Square Footage of SouthWest Florida Homes
In local SouthWest Florida MLS listings, there are two measures of a home’s square footage. The first is the area “under air” (the portion of the home that is air conditioned and heated).
A newer 3 Bedroom, 2 Bath home in the price range of $275,000 to $500,000 typically is 1500 to 2300 square feet under air. Property taxes are based on the under-air square footage (a good thing!).
The second measure is the total living space. This total adds the lanai, pool, patio, and garage. The lanai and pool area are almost always screened (or “caged”) for 24 hour, 365 days a year comfort, keeping out the pesky mosquitoes and no-see-ums that show up at dusk in the summer. An under-truss lanai (pictured here) is a 4 season room that is either used for dining or as an outdoor living room. Here in SouthWest Florida, our living space most definitely includes the lanai and pool/patio area. It’s where we spend the majority of our time.
Total square footage is the better measure for evaluating a property. A large pool and patio area and/or a large lanai adds significantly to the property’s value and marketability.
Consumer sites such as realtor.com pull in the first measurement, the under air square footage, which can be confusing to shoppers comparing living space in a northern home to living space in a Florida home.
Case in point, after browsing homes on the Internet, a couple from Minnesota presumed they’d be looking at small living spaces. Needless to say, they were amazed at how much true living space there is. The home they purchased has 3 bedrooms, 2 full baths, and a 2 car garage. It’s 1800 sqft under air but overall has 3700 sqft total living space. Their patio area has room for an outdoor living room, outdoor kitchen (or four-burner-TV-chef-style-barbecue), outdoor dining for eight, and several chase lounges.
Oh, and by the way, the property appraiser considers the under air square footage separately from other spaces (e.g., the garage).