February 4, 2022

How to Calculate Square Footage of a Commercial Building

If you are looking to invest in a commercial building, one important factor you will likely be focused on is the building’s size. However, there’s more to calculating the square footage of a commercial building than meets the eye.

Not only will you need to determine the overall size of the structure, but you will also have to calculate the rentable space inside. Having an understanding of the exact space that can be rented to tenants will help you decide which building is the right fit. Here is a breakdown of how to calculate the square footage of a commercial building.

Measuring Square Footage

When browsing listings for commercial real estate, you might find that it’s easy to focus on the overall square footage of a building. For example, you have determined that you are in the market for a building that is between 15,000 and 20,000 square feet. However, not all 15,000-square-foot commercial buildings are created equal.

To find which building is the best option, you will need to use various commercial square footage measurement techniques. Three measurement strategies that can help you evaluate a commercial building’s size and functionality include:

  • Useable Square Footage – Useable square footage is the amount of space that a commercial building offers for a specific tenant. You will need to know how much usable square footage is available if you are going to rent space within your building to other people or organizations.
  • Rentable Square Footage – Rentable square footage is the amount of space that a tenant can occupy, as well as the percentage of the common areas that they may use. For instance, if you are investing in a commercial office building that has a large lobby, a small cafe, and several office spaces, you will need to determine the rentable square footage for each prospective tenant.
  • Gross Square Footage – This is the measurement of the entire building, and is likely the size that will be presented on the commercial real estate listing.

Tools to Calculating Square Footage

Determining the square footage of a commercial building can be complicated. If you are trying to make all these calculations on your own, you may feel in over your head. Fortunately, there are tools and resources available to help make this process easier.

At Rakow Commercial Realty Group, we have an office space calculator that allows you to break down the usable and rentable square footage based on the number of offices and their size. This commercial office space calculator is free and simple to use.

Tips for Calculating the Square Footage

As you continue to browse for available commercial real estate in your area, use these tips to help calculate the square footage:

  • Choose a measurement method based on the type of commercial property that you are buying and your intended use for that property. By narrowing down the best measurement method, you will get the information you need to make a confident decision.
  • Always take the time to measure the space for yourself. The calculations can help you simplify your search. Don’t make a final decision until you have verified the numbers and determined that the space will meet your needs.
  • Consider the shape and size of each building. The shape of any room or common area can determine its functionality. A smaller room with a better space may be more beneficial to you than a building that has more square footage but odd angles and uncomfortably small spaces.

Factors to Consider When Purchasing Commercial Real Estate

In addition to square footage, there are other factors that you may want to consider when purchasing commercial real estate, including:

  • Location of the building.
  • Size of the parking lot
  • Nearby attractions and amenities

Choosing the right commercial building and finalizing the purchase can be an overwhelming experience. If you want to make the most out of your investment and ensure that you enjoy the highest returns, partner with a commercial real estate firm that specializes in this niche sector of the real estate industry.

At Rakow Commercial Realty Group, our team can help you search for the right commercial building, and we can determine if the square footage meets your needs. For more information about investing in commercial real estate, contact Rakow Commercial Realty Group today.


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