The gross living area (GLA) of a home refers to its above-grade, finished living space—what’s also commonly referred to as its square footage. How the GLA of a home is calculated, however, depends on who is doing the measuring. Builders, the appraisal district, and an appraiser may each employ their own methodologies resulting in different total square footage figures.
Areas open to the floor below, bay windows, and the rounding of exterior measurements are examples of home features that may be treated differently by multiple sources of square footage information, which can greatly affect the total. To help explain why square footage totals for a given home may not agree, Texas REALTOR® magazine has a guide to a number of ways GLA can be defined and measured, including an exercise you can complete to better understand the process.
Remember to quote the source of the information if you provide the square footage of a property or list it in the MLS, and let prospective buyers know if you have any reason to know that the information is false or inaccurate. The form Notice of Information from Other Sources (TXR 2502) is available to Texas REALTORS® for this purpose.