What is RMS and why do we have it?
As of October 1/17, new real estate measurement standards have been put in place which will change the advertised square footage of many properties. Over the past several years, there have been numerous court cases relating to the square footage of property and its value. Cases where a buyer finds out their new house is actually 200 square feet smaller than they thought, for example. When the courts asked the Real Estate Council to provide their standards of measurement for residential properties, they did not have one. The courts then mandated they develop a standard and enforce all members of the industry to abide by it. The goal, to create consistent measurement practices across the province that buyers and sellers can rely on.
How are properties measured?
Each type of property is measured in a different way:
- Single Family Detached – Exterior, outer wall measurements for any above grade portion of the house. Basements (partially or fully below grade) will not be included in the total measurement.
- Mobile Homes – Exterior , outer wall measurements
- Semi-detached or town homes – Interior "paint to paint" or wall to wall measurements are used, excluding below grade square footage
- Apartment Condos – Interior paint to paint measurements, excluding balconies or parking stalls.
When it comes to detached and mobile homes, the difference in how we currently measure square footage is small. However, semi-detached, town homes and apartment condos will see a much larger change in perceived square footage. For example, most developers who sell a condominium complex will include the balcony in the total square footage. In some cases, they will even include parking stalls and storage locker. This can mean a large difference when you take an interior paint to paint measurement. Similarly, semi-detached homes used to use exterior measurements. Now that we measure the interior from paint to paint, we lose width of the entire perimeter wall in the square footage. That might not seem like much but it does tend to add up quickly.
Does this mean your property is worth less?
No, absolutely not. Your property has not gotten smaller, the way we measure it has changed.
Value vs Square Footage
Value is not directly related to square footage. Value comes from features such as the layout, finishing, number of bedrooms, location, parking or age. You don’t select a home based on square footage, you select it because of its features as a whole. Your value will not decrease because we use a smaller square footage on your listing.
What’s the problem?
As with many changes, there comes resistance and an adaptation period which is often a little bumpy. While Realtors are slowly getting on board with the new measurement standards for the industry, it is going to take some longer than others to become compliant. During this period, some properties will have been measured according to the new rules and some others will have not. Using myself as an example, I have several apartment condo listings in Eagle Ridge. All of my units are RMS compliant and there are several others that have yet to make the change. Now, all units correctly measured look smaller than those that are not compliant. This is something I am aware of and am working to change. Once every listing is RMS compliant, we are all on the same level playing field once again. Until that time, it is up to us to make sure we hold those accountable who are not.
These changes are made to benefit the public, not to detract from your property value. If you have any questions regarding RMS, please feel free to reach out to me at any time.