In Alberta condominiums are surveyed by the builder to determine the respective size of the common and private areas of the individual condo units. Developers have some latitude in deciding what to include in the registered size at the onset of the development and many will include areas such as storage, balconies (including outdoor) and parking areas in the calculation of
registered unit size. This registered size is then used to apportion the respective fees that condo owners pay for shared resources.
This all sounds fair enough, so why do some Buyers protest when they re-sell their condo and their real estate agent tells them that their home is smaller than they claim? The Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB®) has rules for the measurement of homes so that all homes are represented equitably. These rules have been in place for decades and they provide consumers with an assurance that the home they are purchasing is accurately represented. One CREB® rule for condominiums states that the living area must be heated, interior living space.
Developers who sell their property through in-house sales representatives who are not members of CREB® are not required to abide by these guidelines. As a result, the living area may be represented to include those unheated areas that show the space larger than CREB® measurements would allow. When the homeowner calls a real estate agent to re-sell the condo they are often surprized to realize that their 1,000 s.f. condo is really only 900 s.f. when measured by
these MLS® System standards and that this standards is a requirement to list the property on CREBs® MLS® System.
CREB®, and their provincial counter-part AREA, have been working to protect the public from such issues by lobbying the Government to mandate the Surveyors to standardize the measurement of registered size across the province and eliminate the variance in representation. CREB® is also working to educate
real estate agent’s and the public to the issue and raise public awareness to ask the right questions before buying a condo.
To ensure that you are protected make sure you ask the Developer how the registered and unit size is calculated in the project. For the best protection and to assure yourself that you are buying right, enlist the services of a licensed real estate agent to represent you even if you are looking at new developments before you start shopping for a condo. Developers have fees built-in to the purchase to reimburse your real estate agent and this way you can have your real estate agent show you comparative new and used properties, help you determine the best lifestyle and value choices and even provide you with a market valuation of a property before you buy.
This is just one of the many reasons to ensure you call a real estate agent before you start shopping and ensure that you won’t be disappointed after the purchase.