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Calculating living space correctly

Anyone looking to sell their house or apartment is obliged to specify the exact area of the living space in the advertisement. But which areas actually count as living space, and how do you calculate that area accurately? Our property experts have put the most important information together for you here.

Regardless of whether you’re about to buy or sell a property, having a clear idea of how the area of living space is calculated is vital in setting a price. Yet many people are a bit lost when it comes to terms like net floor area, gross floor area, usable floor area and floor area. There is no defined regulation for the calculation of a net living space in Switzerland and accordingly no legally prescribed calculation methods. For that very reason, it’s vital to be aware of the different types of living space specified.

1. Main usable floor area

If you see the term ‘main usable floor area’ in the ad, this covers the total floor area of all heated spaces within a property. The following are included:

  • Living room
  • Dining room
  • Bedrooms
  • Hallways
  • Bathrooms
  • Kitchen
  • Stairs

It also includes the floor area under the bath, kitchen cabinets and any built-in cupboards. The following are not included:

  • Storage rooms
  • Balcony
  • Terrace areas
  • Garage areas
  • Basement areas
  • Attic

2. Net floor area and gross floor area

If the net floor area is mentioned, this includes storerooms and storage cupboards, provided that these are heated. The net floor area includes:

  • all parts of the main usable floor area, plus the area of ​​storage rooms or a laundry room.

The gross floor area, meanwhile, encompasses the net floor area plus the footprint of the interior and exterior wall sections.

- Berechnung Wohnfläche Immobilie

3. Usable floor area and floor area

All apartments and houses have areas that can be used, but which are not counted as living space and tend to be unheated. Usable floor area includes:

  • Storage rooms outside the apartment
  • Attic spaces
  • Balconies and terraces
  • Garage areas
  • Basement areas and rooms
  • Laundry rooms
  • Conservatories

The floor area of ​​a property, on the other hand, indicates how many square metres of floor space are built on. It covers all areas of the property, including the external walls. However, the garden is not included, as it’s considered part of the surrounding land.

Beware of sloping ceilings: Areas with a ceiling height of 1.5 metres or more may be counted as usable floor area or living space. If the ceiling height is lower, then this space may only be counted as part of the floor area.

Pricing and living space

Not only is a precise specification of the living space required by law, it also has a major impact on the sales price. If you want to sell your property at a fair market price, it’s vital to calculate the living space correctly. There are two different approaches to setting the asking price: the hedonic method or the real value method. What’s the difference between them, exactly?

The hedonic method incorporates information such as floor plan size, usable floor area and the number of rooms, plus the location of the property and distances to schools or public transport. It then compares these with statistically comparative values ​​on the market, before performing a statistical calculation of the potential purchase price.

In the real value method, on the other hand, the purchase price is determined by a real estate expert on site. The expert uses documents from the title register or land registry office to make the calculation, and may also include the building fabric, energy efficiency and other factors in the price estimate. At the end, you receive a documented, written statement setting out how the purchase price has been determined.

Are you planning to sell your house or apartment? Our experts will be happy to help. Contact us for a consultation with no obligations. We look forward to hearing from you!

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