Property Measurements and You

When I’m listing a home, it’s not uncommon for me to have to explain to my sellers why their home might measure smaller than when they first bought it. But how can a property measurement change if the house hasn’t?? This all comes down to the Residential Measurement Standard (RMS) which was implemented in 2015.

Prior to the RMS coming into force, there were no rules regarding measurements. Some agents would take measurements from the builder’s plan (including things like the garage & balconies), some would take them from a previous listing, other wouldn’t measure at all while some, like me, would take the time to measure the home before listing it. As you can imagine, this resulted in inconsistent information and made it difficult to determine what the actual size was.

A measurement standard created a consistent methodology to determine the square footage which everyone was required to follow. There are now guidelines which clearly explain how to measure a variety of properties and what areas are included or excluded in the “Total Area”. Here are some of the highlights of how different properties are measured and what is excluded from the figures:

  • Detached properties are measured using the exterior wall at the foundation.
  • Attached properties, like half-duplexes and townhouses, are measured using the exterior wall at the foundation and the interior permitter of the shared walls.
  • Apartments are measured using the interior perimeter walls.
  • Only floor levels that are entirely above grade (the ground) are included in the measurement. A 4-level split, for example, would only include the first and second floors in the measurements while the third and fourth levels are considered “below grade”.
  • Include above grade additions to the home only if they are weatherproof and suitable for year-round use. An unheated sunroom, for example, would be excluded.
  • Only include areas with a min. floor-to-ceiling height of 5m in the Total Area, like in finished sloped attic bedrooms and bay/bow windows.
  • Exclude open areas that have no floor, such as vaulted areas – this includes staircases for upper floor measurements.
  • Areas like balconies, deck and garages are not included in measurements.

Most recently, a Below Grade Measurement Standard was added to ensure that the below grade areas, while not included in the Total Area, are consistently measured when an agent is including below grade measurements in their listing.

Now, keep in mind that the RMS has not changed the value of any home. Resale homes are NOT valued by price per sq ft. People might think that their home is worth less because their square footage has decreased – this is simply not the case. Your homes value is still calculated the same way, using comparable sold properties and the physical attributes of your property.

Sellers and buyers can now trust in the integrity and consistency of the measurements they are seeing on a property listing and you can view the entire Guide to the RMS here. As always, I’m here to answer any questions you have and you can visit me on Facebook and Google for the latest in real estate news and information!