Maximizing Space: The Ultimate Guide to Real Estate Square Footage Accounting for Property Owners

By Bob Ladner, GM Commercial Real Estate  

For property owners and real estate investors, optimizing space utilization is key to maximizing property value and return on investment. Understanding and accurately accounting for square footage is fundamental to commercial real estate management. This comprehensive guide will explore the importance of square footage accounting, the methods for measuring it accurately, and the impact on a property’s financial position and accounting practices. 

Why Square Footage Accounting Matters 

Accurate square footage accounting is crucial for several reasons: 

  1. Pricing and Valuation: Square footage directly impacts property pricing and valuation. Whether renting, selling, or investing in real estate, knowing the precise square footage enables you to set appropriate prices and negotiate fair deals. 
  2. Space Utilization: Efficient space utilization can significantly impact the usability and attractiveness of a property. Understanding the available square footage allows you to optimize layouts and configurations for maximum functionality. 
  3. Legal and Compliance: Many building regulations, permits, and lease agreements are based on square footage. Ensuring accurate accounting helps you comply with local laws and avoid potential legal disputes. 

Accurate Square Footage Measurement Methods 

Accurately measuring square footage requires adherence to standardized methods. Here are the two most common methods: 

  1. ANSI/BOMA Standard Method: This method, developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), involves measuring the “rentable area” of a property. It includes the usable area (the space occupied by the tenant) and a proportionate share of common areas (lobbies, hallways, etc.). 
  2. REBNY Method of Commercial Building Measurement: This method allows usable space to be measured to the outer face of a building’s exterior wall. The thickness of the corridor walls is included as usable footage. REBNY also allows a loss factor to be applied to functional areas. 
  3. Gross Internal Area (GIA) Method: This method measures the entire enclosed area within the property, including internal walls. It is commonly used for residential properties and represents the total indoor space. 

Whether you’re a property owner, investor, or real estate professional, understanding the methods for precise measurement is essential. Start optimizing your real estate assets today by working with SDI to ensure your property’s square footage is accounted for accurately—contact us to get started!