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Make sure your property measures up

Blog by Kim Twohey | September 12th, 2017

Sometimes, size does matter and this is especially true when buying or selling a home.  Size is one of the factors taken into consideration when determining the value of a home.  Accurate measurements are critical.  In order to ensure that measurements are standardized, Alberta Realtors are required to use the Residential Measurement Standard (RMS).  The RMS is important because

-          It ensures property size is accurately recorded for Buyers, Sellers, and Landlords;

-          It helps Buyers and Tenants determine if a property size will meet their needs; and

-          It helps Buyers and Sellers easily compare property sizes.

The Residential Measurement Standard has nine principles that Realtors must abide by when measuring a home.  Here is what you need to know.

1.  All Realtors must use the RMS when measuring a property.  If needed, they are permitted to hire a qualified contractor to determine the RMS area of the property.  In some cases, a Realtor may not have physical access to the property to take measurements.  When that occurs, the Realtor must indicate that any measurements listed are not in accordance with the RMS and also provide an explanation as to why the property was not properly measured.

2.  Realtors can choose to list measurements in metric or imperial but they must indicate the unit being used and use it consistently.

3.  Detached properties are measured using the exterior wall at the foundation.  In the event the foundation is not accessible, due to landscaping or other impediments, the Realtor can still accurately obtain the measurement by using the interior surface of the perimeter walls and adding on the exterior wall thickness.

4.  For properties with shared walls, such as townhomes or condominiums, the perimeter walls are measured at floor level. 

5.  Realtors are required to include above grade floor levels and exclude any floor levels that have a portion below grade.  Fear not if you have a beautifully developed basement!  The below grade features of a home still add value to the home even though they are not included in the RMS.  Realtors can include below grade measurements in listings but are required to indicate that they pertain to a below grade area of the home. 

6.  Weather-proof and year-round use additions and conversions that are above grade are also included in the RMS.  In order to be included, these additions and conversions must be permanent and have a foundation, be connected to the main electrical service, and be connected to or have a permanent heating service. 

7.  When determining the RMS, the property is required to have a minimum floor-to-ceiling height of 7 feet.  If there are beams or ductwork, the ceiling height to the obstruction must exceed 5 feet.  For rooms with sloped walls, there must be a ceiling height of 7 feet at some point in the room.    

8.  Home extensions that have a minimum floor-to-ceiling height of 5 feet are also included in the RMS.  This encompasses things such as cantilevers, bay windows, bow windows, and dormers.

9.  Areas without a floor are not included in the RMS.  Features such as vaulted ceilings are excluded from the measurement.

In the world of real estate, size is important for both the Buyer and the Seller.  Having the RMS in place makes it easier for all parties to have an accurate understanding of the size of a property.  Remember, size is not the only factor that determines the value and price of a home.  Two homes that are identical in size, even identical in layout, can have very different values based on additional factors such as location, condition of the property, and upgrades.   

If you have questions about the RMS, please feel free to contact me for more information!