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Some of our customers don’t need a full appraisal. They may need only a partial service report. Many times, the question you want answered is simply “How big is it?” We can do that for you.

Why do you need to know how big it is? One common reason is marketing your property for sale. Everyone wants to know how big it is. When you list your home for sale in the greater Houston area, the MLS system auto-imports the quoted living area of your home from the local appraisal district. You may have added an additional 1,000 square feet of living area, but the appraisal district records may not be current enough to reflect your addition.

Most Realtors will not alter the appraisal district information without good support. The potential for liability is too great. Representing your property as larger than it really is can lead to a lawsuit.

By hiring a qualified, state certified appraiser to measure your property, you and your Realtor, can present your property to buyers accurately and without fear of potential future liability.

The principle area in residential properties is technically called Gross Living Area (GLA). Gross Living Area is defined differently by a number of entities. It is generally described as the contiguous finished area, above grade level. Sounds simple enough. It gets more complicated.

In single-family “detached” properties, Gross Living Area is calculated using the exterior dimensions of the improvements. Anything below grade, either partially or completely, is not counted in the GLA. Conversely, condominiums are measured using the interior dimensions. “Paint to paint” is the common appraiser phraseology.

Fannie Mae is a large quasi-governmental entity that buys many mortgages. What they define as Gross Living Area carries significant weight.

Per the Fannie Mae selling guide dated 4/12/02. Section 405.06 – “Only finished above-grade areas should be used. Garages and basements (including those that are partially above-grade) should not be included. We consider a level to be below-grade, if any portion of it is below-grade, regardless of the quality of its “finish” or the window area of any room. Therefore, a walkout basement with finished rooms would not be included in the above-grade room count.”

ANSI, (The American National Standards Institute) has recently come up with a definition of Gross Living Area. A variety of appraisal organizations have their own definitions of GLA. But, many of those organizations follow their definition with the caveat that, consistency with other local appraisers is critical. In the words of many farmers, the whole issue is clear as mud.

Avoid the liability. Accurately represent your property. If you believe the appraisal district information is not accurate, let Reliable Valuation Service measure your property.