Choosing the Right Size Home: Floor Plan vs. Square Footage

Blog posted On August 15, 2019

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After budget and location, the number of rooms and the square footage are among the top factors home buyers consider.  However, when you’re buying a new home, bigger isn’t always better.  Touring the actual homes you’re considering purchasing, rather than just relying on the reported square footage, allows you to see how the home is setup.  A larger home with poorly used space won’t serve you as well as a smaller home with the right layout.  When you see a home within your budget and a larger than expected square footage, take a tour with your Realtor or real estate agent.  Make sure the layout suits your needs and you don’t get stuck with unusable space.


When touring prospective homes, be sure to answer these three questions:

  • How usable is the space?
  • What does the layout look like?
  • Is the price per square foot misleading?

Usable Space

Walking into a big beautiful room, check the shape and picture your furniture in it.  Awkward corners and a weird shape might mean much of the space is unusable.  Keep in mind, total square footage includes everything like hallways, closets, and bathrooms.  A giant closet in one bedroom, might mean another bedroom lacks adequate space. 

Layout and Floor Plan

If the room to closet to hallway proportions check out, consider how the layout flows.  A big beautiful kitchen won’t make sense if it’s the first room you walk into.  An extra half-bathroom sounds great, until you find out it’s jammed under the stairs with a low ceiling and barely usable. 

Price per Square Foot

The price per square foot is calculated by the sale price of the home divided by the total square feet in the home.  This figure can be misleading when a significant portion of the square feet counted in the equation is unusable, you might not be getting as good of a deal as you think.  You can calculate a more accurate price per square foot figure by using the size of the usable space divided by the sale price.


You may think you’re getting a great deal on a home when you see a home within your budget that’s larger than you expect, but do your research.  There are things the pictures could be hiding.  Be sure to schedule home tours with your Realtor or real estate agent, even in a competitive market. 


Sources: US News and World Report