Courtesy UrbanMeasure Inc.

While you might regret measuring your waist, accurate and consistent property measurements are time and money well spent. That’s why measuring residential property is mandatory for real estate professionals licensed by the Real Estate Council of Alberta. Governed by the Residential Measurement Standard, these calculations provide buyers and sellers with reliable property size and dimensions to help inform their decisions.

“A lot of people think that you measure a house by doing each room individually, but that’s not the case,” said Jordan Fowler, CEO of UrbanMeasure Inc. in Calgary. “You actually measure the exterior perimeter from the foundation up, excluding finished surfaces and anything below grade. For attached properties like half-duplexes, townhouses and apartments, measure using the interior perimeter walls (paint-to-paint) at floor level.”

“Buyers want to ensure they are purchasing a property at the correct size.” – Jordan Fowler, UrbanMeasure Inc. CEO

Extensions from the main structure that have a minimum floor-to-ceiling height of 1.5 metres (5 feet), such as cantilevers, bay and bow windows, and dormers, must also be included, while open spaces with no floor, such as vaulted areas, are excluded.

Ultimately, it’s all about “livable space,” a key figure for both buyers and sellers.

“Buyers want to ensure they are purchasing a property at the correct size,” said Fowler. “If they buy it and suddenly find out they are missing 400 square feet, it will affect the property value in a big way. When they go to sell, they may take a large financial hit and wind up in a legal battle with the REALTOR® or the builder, so it’s vital that the measurements be accurate.”

Real estate appraisal professionals also need comparable property measurements for appraisals, and lenders consider a property’s size when evaluating it as security for the loan.

Given the stakes, it’s wise to exercise due diligence in choosing a measuring company, just as you would in choosing a Realtor.

“A lot of companies are using 3D-scanning cameras to measure, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that properly measuring a home involves more than the push of a button,” said Fowler. “We have run several trials comparing results from 3D cameras with manual measuring and the discrepancies are scary.”

To ensure accuracy, Fowler trains his staff for four to seven months and puts measurements through a four-step review process before submitting the final numbers.