# Calculating Square Footage, Area, and Volume

This is not a math course. We consider it to be an awareness course. The lessons should help make you aware of the different real estate calculations that require math. Yes, you can use a calculator to determine most of the answers. If you’re a real estate agent, be prepared to determine the square footage of rooms, attics, and even building lots. If you’re a buyer, you’ll know what the figure means if a realtor, lender, or seller tosses out a number such as the gross income multiplier or the property tax millage.

In real estate, determining square footage is perhaps the most commonly performed mathematical calculation. Square footage is normally determined by multiplying the length by the width. If the area happens to be a wall, you would multiply the height by the width. This formula works only if the area is a perfect rectangle. Most houses are not perfect rectangles. An addition to the livingroom might be eight feet wider than the rest of the house. The second floor might overhang the bottom floor by two feet in the front and back. That would make the second floor four feet wider than the bottom floor.

When an area is not a perfect rectangle, you normally have to divide the area into separate shapes such as squares, rectangles, triangles, or even circles. Building lots are often anything but a perfect rectangle. In many cases, no two measurements of the property are the same. The lot might be 200 feet wide at the front, 300 feet wide at the rear, 400 feet deep on the left side and 375 feet deep on the right side. If the shape of the lot or house is not a rectangle, you’ll need to figure out exactly what the shape is and apply the appropriate formula to determine its square footage. In the above example, you would divide the property into a triangle using the front width, a triangle using the rear width, and a rectangle.