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So, how are you getting along with RECA’s Residential Measurement Standards (RMS)?

It’s been nearly a year since RECA launched the new standards, so the ins and outs of applying it must be routine? You may not agree with every aspect of the RMS, but by now you should be able to present your listings compliantly and explain the rationale and principles to your clients and prospective clients.

All is good and we can move on to other pressing matters . . . right?

If you paused on your response, you’re likely our target audience for this article. The simple reality is that there will never be a measurement standard that pleases everyone—at least that was our experience in the decades that this was CREB®’s work.

From time to time, we would see the need to make some changes, but often it was because new housing products would evolve and we needed to make sure they were included in CREB®’s Measurement Guidelines. This is how different standards evolved over time for single-family and semi-detached product—and then we saw waves of new attached and multi-family structures that drew out even more approaches.

In the absence of any legislated standards, local real estate boards, the new construction industry and other municipalities inched down different paths.

Some time ago, we viewed registered size as a means to establish a consistent size of condominium properties and we know where that has ended up. Maybe the problem is that during all this time, we focused on the structure, rather than the space people use the dwelling to live in? Even NAR on realtor.com advises consumers that, “. . . a home’s square footage can be surprisingly subjective.”

If that’s the case, then maybe we have been too focused on using exact measurements, and perhaps a margin of error or tolerance should be built into the RMS?

It’s sometimes easy to forget that the CREB® measurement standard did not create a perfect world either, and we are not likely to go back to that world in any case. We now have a measurement standard that is principle-based and mandated, which is envied by some jurisdictions like Toronto.

My colleague from the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) has said from an Alberta stage that they would love to have a standard imposed by RECO (Real Estate Council of Ontario) because it would bring order to their chaotic approach.

Meanwhile, RECA has heard the concerns of the real estate community after the RMS launch and has since initiated a request for feedback last November. Over a three-month period, they invited you as industry professionals, as well as real estate boards, to provide input by February.

We hope many of our members took action and provided feedback on this subject, as we did here at CREB®. We continue to be very concerned with the impact of the RMS on CREB®’s MLS® System. I will not retrace all of that ground here, but we will not rest until we have a database that our members and Alberta consumers can rely upon as being fully accurate.

Our main message in our submission to RECA was the need for consultation, effective change management and a concerted lobby effort for the RMS to be adopted by all participants in the residential housing sector. We encouraged RECA to maintain the principle of providing a measurement standard that gives consumers and industry professional’s accurate and consistent property measurements.

Following the principled approach, we also advocated for a measurement standard that is simple and consistent with every type of home. You can read our submission by clicking here and keep in mind that in approving this document your board of directors is maintaining their focus on the big picture.

You will also see how we positioned AREA to play a key role in lobbying for the adoption of the RMS as the only standard of measurement in all aspects of residential housing in Alberta.

As RECA continues to consider making changes to the RMS, we are encouraged that they have embraced greater consultation and proactive change management practices. With a fresh approach, we hope a principle-based standard can meet the test of the common sense approach and that it can be readily determined by industry professionals.

Please take a close look at our submission. We are continually asked to provide input and feedback on your behalf in an endless number of ways. Obviously, when we speak on your behalf, we try to respond in a way that reflects the wishes and objectives of the majority of our members. In the case of the RMS, that is a lofty goal and the additional complication is that by suggesting something new and radical in moving to a fully interior living space approach (paint to paint), thinking outside the box comes with risk, something we have been proud of our directors for taking on judiciously.

Our document may not be popular with some of you, but it does achieve the goals of database integrity and promoting member’s interests by steering the thought process toward a principled approach to landing a measurement standard that is consistent and simple to explain, and provides the opportunity for consumers and REALTORS® to genuinely compare all product types equally.

We invite you to share your thoughts here, or you can come to our Town Hall meeting at CREB® on May 31 at 2 p.m. Among other things, we will update you on the work of the Presidential Task Force—the group of your peers that have been taking a fresh look at RECA’s current enforcement of the RMS, while also making recommendations regarding CREB®’s ability to protect the data integrity of the MLS® System.

Moving this conversation further into the realm of principle may not be an easy route, but what if there is a better way to represent the size of a home? Your board of directors is always thinking strategically and have considered the possibility that REALTORS® leading the way toward a measurement standard that resonates with consumers is the ultimate act of advocacy.

 

Are you looking to Sell or Buy a home in Calgary and need someone who won’t rest until you’ve found your dream home or until your home is sold? I’ll work hard to earn your trust and to deliver exactly what you need. Contact me at 403-465-0210 or at TheHowardTeam.net.

 

About Bryon Howard

Bryon Howard and his team of Calgary real estate professionals sell an average of two homes a week. He is a member of the MLS Million Point Club, which ranks him roughly in the top 1% of productive realtors in Calgary. His aim is not just to please clients but to help them buy/sell a home in Calgary at the best price, in the shortest time, and with the least hassle. He is a member of the RE/MAX House of Real Estate that leads in the Canadian market. Learn more about Bryon at TheHowardTeam.net.

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