One of the most common questions asked by home buyers in South Florida is what is the difference between Living Area and Adjusted Square Footage? When you search a property on tax record sites such as Miamidade.gov/propertysearch you will typically see three different values: Living Area, Adjusted Area and Total Area. In certain instances there is only an Adjusted area.
The living area square footage refers ONLY to the permitted air conditioned area inside of your home and is commonly referred to as “Under AC.” The Total Area is typically the entire permitted “Footprint” of the home on the tax record and includes the entire square footage of garages, patios, and carports. The adjusted square footage of a property is a hybrid of the total area and living area and includes only a percentage of the patio, garage and carports.
Typically, South Florida property values are determined by using the adjusted square footage measurement. This means that the entire living area is 100% accounted for and the non-living space is accounted for by the following percentages:
50% of garage
80% of second story
33% of covered patios
50% of utility room
When real estate agents enter the square footage of a property, they most often use the adjusted square footage on the Miami-Dade County property tax records website. This means that the adjusted square footage pulled from the tax records page is the number used as the living area square footage on the MLS. It is important for both buyers and realtors to research which figure is actually being used as it affects the value of the home when doing a comparative market analysis.
Also, as an individual looking to purchase a home, it is important to take a moment and see if the advertised living area square footage matches the adjusted square footage on the tax records webpage. If a discrepancy is found, it is important to investigate the matter. Often times, the discrepancy means that additions were made to the home without the appropriate permits.