Top 6 Things to Know about Property Measurement
Are you a buyer or a seller? Here are the Top 6 things you need to know about property measurement, and the Residential Measurement Standard in Alberta.
Are you getting ready to buy or sell a home? If you’re a buyer, have you thought about how much space you want? If you’re a seller, have you thought about how the size of your home will affect your list price?
Property size is important, and the Residential Measurement Standard (RMS) in Alberta provides a consistent way to communicate property size for both buyers and sellers. It contains nine principles that real estate professionals must follow when measuring and representing the size of residential property.
Here are the top six things buyers and sellers need to know about residential property measurement, and the Residential Measurement Standard, in Alberta.
1. If you include the size of your property in its listing, the size has to be calculated using the Residential Measurement Standard. As a seller, you’re not required to include the size of your property in the listing, but since property size is important information for most buyers, most sellers include it. If you include the size of your property in the listing, your real estate representative needs to use the RMS to calculate the area.
2. The RMS area only includes above-grade space. The RMS area of a property is the sum of its above grade levels. You cannot include below grade or partially below grade levels of a property, such as a basement or the bottom level in a bi-level, in the RMS area. Your listing can include information about below grade area, but that area is not included in the RMS area, and the listing needs to be clear the additional area is below grade.
3. RMS size and condominium unit registered size are not the same thing. All condominiums have a unit registered size. Condominium unit registered size and RMS area are not the same thing, and they aren’t interchangeable. Condominium unit registered size might include areas that are below grade or that are not suitable for year-round use — such as enclosed patios. It may also include areas that aren’t connected to the unit, such as a storage locker or parking stall. RMS area does not include these areas.
Since the condominium unit registered size and RMS size for a condominium unit are often different, your real estate professional must calculate the area of a condominium unit using the RMS. If you’re also going to include the condominium unit registered size, you must do so separately and it must state what areas are included in the condominium unit registered size (garage, below grade space, etc.)
4. You can include additional measurement information in your listing. If as a seller you want your real estate professional to advertise additional measurements, they can, with some limitations. Before offering any additional measurement information, you must ensure your listing communicates the RMS area. After that your listing can offer measurements that include:
- the below grade areas of the property;
- the size of structures not connected to the property;
- structures connected to the property that do not meet the year-round requirements, and;
- for attached properties, the assumed exterior size so that the property can be compared to detached properties (if it’s an attached or semi-detached property)
5. Areas included in the RMS have to be weatherproof and suitable for year-round use. Suitable for year-round use means it needs to be possible to heat the space to 22°C in the winter. In order to include spaces or structures in a property’s RMS area, they need to be a permanent structure, attached to the main heating system (or have their own permanent heating system), and be permanently attached to the main electrical service. For example, if your property has a sunroom that meets the heating requirement but isn’t permanently connected to your main electricity, it cannot be included in the RMS area of your home.
6. Size isn’t the only consideration in the sale price of a home. Some sellers expect their home to sell for a certain amount based on what homes identical in size have recently sold for in their area. The logic is same size, same neighbourhood, same price, but that’s not the reality. There isn’t always a proportional relationship between the size of a property and its sale price. A lot of factors determine a property’s sale price. These factors include age of the home, layout of the home, features, and finishing. Size is just one factor.