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Geneva: the different flat areas

By Nicolas Pivin
Reading time: 2 minutes

Are you looking to buy or sell a condominium in the canton of Geneva? If so, it is unavoidable that you will come across the terms ‘net living area’ and ‘total surface’. But what do these values correspond to? Which one is more reliable? Which one is the most representative of the actual living area? In this article, we will answer these questions to help you better understand those surfaces and avoid any confusion and bad surprises.

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What does “total surface” mean? 

In the canton of Geneva, if it is customary to refer to total square meters when purchasing a new apartment, so it is above all a “commercial” term. It is this value that is used as the sales area when going to the notary. It is calculated independently by the official surveyor. 

The total surface includes:

  • The interior area of the rooms; 
  • The surface of interior construction, that is to say, the area used in particular by the walls located inside the building and the passages of technical ducts, for example for piping or electricity;
  • And finally, the surface of the external walls, which is counted at 50% in the case of shared walls. 

The total surface corresponds to the surface indicated in the register of division of ownership. Thus, this surface takes into account the total surface of the housing as a whole without accounting for the various separations of the rooms. The price per square meter of the total surface is, therefore, lower than the price per square meter of living space. 

External surfaces, balconies, terraces or gardens are also included in the total surface through the register of division of ownership. 


What is the difference between the total surface and the net living area? 

The net living area is the type of area used by real estate agents and also as the basis for the valuation of properties. Contrary to the total surface, the net living area does not take into account the interior construction surface of the property. In other words, only the space that can be used by the inhabitants and where the furniture can be placed is taken into account. Only the floor area between the walls of each room of the flat is included. It is therefore normal to find a difference between the net living area and the total surface since when calculating the former, the space used by the walls is not counted. 

It is important to note that the weighted surfaces are also taken into account during the valuation of the property and have an impact on it. These are again the external surfaces of the flat which are taken into account at 50% for the balconies, 33% for the terraces and finally at 10% for gardens. 


You are now familiar with the difference between the total surface and the net living area. As a seller as well as a buyer, it is important to understand this difference to recognize the real area of the property since it will have a direct impact on the sale or purchase of the property. If you still have any doubts about the real living area of your property, do not hesitate to reach out to your local Neho agent in Geneva. He will be able to confirm with you the area to be taken into account to avoid unpleasant surprises and also to better understand the valuation provided in the context of a sale. 

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Nicolas Pivin
Nicolas Pivin
Local Agent

After studying real estate at HEC Lausanne, he continued his training with several real estate developers before joining the Delarive Group. He then decided to go back to the field and became the Riviera agent for Neho. Receptive and attentive to his clients, Nicolas knows that each real estate sale is a distinctive case.

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