How to Accurately Use the Residential Measurement Standard

Alberta REALTOR® 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 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? 

When stating the area of a residential property, your REALTOR® must follow the RMS principles:

  • Alberta REALTORS® must use the RMS.
  • Identify if the measurement system is metric or imperial, and apply it consistently. Measurements must be calculated to within 2% of the RMS size.
  • For detached properties, measure the property using the exterior wall at the foundation.
  • For properties with common walls, such as half-duplexes, townhouses, and apartments, measure the interior perimeter walls (paint-to-paint) at floor level.
  • Include floor levels that are entirely above grade. Below grade levels must not be included in the RMS area. If you have a split level, this may include two or three levels depending on where the grade sits.
  • Include all additions to the main structure above grade areas within the structure if they are heated and insulated.
  • The property must have a minimum floor-to-ceiling height of 7 feet. If the ceiling is sloped, the area with a floor-to-ceiling- height of at least 5 feet is included in the RMS area, provided there is a ceiling height of 7 feet somewhere in the room. This can eliminate bay window sitting areas.
  • Exclude open areas that have no floor, such as vaulted areas.

Your REALTOR® also has a responsibility to ensure you understand the RMS and its implications, and is required to discuss it with you. This discussion will help you make informed decisions about the size and suitability of properties.

For more information about the RMS, you can read the Consumer Guide to the Residential Measurement Standard in Alberta.

In Alberta real estate purchase agreements, there may be a clause placing the onus on the buyer to verify the property size. 

As a buyer, if you want to verify measurements, you can hire a property measurement company or your REALTOR® can measure the property. 

Throughout this process, as a buyer, keep in mind that the size of the property is not the only thing sellers are using to set a listing price for their home. Two homes, with the exact same measurements, are unlikely to sell at the same price. The price of a home will also depend on features, décor, state of upkeep.

As a seller, your real estate representative must explain the relationship between property size and price, the role of the RMS, what it entails, and information about details like above grade and below grade measurements. Your Edmonton REALTOR® is required to discuss the following with you:

  • the relationship between property size and asking price
  • the correct RMS, including what is and what is not included in the RMS
  • sellers are not required to represent the size of their property, however the listing service/property database may have a mandatory property size field
  • if the real estate professional will measure the property or engage another qualified person to measure it based on the RMS and usually pay the cost

Throughout this process, as a seller, keep in mind that a property size is not the only thing buyers are concerned about. Two homes, with the exact same measurements, are unlikely to sell at the same price. The price of your home will also depend on features, décor, state of upkeep.

Discrepancies between RMS when you first bought and your new RMS

  • If you own a condominium, the builder may have added the balcony to the square footage
  • It was measured incorrectly
  • It was based off of the blue prints
  • bay windows, vaulted ceiling, uninsulated sunrooms may have been added to the size

How Concerned Should You Be With Radon in Your House?

What is Radon?

Radon is an odourless, tasteless, colourless radioactive gas that is the by-product of uranium decay. Uranium occurs naturally in soil and rock formations, and creates uranium deposits, some Canadain provinces such as Alberta and Saskatchewan, have higher radon levels.

Radon seeps through the earth and into basements, where it can become trapped because of the efficient way our homes are sealed from the outside elements. Prolonged exposure to radon can lead to health problems, including lung cancer. In fact, after smoking, radon gas is the leading cause of lung cancer.

The Alberta Building Code 2014 included new requirements to protect homes from radon. The requirements came into effect in late 2015, and include, among other things, that new homes require a properly located radon rough-in or passive pipe in the basement, which can make it easier (and cheaper) to install a radon mitigation device in the future if it’s needed.

Does your Edmonton house have Radon?

It is important to know that homes anywhere in Canada can have dangerous radon levels. However, some of the homes in the prairie provinces have the highest average level of radon. 

Radon Gas Map for CanadaRadon Gas Map, Canada. Source: Radon Environmental Management Corporation. 2011

How to test for radon

There are a few companies in Edmonton which will test for radon. This is becoming a more common contingency for home buyers. Long-term testing: tests of at least 90 days during the heating period (fall, winter, and spring) or during the height of summer when you may have air conditioning running provide reliable for determining radon levels.

Short-term testing: in Canada, some entities market and recommend short-term testing. Health Canada states short-term tests are not acceptable to assess radon levels as radon levels can vary significantly over time. Do not be misled, short-term tests do not provide buyers and sellers with an accurate indication of the likelihood of adverse radon levels.

Advice for Sellers

  • consider doing a 90-day radon test before listing your home; ensure you hire a certified professional for the test (the do-it-yourself kits are less reliable)
  • if the radon level is 200 Becquerel or higher, you need to disclose that to potential buyers UNLESS you install a radon mitigation device before listing and the 90 day long-term test indicates the new radon level is below 200 Becquerel
  • if the results from the test are less than 200 Becquerel, share the low test results with potential buyers as a potential selling feature
  • if you don’t do a radon test before listing, be open to negotiations with a potential buyer that may include a holdback relating to the cost of radon testing and/or mitigation

Advice for Buyers

  • ask the seller if they have conducted a 90-day radon test
  • if so, ask for the results of that test (if the result was 200 Becquerel or higher, the seller must disclose)
  • if the seller has not conducted a radon test, talk to your real estate professional about reducing your offer by the approximate cost of radon mitigation
  • alternatively, ask the seller for a holdback on your offer to purchase that will be released upon low radon test results OR in the event of a high radon test, the holdback funds will be used for radon mitigation with any funds remaining released to the seller after the mitigation device is installed
  • if you buy a home that hasn’t had a radon test done, we encourage you to proceed with a radon test within 90 days of possession. This is health issue, and radon testing and mitigation is money well-spent. For more information about radon, go to Health Canada’s website and search “radon.”

The good news when it comes to radon is it’s a solvable problem. Even if you fall in love with a home that hasn’t had a radon test or the results are high, a radon mitigation device can be installed to vent radon gas outside the home from the basement. There are several proven methods to reduce radon in your home, but the one most used has a vent pipe system and fan, which pulls radon from beneath the house and vents it to the outside. This system, known as a soil depressurization system, does not require major changes to your home.


What is an upside down mortgage?

An upside-down mortgage is simply a mortgage in which is more money is owing than what the property is worth. An upside down mortgage can happen to anyone. With real estate markets in big cities like Toronto and Vancouver where house values are decreasing, many homeowners will find themselves in this position today.

If you find yourself in this situation and can afford your monthly mortgage payments, the best thing to do is stay put and keep paying down your mortgage until you have built some equity.

Can You Sell Your Home With an Upside Down Mortgage?

You may want to or need to your home in a downward market, knowing next year, your home will be worth less. The answer is yes you can, but will need to take into consideration the ability to pay the debt you acquired between closing costs, mortgage penalties and mortgage payouts. If you are able to find the funds, sometimes it's just best to take the loss and move on to avoid going further into an upside down mortgage.

If you are struggling to make payments and your mortgage is upside down, talk with your bank. Your financial institution can allow you to sell your home and provide you with a personal loan to cover the shortfall, saving your credit.

The simplest solution for homeowners with upside-down mortgages is to continue making payments, if possible, and wait for home prices to rise again before selling their homes.

Are there any other options?

Sometime you will see an owner selling half of a house (yes it is possible). This is usually due to a civil enforcement and a lack of equity in the property. If you choose to keep your home and are will to sell half to a stranger, this may also be an option for you. 


Homes Sales for the month of February 2023

Edmonton sold detched houses in the...

Southwest - 90 with an average sold price of $591,986

Southeast - 97 with an average sold price of $450,180

West - 78 with an average sold price of $502,337

Northwest - 73 with an average sold price of $424,489

Northeast - 80 with an average sold price of $376,552

MLS® listed new builds - 57 with an average price of $550,581


There were a total of 924 properties sold with an average days on market of 56. There were 438 condominiums sold and 576 single family houses sold with an average price of $451,433. There were 392 properties which did not sell which were on the market between 61 to 522 days. A large portion of February's expired homes were condominiums in oliver and downtown Edmonton.

Sherwood Park

There were a total of 56 properties sold with an average days on market of 44. There were 11 condominiums sold and 45 single family houses sold with an average price of $473,043. There were 11 expired properties. This was a sellers market!

Spruce Grove

There were a total of 60 properties sold with an average days on market of 54. There were 7 condominiums sold and 53 single family houses sold with an average price of $408,729. There was only 17 expired properties this month. The market is picking up!


There were a total of 18 properties sold with an average days on market of 50. There were no condominiums sold and 18 single family houses sold with an average price of $505,750. 9 properties expired and did not sell. Every 2 out of 3 houses sold.


There were a total of 46 properties sold with an average days on market of 60. There were 10 condominiums sold and 36 single family houses sold with an average price of $420,168. 14 properties expired and did not sell.

For recently sold house prices - click here.

View last month's home sales

Copyright 2023 by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. All Rights Reserved.
Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton.
The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by CREA and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA.