By The A-Team | Sep 20, 2017 | Buyers Advice
Sounds like a funny question, right? Well, over the next few months, you may notice that the sizes of properties listed on the MLS® might be smaller than before. It certainly will be changing! Weird, right?! Because the homes themselves can’t be changing size, can they?
As well as being a specialist buyer’s agent at The A-Team, I am also a Candidate Appraiser, which means I have measured a few properties in my time. Because of this, I figured I’d be well placed to explain what is going on here. This is my first blog, so bear with me...
From now on, when REALTORS® list homes for sale, we must measure them according to this new standard. When we help people buy homes, we must also offer to measure the home on behalf of the buyer.
At The A-Team, we are pretty geeky, so we are pretty excited about this.
That’s all well and good, but could the new measurement standard have implications for you and your home next time you go to sell and/or buy? YES.
This has led to inconsistencies over the years on how properties are marketed and sold. For example, often times the square footage provided by builders specification sheets, municipal assessment, condo plans, or previous listing information has been relied upon and assumed to be correct.
Those measurements likely are correct, but they aren’t consistent, so maybe they shouldn’t be used to compare the sizes of different properties. We need to be able to rely on the fact that two homes are measured in the same way because...
Size affects value. If measured sizes are inconsistent, so might valuations be: People might pay too much or not enough for properties which can hurt buyers and sellers respectively. Not good!
In this way, the regulator (Real Estate Council of Alberta or RECA) is aiming to raise industry standards (a lofty goal, but a good one, and one we agree with). Here’s an awesome online consumer brochure about RMS:
Residential Measurement StandardAlberta 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. Read more at reca.ca
In fact, for many homes, the RMS square footage will be smaller.
This may be frustrating or upsetting to some, especially those who have purchased from builders and bought a home under the impression that price directly correlated with the measured size (buying a home at a price per square foot).
Don’t panic. This should not impact value. It is more likely to impact the ego than the wallet....
Your house hasn’t shrunk, and if everyone measures consistently (this is the goal of the RMS), then all of your neighbours’ homes just likely “shrank” in measured size, too. We will be comparing our home to these homes when estimating value.
Furthermore, there are many other important factors which will attribute value to a property, such as features in the home, lot size, location, basement development, etc.
If you are considering selling your home, please address your concerns to one of our A-Team listing specialists (two thumbs up if you mention this blog when doing so!).
Read on to see how much your measured size might be impacted…
If you currently live in a home with common wall(s) (half-duplexes, townhouses, and apartments), then your home will be measured at the interior perimeter walls (paint-to-paint). This was common in the past with apartment or townhome style properties; however, it’s a newer concept for half-duplexes. In this way, owners of duplexes are most likely to experience measured square footage ‘shrinking’.
A listing agent’s role is to market a home (expose it to as many people in the best possible light). As part of this, your listing agent can give extra measurements to show the value of your home. For example, that three-seasons room might not factor into the measured total square footage, but it can be measured and included elsewhere in the listing and the marketing material (for example, in the video).
If you are purchasing a home and are unsure if the RMS has been used when listing the property, ask your REALTOR® to verify and measure the property for you. Our buyers agents will be extremely diligent, especially during the transitional period, and especially when helping buyer clients buy homes with unusual layouts.