When Does a Closet Become a Room?
When is a closet a room?
In most cases, interior closets are included within the total finished square footage. But, when the closet measures 12 x 20, and does not have any heat/air ducts, is it a closet or is it really a separate unheated room? Should it be counted in the total finished square footage, or should it be included within the unfinished category? According to ANSI®, the space must be heated and cooled by a central HVAC system and a closet typically serves a specific bedroom/space. If you really look through ANSI® there is not an answer to this question and like much about measuring square footage, “it depends” applies. Depending on the agent or appraiser that measures the space, it may (or may NOT) be included within the total square footage. Since it’s not specifically addressed in our “standard,” who can say for sure? But, according to the intent of the rule, if a closet is that large and does not have an HVAC vent, it is really not a fair comparison with other spaces that should be included within the heated/cooled living area.
So, when is a closet a room?
Yes, it depends on who you ask. Almost like those converted porches at the back of the house where they added carpet and one wall, but there’s not any heat/air vents. Some experts count it and some don’t. And, the difference in value is probably about half (or less) the value of the finished space. As usual, it depends plays into that calculation as well. Just remember when you are trying to determine rooms or spaces that should be included with the finished living area or what appraisers call “GLA,” always think of the apples to apples rule. If you were looking to buy this house, would this space function the same? If both houses were 2,000 sqft and one house had a closet that was 240 sqft (without an air vent), does that space “function” the same as the rest of the house? Is it useable space to the same degree/level as all the other space – does it provide for an apples to apples comparison? If it does, include it. If there is any doubt, ask for a second opinion; or, when in doubt, leave it out. GLA or GBA makes a big difference in value.
The ANSI® standard has about eleven pages (5 pages of “rules” and 6 sketches) for a topic that is extremely complex and controversial. There is just no way to answer every measurement question within this limited text. Far too many measurements are subjective. When you’re measuring square footage, apply the apples to apples rule whenever the situation presents itself. You’ll be correct most of the time.