Those selling a home in midtown Tulsa need to understand what square footage counts as gross living area (GLA) and what does not. There are areas in our historic homes that add value, but are not counted as living space by an Appraiser.
Many of our historic midtown homes include a finished basement and/or detached living quarters. NEITHER are included in your home’s gross living area. Both will add VALUE to your property, but when we are pricing by square foot, you need to know what the limitations are per appraisal standards.
And I’m going to use my personal residence as an example because I have two appraisals to compare and they are only four years apart. Our home is on the 1900 block of South Cheyenne (referred to as SoChey). We are in between Veteran’s Park and Riverside Drive, so west of Maple Ridge and south of downtown.
Our 2012 refinance appraisal showed our home’s value to be $250,000 and gross living area to be 2,411. The appraiser counted our first floor to be 1,380 square feet and second floor to be 1,030 square feet. The detached living quarters measured 445 square feet, but added no value. It was somewhat run down and used only as storage.
We spent about $50,000 remodeling our detached carriage house in 2015, anticipating the possibility of moving my elderly mother in some day. Our home was appraised in 2016 for an equity line of credit, and it appraised at $365,000 ($115,000 more than the previous appraisal). The gross living area of our home in this appraisal came to 2,449, giving 1,376 square feet to the first floor, 1,073 to the second floor; and 445 square feet to the detached living quarters.
Although the difference in gross living area is 38 square feet different from one appraisal to the other (2,449 versus 2,411), they each measured our detached living quarters at 445 square feet. But note the difference in value. The $50,000 we invested in remodeling the carriage house added $115,000 to the value of our home. Yes, some of that increase was due to general appreciation, but the appraisals clearly show no value given to the detached living quarters in 2012 and given value in the 2016 appraisal.
And what a profitable investment the remodel of our carriage house (now referred to as our cottage) has turned out to be. My very healthy and active 82 year old mother is no where ready to move in with us – she is still driving and getting around just fine. So, in the interim, we are renting it out on AirBnB for $100/night!
What Square Footage Counts in Midtown Tulsa Homes for Sale – and what adds value
Per ANSI (American National Standard Institute), “finished areas that are connected to the main body of the house by other finished areas are included in the finished square footage of the floor that is the same level. Finished areas that are not connected to the house in such a manner cannot be included in the finished square footage of any level.”
Sadly, finished basements are not included in your gross living area, even if it has windows or a door leading to the yard. It is “below grade” and not included. Of course, it does still add value to your home.
I am not an Appraiser and don’t play one on tv. I typically ask my Sellers to pay $75-$100 for a “square footage only appraisal” before we determine list price, as our court house records are often incorrect. (Call Chris Streich 918-284-5750 and tell him I referred you). I recently listed a home where the appraised square footage was 200 square feet larger than court house records. Score!
And, I’ve learned a few things about appraisals through the years selling real estate. One client had an amazing attached yoga room built behind her garage with a separate entrance for clients. Although it was heated and cooled, it did not count in her home’s square footage because the only entry from the main home was through her unfinished garage. That room still added value to her home, but was NOT included in its square footage.
I hope I have helped you understand what square footage counts as gross living area and what does not – rather than confuse you. Appraisals are somewhat subjective and it is important to hire a Realtor familiar with the nuances of our historic midtown homes – and someone who knows how to communicate the value to an Appraiser.
And if you’d like to see our SoChey Cottage on AirBnB (shameless plug), here is the description and link!
Detached carriage house in historic downtown Tulsa neighborhood. Full kitchen, bed, desk, television room, shower. Not connected to the house, street parking. Half-block from RiverParks, Blue Rose & Elwoods, just south of downtown.
If you have questions about your midtown home or are preparing to sell, I would love to be considered for the job! 918-852-5036
Content written and published by Lori Cain.
Lori Cain is a residential Realtor with eXp Realty serving the greater Tulsa Oklahoma area. Call 918-852-5036. eXp Realty is the Agent-Owned Cloud Brokerage®!