RMS Measurement Requirements FAQ in Alberta
ATTENTION: A Special Message From For Sale By Owner Inc. & FSBO Real Estate Inc.The organized Real Estate industry is now using their "New RMS Requirement" as a brand new barrier to private sellers who want to use the MLS® System to sell privately in Alberta.
The provincial regulators are aggressively policing Flat Fee MLS® Service Providers like FSBO Real Estate Inc., while turning a blind eye to many other full service REALTOR® listings throughout Alberta.
It is a shame that the industry is so bent on stopping you from listing your own home - but if you are willing to jump through their hoops to be fully compliant, you can utilize the REALTOR.ca website to dramatically increase your chances of selling on your own in Alberta!
Below is some information to help you better understand this new regulation.
1. What is the "stated" purpose of the Residential Measurement Standard (RMS)?
The RMS gives consumers and industry professionals accurate and consistent property measurements, which they can use to compare properties and determine their suitability. Proper application of the RMS ensures real estate professionals provide reliable and verifiable property size and dimensions.
2. Can the seller measure the property?
No. The property must be measured by a Real Estate Professional or a qualified measurements professional. You can engage a qualified person to measure it using the RMS. To determine whether someone is competent to measure properties in accordance with the RMS, you might ask them to detail:
- How were they/their staff trained in the RMS
- The number of properties they/their staff measured using the RMS
- The equipment, processes, and software they use to calculate the RMS
- References from other measurement professionals who have used their service
- In addition, you should ensure the person or service has Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance for their measurement services.
It depends on the type of property they are measuring. They will measure detached properties using the exterior wall at the foundation. Detached properties include fully detached bare land condominiums. They will measure attached properties using the interior perimeter walls at floor level. Attached properties include half-duplexes, townhouses, and apartments.
4. Do they have to measure every room and closet in an attached property?
No. They can use long runs.
5. Can I use the size listed in a municipal tax roll as the RMS if I disclose where I got the information?
No. Real Estate Brokerage professionals have an obligation to their clients to perform their due diligence. Measuring the property according to the RMS or having it measured by a qualified individual is part of that due diligence. There is no guarantee as to the accuracy of the previous listing's measurements and the property may have been renovated or added to since it was last listed which could have changed its area measurements.
6. Can I use the size in a listing database from a previous listing of the property?
No. Measurement professionals have an obligation to their clients to perform their due diligence. Measuring the property according to the RMS or having it measured by a qualified individual is part of that due diligence. There is no guarantee as to the accuracy of the previous listing's measurements and the property may have been renovated or added to since it was last listed which could have changed its area measurements.
However, there are some limited circumstances when re-measuring is not required. Re-measuring is not required when renewing a recently expired listing or the property is a rental unit with a property management agreement that indicates the property will be listed for rent multiple times during the agreement as vacancies arise.
7. How do they compare attached and detached properties?
To compare different types of residential properties, RMS professionals can provide an additional measurement for attached properties using the property's exterior. RMS professionals must base this additional measurement on reasonable assumptions about the exterior wall thickness, and can extrapolate the exterior wall thickness from the thickness of the exterior door casings and/ or exterior window casings. If measurement professionals provide additional measurements based on exterior assumptions, they must make it clear it is not the RMS area for the property, and explain their assumptions.
8. Do they have to authenticate the RMS for every property I list?
Some MLS® listings systems throughout Alberta do not always require the Brokerage to represent the size of their property based on the RMS; however it is still necessary because:
- Property size is often important to buyers and other measurement professionals
- The listing service/property database may have a mandatory property size field
9. I am listing a 2-storey condominium apartment in a large building where all apartments are the same. The apartments are 2-storey apartments. The apartment I am listing is on the ground level and one of the stories in the apartment is 2-feet below grade. If I don't include the below grade portion of the apartment, the apartment will appear to be significantly smaller in my local board's database than other same size apartments in the same building. How should I deal with this situation?
The RMS provides an exception for properties that are entirely below grade. The outcome of this exception means that if apartments in a building were the same and were one level, there would be no discrepancy between all of the apartments in the building except that the apartments below grade would have a clarification to say that the entire property is below grade. To be consistent with this outcome, they can include the below grade portion in your local board's RMS field, but they will need to identify size of the area that is below grade in the public comments of the listing information. You may also provide additional information that would be of value to the marketing of the property such as identifying the depth of the level below grade. This approach will also be applicable for stacked townhouses with identical units.
10. Can they use the condominium unit registered size as the RMS size?
No. They must use the RMS. The Condominium Unit Registered Size was not intended to enable size comparisons between properties. The purpose of the Condominium Unit Registered Size is to calculate the condominium unit's "unit factor". The condominium registered size does not provide proper comparisons between units in the same condominium or between units from different condominiums, as the CURS can include items, such as garages, parking spaces, separate storage areas, below grade areas, and balconies.
11. What happens if the RMS size is larger than the condominium unit registered size?
If the RMS is larger than the condominium unit registered size, they should recheck the calculations. In the majority of cases, the condominium unit registered size will be larger than the RMS size because most condominium unit registered sizes include wall thickness and other areas such as such as garages, parking spaces, separate storage areas, below grade areas, and balconies.
Below are Links to Measurement Providers in Alberta
Edmonton, Calgary & Red Deer
Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer & Lethbridge
Lethbridge & Medicine Hat