Part II: How do the tax assessor and an appraiser measure the square footage in a home?

Part II: How do the tax assessor and an appraiser measure the square footage in a home?


There are several ways one can go about arriving at the square footage in his home or a home that he is purchasing. Two of the most common times a house is measured is when it appraised for a loan and when the Tax Assessoré─˘s office appraises the property for taxation purposes. We contacted the Sumner County Tax Assessoré─˘s Office and Phillip Brown, a local appraiser, to get more information on how they arrive at the square footage in a residence.

Following are a few questions that I asked:

Q: How does the Assessoré─˘s office arrive at the square footage on the tax card?

A: The Tax Assessoré─˘s office sends a field man out to measure the outside of the residence. There are generally not any measurements taken from inside the home.

Q: How do you take into account the square footage that is not é─˙living space?é─¨

A: That is deducted when the field man is figuring the square footage.

Q: Do you make adjustments in the square footage if a homeowner brings an appraisal that has a different square footage?

A: Yes, the Tax Assessor can review a recent appraisal and make adjustments if necessary.

Q: Does the square footage that the appraiser arrives at é─˙trumpé─¨ the square footage that the Tax Assessor has arrives at if there is a discrepancy?

A: No, not necessarily. However, adjustments can be made by the Tax Assessor.

Following are questions that I asked Phillip Brown, a local appraiser:

Q: How do you determine the square footage in a home?

A: I take laser measurements outside of the home. If it is a colonial style home or a home that has cathedral ceilings, I will take inside measurements also. Doubling the lower floor does not work on those types of homes.

Q: Do you use special equipment to determine the square footage?

A: In addition to the laser measurements that I take, I also have a drafting program that aids in my calculations.
Q: How do you account for space that is not considered é─˙living space?é─¨

A: I deduct the footage on those. The areas that may not be included are those that generally do not have permanent heating/cooling.

Q: Is é─˙living spaceé─¨ what appraisers measure?

A: I take that into consideration. It is sometimes a judgment call.

Q: When you take measurements inside the home, do you account for the difference in area since you are inside the home and not on the outside?

A: Yes, I do. I account for the difference.

Q: Are you governed by a local board or the State of Tennessee?

A: Appraisers are governed by the State of Tennessee. A specific set of rules that governs appraisers is the Uniform Standard of Appraiser Principles. The Department of Commerce and Insurance is the agency of the state that governs appraisers in Tennessee.