Gross Living Area – Frequently Asked Questions

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Gross Living Area – Some Frequently Asked Questions

Valuation Management Group’s quality assurance reviewers routinely review a variety of appraisal reports covering nearly every property type imaginable.  Occasionally clients, appraisers, and other users of appraisals will ask our opinion on Gross Living Area and its calculation.

Gross Living Area (GLA) is the term used in most residential appraisal reports.  GLA is defined by The Dictionary of Real Estate Appraisal as the “Total area of finished, above-grade residential space; calculated by measuring the outside perimeter of the structure and includes only finished, habitable, above-grade living space.  (Finished basements and attic areas are not generally included in gross living area.  Local practices, however, may differ.)”  (Source:

The following are some frequently asked questions VMG has received regarding GLA:

Q: Why has the finished bedroom and bathroom in my basement not been included in the total GLA?
A:  Anything below grade is not included in GLA according to ANSI.  The below grade area would be included in the below grade finished area and therefore given value.

Q: What are the ANSI requirements for ceiling height in order to be included in GLA?
A:  Level ceilings must be at least 7 feet high, and at least 6 feet 4 inches under beams, ducts and other obstructions. There is no height restriction under stairs. If a room has a sloped ceiling, at least one-half of the finished floor area must have a ceiling height of at least 7 feet.

Q: Why has my guest home that is attached by a breezeway not been included in the GLA?
A:  ANSI does not allow any areas to be included in GLA that are separated by non-cooled/non-heated areas from the main space.  Any accessory units would be given value in the appraisal report as additional accessory space.

Valuation Management Group is a national, full service appraisal management service company that manages the appraisal process for community banks, mortgage bankers and credit unions. We offer the full array of commercial and residential appraisal products and services. We take the appraisal process from ordinary to extraordinary.

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