Residential Measurement Standard

Alberta real estate professionals must use the Residential Measurement Standard (RMS) when measuring residential properties. This measurement standard helps consumers easily and accurately compare different types of residential properties.

The RMS offers a consistent means of representing the property’s above grade space. Among other things, the RMS sets out what parts of a property can be included in its measured-area. For example, if a room has a dormer with a ceiling height of only 4 feet, is it included as floor space? What about finished basements that are entirely below grade? The RMS information benefits consumers because:

  • sellers want their property size accurately described
  • buyers want to ensure the property size meets their needs
  • buyers and sellers want to be able to compare the size of different types of properties
  • landlords want to accurately describe their rental property’s size
  • tenants want accurate information regarding their leased space size

When stating a residential property’s area, your real estate representative must follow the RMS principles:



  1. Real estate professionals must use the RMS.

  2. Identify if the measurement system is metric or imperial, and apply it consistently. Measurements must be calculated to within 2% of the RMS size.

  3. For detached properties, measure the property using the exterior wall at the foundation.

  4. For properties with common walls, such as half-duplexes, townhouses, and apartments, measure the interior perimeter walls (paint-to-paint) at floor level. An additional area representation may be made assuming exterior measurements.

  5. Include floor levels that are entirely above grade and exclude floor levels if any portion is below grade. Below grade levels may be measure, but the area must not be included in the RMS area.

  6. Include all additions to the main structure and conversions of above grade areas within the structure of they are weatherproof and suitable for year-round use.

  7. The property must have a minimum floor-to-ceiling height of 2.13 metres (7 feet). If the ceiling is sloped, the area with a floor-to-ceiling- height of at least 1.52 metres (5 feet) is included in the RMS area, provided there is a ceiling height of 2.13 metres (7 feet) somewhere in the room.

  8. Included extensions from the main structure that have a minimum floor-to-ceiling height of 1.5 metres (5 feet), such as cantilevers, bay and bow window, and dormers.

  9. Exclude open areas that have no floor, such as vaulted areas.

Your real estate professional also has a responsibility to ensure you understand the RMS and its implications, and is required to discuss it with you. This discussion will help you make informed decisions about the size and suitability of properties.

For more information about the RMS, you can read the Consumer Guide to the Residential Measurement Standard in Alberta.


As a buyer, your real estate representative must explain the relationship between property size and price, the measured size the seller is representing, what it entails, and information about details like above grade and below grade measurements.

Property size and measurement are important factors for most buyers and your real estate professional must discuss the following with you:

  • how property size factors into a buyer’s decision to purchase
  • the relationship between property size and asking price
  • the RMS:
    • What is included and excluded in the measurements
    • How professionals take measurements and calculate them
  • if the property is a condominium:
    • The different between RMS size and the condominium unit registered size
    • What is included and excluded in the RMS size
    • What is included and excluded in the condominium unit registered size
  • your options to determine property size, and your instructions

Many purchase contracts contain clauses placing the onus on the buyer to verify the property size. If property size is important to you, tell your representative, and take steps to verify the size rather than relying on the seller’s representation.

If you want to verify measurements, you can ask your real estate professional to hire a property measurement company or you or your real estate representative can measure the property. You and your real estate professional should discuss whether you should take measurements before making an offer to purchase or as a condition of your offer, and who will pay the cost of the measurement company.

Throughout this process, as a buyer, keep in mind that a property’s size isn’t the only thing sellers are using to set a listing price for their home. Two homes, with the exact same measurements, are unlikely to sell at the same price. The price of a home will also depend on features, décor, state of upkeep.


As a seller, your real estate representative must explain the relationship between property size and price, the role of the RMS, what it entails, and information about details like above grade and below grade measurements.

Your real estate professional is required to discuss the following with you:

  • the relationship between property size and asking price
  • the RMS:
    • what is included and excluded in the measurements
    • how professionals take measurements and calculate them
    • how size descriptors in marketing materials must follow the RMS
  • if the property is a condominium:
    • the different between RMS size and the condominium unit registered size
    • what is included and excluded in the RMS size
    • what is included and excluded in the condominium unit registered size
  • sellers are not required to represent the size of their property, however:
    • property size is often important to buyers and other real estate professionals
    • the listing service/property database may have a mandatory property size field
  • if the seller wants to represent the size of their property, they need to use RMS
    • sellers and their professionals may provide additional information, if it’s not misleading and it meets RMS requirements
  • if the real estate professional will measure the seller’s property or engage another qualified person to measure it based on the RMS and who will pay the cost

Throughout this process, as a seller, keep in mind that a property’s size isn’t the only thing buyers are concerned about. Two homes, with the exact same measurements, are unlikely to sell at the same price. The price of your home will also depend on features, décor, state of upkeep.


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.



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