Last year, a controversy arose in Edmonton. It wasn’t a controversy that was paid much attention, nor was it one that was uniquely Edmontonian. But it was a controversy that affected many people who put faith in the people listing condos, and one that saw discipline enacted on those who actively engaged in the controversy.
The controversy was about square footage. As one of the first attributes listed for a condo, it’s the first point that buyers will see. It’s also one that’s extremely difficult to actively confirm. After all, not many people show up to a home viewing with a measuring tape, pencil, and thorough knowledge of how square footage is measured.
In Edmonton, some people were using this inability to confirm square footage as a way to juice the stats, as it were: increasing square footage listings to include parking stalls and storage spaces as part of the home itself. The problem occurred in other places in the province as well, with one listing in Calgary claiming to be 20% larger than its actual size, which is arguably the case that started the controversy. Such a practice left some buyers deceived into buying the property, and now something has been done to prevent this sort of thing happening in the future.
As of May 13, 2016, the Real Estate Council of Alberta have adopted a new series of rules and regulations regarding square footage and home sales. These extra measures are designed to protect potential buyers and help everyone make more informed decisions when it comes to buying property.
According to Joseph Fernandez, a director on the Council, changing the standards has been on the books since at least 2013, when the Council noticed that the rules could be easily exploited. Finding the right set of standards, however, proved to be a laborious process since no other body in Canada has adopted such a policy.
According to the CBC, the new policies include being consistent in what system of measurement is used, what can be included in the total square footage, and specifics on how each and every room is measured, and who specifically can do that measuring. Special rules have also been put in place when considering the distance between the ceiling and floor.
These new sets of rules will help buyers and sellers make better sales overall, and will help keep the relationship between buyers and agents positive and productive.