New Measurement Standards in Place for Alberta Real Estate

One of the first things many people look at when searching for a new home is to find out just how big a listed home is. A home that lacks sufficient floor space will not be considered seriously by some prospective buyers, while a home with too much floor space may have its own downsides. While homebuyers expect that real estate listings will provide an accurate reflection of a home’s size, the truth is that how a home is measured can be open to interpretation. In fact, recently the Real Estate Council of Alberta had to introduce new measurement standards for real estate listings to ensure that prospective homebuyers were better informed about their choices.

Houses of varying sizes

The issue of home sizes on real estate listings was in the media recently when CBC News found that one Calgary woman’s house was 20 percent smaller than what she believed it to be when she purchased the property. When that homeowner bought her house in 2007, it was listed as having 2,580 square feet of living space on the main floor. However, when she later tried to sell the property she found out that the main floor’s living space was actually 2,094 square feet.

While such a large difference may lead some to assume that realtors are inflating home sizes in order to sell them at a higher rate, there may be far less nefarious forces at work. An investigation into the above woman’s complaint, for example, found that there was no proof that the misrepresentation was committed intentionally. In fact, how to most accurately measure a home’s living space is a matter that is up for debate. Questions about what counts as "living space" can make a big impact on how large a home appears to be. For example, is a closed-in, weatherproof deck that can be used all year a living space? What about open spaces that lack a floor, such as a vaulted area?

New standards

Because measuring "living space" can be so subjective, the Real Estate Council of Alberta recently tried to clarify matters by introducing new real estate measurement standards. The new standards make it much easier for realtors to know what should and should not be included when measuring a home’s living space. So now, while those open vaulted areas without a floor are excluded, an addition to the house that is weatherproof and suitable for year-round use is included in the final measurement. These changes will also give prospective homebuyers greater confidence knowing that all listed homes are being measured according to the same standards.

Real estate legal advice

When it comes to buying or selling a property, it’s important to get reliable and trustworthy advice along the way. A real estate lawyer can assist both buyers and sellers with every stage of the transaction, including by ensuring that all the proper documentation has been taken care of and that all legal obligations have been met.