How Big Is Your House? Here’s How to Calculate Square Footage

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Final Word

I’ve lived in impossibly small spaces – including traveling around the country in a 16 x 99-foot camper – and some fairly large ones (our current home is around 2,300 square feet). I realize now that my perfect home size, for a family of four, probably falls around 1,200 square feet.

Our current house was a good compromise for our needs; while neither my husband nor I wanted such a big house, we did want the seclusion and beauty of the land this house was on. Still, I really miss living in a small space, and I know that our next move will be into a smaller home.

You might be in a position to move and downsize your current home, or you might be stuck where you are for the foreseeable future. Whatever your situation, try to think about what you love about your current home. If the amount of stuff in your home causes stress or unhappiness, start decluttering.

Are you happy in the home you’re in, or do you wish it were smaller?

5. Existing Conditions Plan

A professional survey of your property would also likely have resulted in the preparation of an existing conditions plan for your site.

In addition to showing existing contours and the existing features of your property, an existing conditions plan would also show lot information including the area of the lot.

8. Professional Survey Services

Even though this may be the most expensive option for obtaining the area size of your site, the hiring of professional survey services for your property should also be the most accurate option for obtaining an area.

Even though the property deed should already include an accurate area of your property, the preparation of a professional survey plan might still be a good idea if you believe that the property deed might be incorrect.


How To Tell If Your House Is Too Big

Are you wondering if your house is too big for your family? The following are good signs that it might be.

1. Some Rooms Are Unused

Do you have any unfurnished, empty rooms in your home? Do you have rooms you rarely, if ever, set foot in? If so, this could be a strong indication that your home is too big for your current needs.

Sure, it’s cool to have a media room, party room, and a game room, but if you hardly ever use those spaces, are they really worth a higher mortgage payment?

2. Some Rooms Are Only Used for Storage

Do you have a room or a basement that you only use to store things? If the answer is yes, it’s important to realize that you’re paying to store all this stuff, and the monthly cost might surprise you. For example, you might be paying more to store this stuff in your home than you would if you rented a monthly storage unit.

To figure out how much this extra space (and extra stuff) is costing you, you need to figure out the actual cost of your home’s square footage and how much of that square footage is taken up by storage. Here’s how:

  1. Write down the total square feet of your house.
  2. Write down how much you pay monthly for your house, including home insurance, property taxes, and utilities.
  3. Divide your total square feet by your monthly payment; this is how much you pay monthly per square foot.
  4. Now, estimate how many square feet you’re using to store stuff. Include your closets, basement, extra bedrooms, and garage.
  5. Multiply this number times your monthly cost per square foot. This is how much you’re paying each month to store your extra things.

For example, imagine that your monthly mortgage payment is $2,000, your homeowner’s insurance is $125 a month, and your property taxes are $150 a month. That brings your total cost per month to $2,275.

Let’s say your home is 3,000 square feet, but you’re using two bedrooms just for storage. If each bedroom is 12 x 9 feet (or 108 square feet each), your total storage space is 216 square feet. That means you’re paying 0.75 cents per square foot, or $162 per month, to store those items.

3. You’re Storing Stuff for Other People

Is your home full of stuff that belongs to other people, such as children or grandchildren? Many parents hold on to toys, artwork, and clothing their children or grandchildren cherished while they were growing up. While some parents don’t mind, others might feel slightly resentful that they’re paying for someone else to use their home as a storage unit.

If you have boxes or entire rooms filled with things that belong to someone else – and, most importantly, it makes you feel stressed or upset – it might be time to pass those things along and downsize.

4. You Feel Overwhelmed

Have you ever walked into a smaller home and felt instantly cozy, comfortable, and safe? How did you feel when you walked back into your own home? If you felt overwhelmed by the excess space or the excess stuff, you’re not alone; many families and couples are facing the same problem.

UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives of Families (CELF) conducted a lengthy study on the average American’s cluttered home, studying and profiling 32 dual-income families and publishing their findings in the book “Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century: 32 Families Open Their Doors.” Their insights into family life and consumerism shouldn’t be surprising, and yet they are. The CELF researchers found that:

  • Only 25% of garages could be used to store cars because they were so cluttered with other things.
  • Managing the sheer amount of items in the home increased stress hormones in mothers.
  • Even in the region studied (Los Angeles, which has pleasant weather year-round), families hardly used their yards, even when they’d invested in landscaping and other yard-enhancing improvements.
  • The most common home improvement done by the families studied was the addition of an expensive master suite for parents; however, these large suites went mostly unused.
  • The rise of bulk stores has helped fuel the rise in clutter as more families stockpile food. Close to half of the families studied had a second refrigerator to store extra food, and several families had three refrigerators.
  • Toys were a crushing problem for the families studied. CELF researchers found that several homes had at least 250 toys on display, and most had at least 100. And the researchers only counted the toys that were visible; they did not count toys in closets, under beds, or stored in other areas.

These findings might mirror your own home. If this is the case, and this realization makes you feel stressed or upset, it might be time to downsize.

5. More Signs Your Home Is Too Big

Other indications that your home is just too big for your family include:

  • You sometimes lose your children in the house.
  • You’re thinking about installing an intercom system so that you can talk to your spouse or partner without having to walk across the house.
  • You sometimes miss visitors because you can’t hear the doorbell.
  • You have cleaning supplies scattered all over the house because it’s too far to fetch everything back and forth.
  • Your dog has her own bedroom.

While some of these examples are tongue-in-cheek, if you find yourself smiling with recognition, it might be time for you to find a “right-sized” house for your family.

Calculating Dimensions of a Home

A rectangular or square home is the easiest to calculate for the dimensions. It’s when you have several levels, soaring ceilings that penetrate an upper floor, irregular angles and bow windows at ground level that square footage gets more difficult – however, they don’t affect the home’s dimensions. Using the internet, access your county tax rolls and examine the tax appraisal of your home. It will have the total square footage, but not the dimensions.

An electronic measuring device is the best instrument to use when calculating dimensions of an existing building. A flexible tape measure will come in handy for measuring exterior angles and curves. Again, use a paper and pencil, draw a rendering of the exterior and indicate each area’s measurement. Add those numbers together to arrive at the home’s dimensions. The dimensions are most important when you’re initially designing a home, because the lot size and the setbacks required by the county are taken into consideration when arriving at a final design.


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