What is the Difference Between Area and Square Footage?

What is the Difference Between Area and Square Footage?
Jennifer Jewell Avatar
Published By Jennifer Jewell

Question: What distinguishes “area” from “square footage” in real estate terms?

Answer: In real estate, “area” is a general term referring to the space within a property’s boundaries. “Square footage” is a specific measurement of that area in square feet, providing a precise quantification of the space’s size.

What is the Difference Between Area and Square Footage? Unraveling the Basics

Understanding the differences between square footage and area can be tricky, particularly in real estate. Both of these terms give us information about the size of a space. Still, the way we calculate them and their specific uses can be quite different. Let’s dig into these terms to bring some clarity to this complex topic.

Click here to learn more about how to evaluate a house in Orangeville
Related Article: Is the Balcony Included in Square Footage Ontario?
Related Article: What is Excluded in House Square Footage?

What is Square Footage? Exploring the Concept

The term "square footage" is quite straightforward. It refers to the area of a space in square feet. We calculate square footage by multiplying the length of a space by its width. For example, if a room is 10 feet long and 10 feet wide, its square footage would be 100 square feet. Square footage is a fundamental measure in real estate, as it gives potential buyers or renters an idea of a property’s size. [ 1 ]

Area: A More General Term

On the other hand, "area" is a more general term. It refers to the amount of space inside the boundary of a shape and can be measured in any unit, not just square feet. Area might be measured in square meters, square yards, or even acres, depending on the context. In essence, square footage is just one way to measure area.

The Intersection: When Area and Square Footage Collide

In real estate, we often use these terms interchangeably, but they can mean different things depending on the context. For instance, when we discuss the "area" of a property, we might be referring to the total land size (including gardens, patios, and other outdoor spaces). Conversely, "square footage" usually refers to the interior living space.

The Fine Print: What Counts in Square Footage

Not all spaces within a property count towards its square footage. Generally, for a space to be included in the square footage, it should be enclosed and suitable for year-round use, regardless of the weather conditions. This means that garages, balconies, patios, and other such spaces are usually excluded. Understanding what counts towards a property’s square footage is essential when comparing properties.

The Big Picture

Knowing the area and square footage of a property is vital for many reasons. It helps property owners set realistic sale or rental prices and enables potential buyers or renters to compare different properties. When comparing properties, it’s important to ensure that you’re comparing like for like. This means understanding exactly what has been included in the area or square footage figures provided.

Click for more information about Jen Jewell

Key Takeaways: Area vs. Square Footage

So, to wrap up, both area and square footage provide a measure of size. However, their uses can vary greatly, particularly in real estate. Area is a general term that might refer to the total land size of a property, while square footage typically refers to the enclosed, year-round usable living space. Being aware of these differences can be immensely useful, whether you’re buying, selling, or renting a property.


1. https://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/remodeling/measure-square-footage1.htm

Jennifer Jewell Avatar

Jennifer Jewell, a licensed real estate representative serving Caledon, Orangeville, Shelburne, Dufferin County and Peel. A graduate of both Humber College and the Ontario Real Estate College Jennifer earned her stripes selling a high volume of real estate in the city, gaining the experience of handling twenty-plus multiple offer situations with a top one percent, multiple award-winning real estate group. A ten-year resident of Dufferin County Jennifer made the move north and quickly made a name for herself, with a reputation for tenaciously protecting her client’s interests. Jennifer is dedicated to serving you with savvy client-focused negotiations and state-of-the-art marketing strategies. Loyal clientele, personal referrals and repeat business form the foundation of Jennifer’s career offering seamless assistance to you for every aspect of your home purchase or sale. Contributor to the Toronto Star, Orangeville Banner and Caledon Citizen as well as being named ThreeBest Rated Five years straight with over 150+ Google reviews and growing. Get in touch with Jen here.