Why is the sq footage different from when I purchased my home 10 years ago?

Square footage has always been top-of-mind for buyers in their search for a home but it is sellers and agents who are feeling the impact after the introduction of the Real Estate Council of Alberta’s (RECA) Residential Measurement Standard (RMS) in 2015.

For the vast majority of sellers, this has resulted in a “decrease” of their square footage on paper when the home and footprint has obviously not changed. The value has also NOT changed, based on the “new” square footage, as price-per-square foot simply doesn’t apply to the resale real estate market. The size of the home is just one of many factors used to determine the actual, current market value of the property.

What the RMS did is standardize the method of measurement for all real estate professional with the goal of uniform, accurate measurements for comparison purposes. In reality, many agents followed the basic principles included in the standard even pre-RMS, but now all real estate professionals are required to adhere – creating a more even playing field…for most!

It’s true, the rules do not apply to all. Builders are not governed by RECA or the Real Estate Act so the measurements provided are up to the individual builder’s discretion. It is common practice for builders to include areas such as the deck or parking in the advertised square footage – this is not permitted under the RMS and has never been standard practice for real estate agents. This results in many difficult conversations with sellers of a new builds as to the reality of their actual square footage under conventional practice and the new standards.

Another impact on both sellers and agents is the hiring of 3rd party measurement companies. While this is an additional cost, it will protect both the seller and agent from liability regarding representations made of the square footage. I do NOT pass along this cost to my sellers – I consider it part of the many duties and services I happily provide to ensure a smooth transaction and positive experience.

Keeping up-to-date on the changing market conditions, rules/guidelines and emerging trends is my duty and pleasure as a high-performing real estate professional and I’d be delighted to get my skills to work for you. Visit me on Facebook and Google!

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