It sounds like a simple question. But the answers can vary. In many states, Tennessee included, the square footage of the home is heated living space. Garages aren’t included. Unfinished basement doesn’t count. Screened porches are wonderful but aren't part of the square footage even though they are definitely heated in the summer!

I know homeowners who were told that their homes were “so many” square feet. They didn’t realize that the size they were quoted was the size “under roof” which is how some builders quote size.  “Under roof” is the total home size. The square footage I can promote in Tennessee as home living space has to be heated. Interestingly, it doesn’t have to be air conditioned.

It is a simple question. It seems like it should have a simple answer. But this is a question that should be followed with more questions to be sure that both parties are using the same basis of comparison.

Brenna Piper ABR, REALTOR®, Cookeville TN, has worked with American Way Real Estate since 2002. A former television news photographer and corporate marketing director, she provides accomplished marketing and negotiating services to sellers and buyers across ten countries of Tennessee’s scenic  Upper Cumberland area. For more information, contact her at