The Impotance of Residential Real Estate RMS

What is the importance of RMS?

Residential Measurement Standard Principles

REALTORS® must use the RMS when measuring and advertising properties. Measurements must be calculated to within 2% of the RMS size. RMS measurements are only included where the structure is heated and insulated. For detached properties, exterior measurements are used. For apartment style condos, interior perimeter walls are used at floor level.There are specific guidelines for measuring sloped ceilings, walkout basements, bay windows, sunrooms, dormers and cantilevers.

What happens if the RMS is incorrect

If the RMS is incorrect, you or REALTOR® can be held liable for the discrepancy and a buyer has a legal right to sue you for fraudulent misrepresentation. Most REALTORS® hire out a licensed RMS Company to ensure the size of your home is advertised accurately.

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
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