade living space. So your quad would only have two levels of AG space.

Bottom line, what's common to YOUR market and what are YOUR MLS reporting requirements.

Good Luck.
 

dobie

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
New Jersey
We would call this a "ground entry split". Based on your description I would say the level with the front door is above grade finished living area.
 

Greg Bell

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2006
Professional Status
Gvmt Agency, FNMA, HUD, VA etc.
State
Louisiana
If the level that you enter on is 100% above grade, then it is included in the GLA. If not, it becomes part of the basement. Sounds like you have what we refer to as a Quad Level.
This is the correct answer.FNMA guidelines will not allow ANY below ground are to be classified as GLA.You will hear a lot of pontificating about local
customs , however , the rule remains as such for most appraisals.Earth contact homes excepted..
 

mnagent

Freshman Member
Joined
May 21, 2008
Professional Status
Real Estate Agent or Broker
State
Minnesota
Thanks

Yes- it is indeed a 4-level split (most of you call it a quad), not a "tri-level" as my thread title indicated. Thanks much for the replies...I understand the guidelines now. Thanks again!
 

Tom McDowell

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2003
Professional Status
Gvmt Agency, FNMA, HUD, VA etc.
State
North Carolina
If there is dirt above the floor then it is below grade.
 

Indiana Jones

Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Indiana
Kudos to you for even trying to get the correct measurements and not relying solely on assessor records.

Agents in my market use assessor's records 99.9% of the time and those records are rarely correct. And forget about tri-levels, split levels, quads, etc. The squarefootage on those are always so far off.
 

Brenda H

Freshman Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2007
Professional Status
Appraiser Trainee
State
Minnesota
To MN Agent from a MN Appraiser - GLA is above ground completely only. I live in a 4 level split. The top 2 are GLA, the bottom 2 are not. Thank you for clarifying!
 
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