Have You Represented the “Right” Size?
| July 29, 2014
Does size matter? It certainly does if it’s the “wrong” size.
Real estate professionals must ensure they don’t misrepresent a property’s details and this includes the size. It doesn’t matter if it’s a condominium or a house – you need to ensure the size of the property is accurately listed. But exactly how does a real estate professional ensure they’re listing the “right” size?
The Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) requires that any representation, including the information you input into the MLS® System, is accurate. There are sections in the MLS® System that deal with the size of a property, such as Registered Size, Living Space, and the Total Above Grade. The Registered Size is used solely for condominiums and is the size you find on the registered Condominium Plan. The Living Space and Total Above Grade fields are used for condominiums and houses and typically represent the living space of a property.
You need to review the Condominium Plan to determine the Registered Size. The Registered Size of a Condominium is sometimes different from the actual living space. It can include areas such as a balcony, storage, or a parking stall. Whether or not you agree that it’s an important measurement for a buyer is irrelevant. If the field you’re completing asks for the “Registered Size,” then you must input the registered size.
You can’t, however, use the Condominium Plan to determine the living space of a condominium or a house. The only way to do that is to measure the property. You can do it yourself or you can hire a professional to measure the property for you. A best practice is to keep the drawings and calculations as part of the brokerage’s transaction file.
Referring to items such as a tax assessment, developer specs or a previous MLS® listing isn’t enough due diligence to determine the living space of a property. For a buyer who wants or needs a property with a specific size, you must ensure the size is accurate. If you’re representing a buyer, it’s your responsibility to discuss the various size representations and take all reasonable steps to ensure accuracy.
RECA has been sanctioning industry professionals, both selling and buying representatives, who are incorrectly representing property size. When a buyer purchases a property they expect that property is what was represented to them. By competently representing the size of a property, you protect your clients and yourself.