Real Estate Council of Alberta Introduces Residential Measurement Standard

How big is your home? How about the one you are purchasing? While most people can eyeball how big a property is they aren’t always accurate, and that accuracy can come back to haunt potential buyers. Multiple buyers in both Calgary and Edmonton have recently discovered that their properties are actually smaller than they were told when they purchased them. One woman, Pam Whelan, found out she had been duped. When she purchased her home in 2007 the advertisement said the property was 2580 square feet, but when she recently went to list the property on the market she found out it was actually only 2094 square feet. This significant 756 square foot difference meant that her home was actually valued at significantly less than she paid for it. When she did sell it was for much less than she had paid for it, despite putting nearly $130,000 into renovating the property.


To help protect buyers from misrepresented square footage the Real Estate Council of Alberta recently announced new guidelines regarding home measurement in the province. This standard will help ensure that consumers and real estate professionals are working with accurate and consistent property measurements when buying or selling homes. This will help people compare different properties accurately so they can better determine which property better suits their real estate needs. 


Previous measuring guidelines were broad and open to interpretation. This meant that realtors employed various approaches to measuring properties and sometimes included things like patios, balconies, decks and parking spaces. This meant that many property square footages were artificially inflated, making homes sound larger and driving up prices. 


The new measurement standards require realtors to:

  1. Identify if the square footage is listed in metric or imperial, and require them to apply their chosen unit of measurement consistently.

  2. Measure the outside surface of the exterior walls in order to determine square footage for single, detached properties.

  3. Measure the interior perimeter walls (paint-to-paint) at floor level for all properties with common walls such as half-duplexes, townhouses and apartments. Any additional area representations may be made assuming the exterior measurements.

  4. Include floor levels that are entirely above grade and exclude floor levels if any portion of that floor falls below grade. Below grade levels may be measured, but this area may not be included in the RMS (Residential Measurement Standard) area.

  5. Include all additions to the main structure and conversions of above grade areas within the structure, so long as they are weatherproof and suitable for year round use.

  6. Differentiate between rooms with minimum 2.13m (7ft) ceilings and rooms whose ceilings are lower than that. If the ceiling is sloped the area with a floor to ceiling height of at least 1.52m (5ft) can be included in the RMS area provided there is a ceiling height of 2.13m (7ft) somewhere in the room.

  7. Include extensions from the main structure that have a minimum floor-to-ceiling height of 1.5m (5ft), such as cantilevers, bay and bow windows and dormers.

  8. Exclude open areas that have no floor such as vaulted areas.