Figuring area (in square footage) is one of the easiest mathematic equations you can do. So why is at the root of so many misguided home projects?
The basic equation is simple: multiply length by width (LxW). Here are a few reasons why you should become very comfortable with area measurements.
Square Footage Determines More Than Space
The size of your home will not only be a primary determinant of your family’s comfort, it will also be a major factor in determining your basic operating costs. Square footage will dictate:
- Home insurance costs
- Property tax rates
- Heating/cooling and utility costs
Square Footage Determines Material Costs
As obvious as this sounds (more area = higher costs), there are few things to keep in mind while shopping for finishes. Many clients and do-it-yourself-ers will cost compare based on actual square footage, and be surprised when their self-bids don’t align with a contractor’s bid/budget.
- It is always advised to buy at least 5-10% more material than you need for a determined area.
- Experienced builders will add this buffer to an order, and DIYers should definitely do the same.
- The “extra” material accommodates for oddly shaped rooms, precision-cuts, and other obstacles that prevent maximizing materials.
- In some cases, an experienced builder may feel confident ordering a lower percentage of “extra” material. If you’re paying time and materials (versus a flat rate bid), consult with your builder on the best plan. The cost of material overage may be notably less than paying for the contractor to drive around picking up more material.
Square Footage is (Perhaps) the Most Important Number for Valuation
The overall square footage of a home is typically the most important number in determining its valuation for property taxes, real estate comparables and re-sale value. Quality workmanship and high-grade finishes will bolster the price, but square footage tends to retain higher value per unit (or a greater return on investment).
Builders talk in “dollars per square foot” in regard to new homes. This figure is highly dependent on location (micro and macro), construction techniques and finishes. Costs per square foot are more effective measurements with regards to mass-produced homes, than with custom homes.
In determining what you need for your home or investment, never hesitate to give me a call.