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November 18, 2011
Ensuring the Accurate Measurement of Condominiums - a new Board Policy
Categories:Buying a Home In Calgary,Condos for sale,CREB,Property Virgins,Relocating to Calgary,Selling a Home In Calgary
The registered size of a condominium property is the only legally recognized size measurement for condominiums in Alberta under the Condominium Property Act. The Calgary Real Estate Board Co-operative (CREB®) has determined that this means it's important to ensure the accurate reporting of this legal measurement for both new and resale condominium properties listed on the Calgary MLS® System database.
On November 3, the Board of Directors of CREB® (on behalf of the board's membership) passed a motion to allow the total floor area field in the condominium database to be auto-populated with the information entered in the registered size field of the MLS® System database. This registered size will be automatically be uploaded to agents' premium websites and also the aggregator of the over 110 MLS® Systems in Canada, Realtor.ca (formerly mls.ca), and will automatically show what is included in the remarks section of every condominium listing. The public, and real estate agents, will see the registered size in the floor area field with what is included in the remarks section. This change will be effective once the necessary technical adjustments are made. You should not assume that other jurisdictions in the country - or even in the province - will adopt the same policy as each individual MLS® System in independently owned and operated.
In my experience, the registered size is an "As Measured" size by a qualified party (usually an engineer) after construction is complete or substantially complete. This eliminates many of the measurement errors that can be made by real estate agents or home sellers.
Using the auto-population method levels the playing field and greatly reduces the risk of law suits against home sellers and possibly their REALTORS® for mistakenly (or purposely) including common areas in the size field. In the past, common mistakes for these common areas included including balconies, patios, common walls, basements, below grade landings and exterior walls into the "livable area, above grade" measurement. Experienced Buyers' Agents assumed that they needed to verify every single listing for correct entry. However, this policy change makes it equally critical to know what is included in the "registered size" of a condominium that you may be interested in. As a note of caution, comparing units of two differerent condominium complexes could be a big mistake if one complex's registered sizes include attached garage or basement space and the other complex does not. If in doubt, ask your real estate professional for advice.
Bareland condominiums are not affected by this policy change. They will continue to be measured similar to single family homes with the size being measured at the exterior of the outside walls. For measurements of any common walls between adjoining units, they will continue to be taken as the centre line of the adjoining wall similar to attached single family homes.
If you are interested in new construction it should be noted that builders sometimes, and often do, include exclusive common areas (such as balconies or patios) in their "Marketed Size." Somewhere on their marketing material will be the disclosure of the registered size or what is included in their marketed size. If in doubt, ask - never assume. Builders are required to follow the Alberta Condominium Act with the registered size, but they are not required to follow real estate board rules for marketing measurements of condominums so you may likely see differences between the marketing materials of each.
Today, most builders and their salespersons welcome the assistance of licensed real estate professionals to help buyers with their purchase. All builders expect a significant number of buyers to bring their own REALTOR® and have included real estate agent fees into their marketing budgets for their projects - any expenses related to agents is included in the price that all buyers pay. If you are considering a new condominium unit, feel free to contact a LICENSED real estate professional BEFORE going to a show home. Bringing your own licensed real estate professional provides you with protections that the builders' salespersons are prohibited from providing you - they work for the SELLER and never the buyer.
If you need the help of a Certified Condominium Specialist: Contact us today.
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