One of the common misconceptions an Appraiser comes across in relation to Real Estate Agents and homeowners is the subject of Gross Living Area? What is Gross Living Area (GLA), AKA "livable area". GLA is roughly defined as: the amount of area found within an exterior measurement of the home's foundation, above grade.
Is a basement included in GLA?
The simple answer is no, a basement is not included in GLA. However, this does not mean that an appraiser does not give the basement any value. The loose definition of a basement is: any portion of the house, that is adult height, or taller, that is below grade (below the level of the dirt outside the home).
The next question that usually arises is "what about a walk out basement?".
A walk out basement is still considered below grade area, though only a portion of the walls are subterranian.
It is up to the Appraiser to determine how much value, per square foot, to give to the basement. Usually, the value is less than what is given the GLA (above grade livable area), however it is entirely possible and reasonable, to give some homes the exact same value as the GLA. Because an Appraiser does not technically call the basement GLA does not mean that he/she does not recogize its value. Sometimes, homeowners or Realtors become a little offended at what they perceive as an Appraiser discounting the value of the basement's use, when in reality an Appraiser is just calling it a different name.