Exploring if Heated Garages Add to Your Home's Square Footage

Exploring if Heated Garages Add to Your Home’s Square Footage

Ever wondered if that cozy, heated garage of yours counts toward your home’s total square footage? You’re not alone. It’s a common question among homeowners and potential buyers, and the answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think.

In this article, we’ll delve into the details of how square footage is calculated, and where a heated garage fits into that equation. We’ll also discuss why this might matter to you, whether you’re selling your home, buying a new one, or just curious. So, buckle up and let’s unravel this mystery together.

Key Takeaways

  • Square footage represents the size of property spaces, typically calculated by multiplying the length of an area by its width. It usually encompasses all indoor, heated, and finished spaces.
  • Contrary to common belief, not all indoor spaces, such as staircases, walls or garages, count towards the total square footage of a home.
  • While heated garages increase the functionality of a house, they typically don’t contribute to the official property size.
  • Legal standards and building codes usually limit square footage calculations to livable, finished, and heated areas like bedrooms, kitchens, and bathrooms.
  • Though heated garages don’t directly contribute to a home’s official square footage, they can add practical usage and unique value, an important consideration in the real estate sphere.
  • Rare exceptions exist where heated garages can be included in the square footage if they meet certain livability requirements and local building codes. These cases could lead to higher property valuations.

Understanding Square Footage in Real Estate

Defining Square Footage

In essence, square footage signifies the area of any given space. It’s a measure widely used in real estate transactions to represent the size of property spaces. Typically, I calculate it by multiplying the length of an area by its width. For instance, a room measuring 10 feet by 12 feet equals 120 square feet.

Various elements impact the total square footage of a home, depending upon which areas it counts. Typically, it draws on the sum of the square footage of all indoor, heated, and finished spaces. Sporting spaces or areas used as livable spaces like bedrooms or bathrooms factor in. Spaces like attics or basements, if finished and heated, can also be included. These areas are commonly associated with the term ‘gross living area’ in the industry.

Common Misconceptions About Square Footage

A common misconception is that all indoor spaces of a home count towards square footage. The reality proves differently. For instance, structural elements, such as staircases or walls, don’t add to the square footage.

Similarly, not all garages count, either. Heated garages may seem like an exception, given they’re heated spaces. Yet, general standards don’t account for them in calculating the square footage of a home. This is because, traditionally, a garage doesn’t serve as a primary living area, and its purpose differs from rooms in a house. Items like carpet, tables, and chairs typically found in living spaces do not influence this calculation.

Contrary to popular belief, while adding luxurious improvements to a home – like a heated pool or a fancy patio – may raise its value, these additions don’t necessarily add to the property’s square footage. It’s crucial to understand these nuances when figuring out square footage, since it directly impacts a property’s evaluation. The type of glass used in windows or doors also doesn’t contribute to the square footage measurement.

So, coming back to the question, does a heated garage count towards the square footage of a home? Well, typically, it does not, but it does get somewhat complicated, as we’ll see in the following sections.

Characteristics of Heated Garages

Characteristics of Heated Garages

A heated garage is not merely a luxury; it’s also a practical feature many homeowners appreciate. It offers distinct advantages that can amplify not only the usage but also the value of a garage.

Benefits of Heating Your Garage

Heating in garages provides an array of benefits. Foremost, it extends the functional area of a house. A heated garage transforms into a year-round workspace, ideal for hobbies or do-it-yourself projects. Critical tools and equipment stay warm and dry, thus resisting rust and premature damage.

For those living in colder climates, a heated garage creates a safe and frost-free space for vehicles. Sub-zero temperatures can take a toll on car batteries and engine oil. By providing a warm environment, garages protect these vehicles from such wear and tear.

How Heating Affects Usage

The implementation of a heating source significantly enhances a garage’s usability. A frigid, uncomfortable garage might serve only for vehicle storage. Contrastly, a heated garage facilitates diverse uses. It becomes a welcome zone for a home gym, a convenient workshop, or even an alternate living area. Additionally, the survival of temperature-sensitive items like plants, paints, or cleaning supplies improves in heated conditions.

However, as per real estate guidelines, this increased utility does not add to a house’s official square footage. Despite its potential for multiple uses and its heated nature, a garage remains an outbuilding. While it may augment the living arrangement in practical terms, it does not contribute numerically to the home’s size, reflecting an interesting quirk of property evaluation norms.

Assessment Criteria for Square Footage

Legal Standards and Building Codes

Notably, legal standards, primarily determined by building codes, dictate square footage assessment rules. They establish that only livable, finished, and heated areas, such as bedrooms, kitchens, and bathrooms, contribute to a property’s square footage. Based on these standards, heated garages rarely fit these descriptions.

Though builders frequently insulate and heat garages, mostly they don’t make the cut. They’re seldom complete with interiors, such as drywall, flooring, or ceiling finishes, typical for livable spaces. Hence, I’ve observed that these spaces usually fail to count towards official square footage.

Considerations for Heated Garages

However, heated garages bring additional considerations. First, they offer practical utility for colder climates. Activities, from vehicle maintenance to engaging hobbies, no longer stay restricted to seasons. This year-round usability adds unique value to properties.

Secondly, diverse functionalities of heated garages translate into material benefits. Garages past finished the heated level can have workshops, home gyms, or man caves. Therefore, people search for homes with them, which expands the potential pool of willing buyers.

Nevertheless, these benefits don’t directly contribute to a home’s official square footage. In an intriguing twist, residential evaluation norms leave out this practical, value-adding feature from square footage calculations. While heated garages don’t directly influence property measurements, they undeniably add unique value, a point to consider while navigating the real estate realm.

Cases Where Heated Garages Count Toward Square Footage

Cases Where Heated Garages Count Toward Square Footage

Despite the broad guidelines ruling out heated garages from a property’s square footage, certain exceptions exist. These instances contest the typical norm and display an alternative understanding.

Examples and Precedents

Transcending common rules, heated garages can come under the square footage calculation in some cases. These are instances where the garage’s features align more towards the specifications of a livable area rather than an ancillary structure.

In an example from Denver, Colorado, a homeowner managed to include the heated garage in the property’s square footage. The homeowner had fitted the garage with necessary interiors, insulation, and a HVAC system, meeting the city’s building codes for a living area.

Similarly, in a precedent from Ann Arbor, Michigan, a garage boasting finished interiors, insulation, temperature control, plumbing, and meeting local building codes was counted in the home’s useable square footage.

Impact on Property Value

Image the heated garage as a fully-furnished and -insulated room, equipped with HVAC, and meeting local building codes. In such cases, the rule excluding garages from square footage seems out of place. The inclusion of such updated and usable spaces in square footage indeed impacts property valuation, leading to a higher asking price.

For instance, properties in cold regions like Minneapolis, where the heated garage enhanced livability and convenience, witnessed an increase in property value. Potential buyers valued the fact that the heated garage could also serve as a workshop, studio, or office, increasing the property’s allure.

To summarize, instances where heated garages count as square footage are few and specific. The garage must meet certain livability criteria and building codes. If they do, they’re afforded an increased property valuation, with the heated garage adding both functional and monetary value to the property. This gives credence to the argument that such spaces should be counted in the overall square footage and considered in property valuation norms.


So, we’ve learned that the question “Does a heated garage count as square footage?” isn’t as straightforward as it might seem. While traditionally, garages don’t count towards a home’s square footage, there are exceptions. In cities like Denver and Ann Arbor, heated garages that meet specific livability criteria do count. This challenges the norm and underscores the value that a heated garage can bring to a property. Particularly in colder regions like Minneapolis, these spaces can greatly enhance a home’s livability and functionality. It’s clear that when it comes to property valuation, heated garages that meet certain standards shouldn’t be overlooked. They’re more than just a place to park your car – they’re a valuable asset that can add to a property’s worth. So, next time you’re calculating square footage, remember to consider the heated garage.

Heated garages can enhance the usability of the space but typically do not count towards the total square footage of your home. Raleigh Realty Homes explains that for a garage to be included in the square footage, it must meet specific criteria, including being finished and heated. Zillow further clarifies that while heated garages offer benefits like additional living space and storage, they must be integrated into the home’s main structure to be considered part of the square footage.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is typically included in square footage calculations in real estate?

Square footage primarily comprises of indoor, finished, and heated spaces such as bedrooms and bathrooms. Structural elements of the property and space like garages are generally not counted towards square footage.

Are all indoor spaces included in square footage calculations?

Not all indoor spaces are included in square footage calculations. While heated and finished indoor spaces like bedrooms and bathrooms are included, spaces like garages, even if heated, are typically excluded.

Can heated garages be included in square footage calculations?

In some unique cases, heated garages meeting specific livability criteria and building codes may be included in square footage calculations. This is not standard practice, but cities like Denver and Ann Arbor have set such precedents.

How does the inclusion of heated garages influence property value?

Heated garages that meet certain standards can increase both the functional and monetary value of a property. Especially in regions like Minneapolis where they enhance livability, they can significantly impact property value.

Should heated garages be considered in real estate valuation norms?

The article concludes that heated garages that meet specific criteria should be considered in property valuation. They add value by improving functionality, and their addition could also increase the market value of the property, especially in colder climates.