Square Footage Remarks On MLS

What started as a great idea has now been turned into a running joke.

At least that’s what I think when somebody claims the square foot of their condo was measured “by hand.”

About four years ago, I was on the Condominium Committee at the Toronto Real Estate Board, and I made a recommendation that the square footage field on MLS listings for condos become mandatory.

It only took about two years and a thousand-feet of red tape to get the motion approved, and but I’m happy to say that ALL condo listings on MLS now have a square footage field.

However, there are other issues now.

First of all, who says that field is correct?  How many 585 square foot condos are listed in the 600-699 field?

Secondly, the “Source” for the square footage is mandatory, but the source itself has become a running joke.

That is what today’s blog post is about: the square footage source.

Over the last year, I’ve seen some ridiculous sources quoted on MLS listings, and today, I’d like to share (and ridicule) them with you all.

I’ve broken them down into three categories for simplicity and humour alike:

1) Blame Somebody Else

In this category, the seller and/or agent simply deflects the responsibility on to anybody but themselves.

We see this in several instances:

Above, we see “professional floor plan,” but there is no professional floor plan attached to the listing.  In fact, there is no floor plan of any type.

Here we see “prior listing,” as if to say that the current seller takes no responsibility for the square footage, but rather they, and you, should rely on the previous listing, that seller, that agent, and other people involved years and years ago.

Here, the seller is sort of taking responsibility, but not really, when you see “Buyer To Verify All Measurements” in the broker’s remarks.  So basically the seller could say anything and get away with it, so long as they force the buyer to indemnify them…

Blame management!

But this one doesn’t even get into specifics, ie. when did management tell you it was 1000-1199 square feet, did they put it in writing, etc.

Ask the seller how they came up with this, and if their eyes look up, and to the left, it means they’re trying to come up with a lie…

2) Blame The Builder

Why not?

Builders are to blame for everything, aren’t they?

We see this in many, many different ways:

“As Per Builder’s Measurements” is pretty vague.

What measurements?  When were they taken?  Did they give you a copy?

Were these measurements on the original floorplan?  Can you provide this?

“As Per Builder” takes things down a further notch.

And consider that if the seller actually did rely on the builder’s plan for measurements, they would have a copy of the floor plan, and it would be on MLS.

3) Complete Ridiculousness

This is my favourite kind!

These are completely ridiculous, meaningless, and basically insulting to everybody who reads them.

What is a “building plan?”  Is that like a floor plan meets a builder’s plan?

A “building plan” isn’t even a real term, so even if the seller wanted to blame the builder (“as per builder”), or blame the non-existent floor plan (“as per floor plan”) they haven’t succeeded.


Approx?  Is that allowed?  What is that based on?

Ha!  “Measurements!”

Well of course square footage is based on measurements of some type!  But what measurements?

Was it with a laser?  A measuring tape?

And who did it?  A trained engineer, or a blind moron?

“Well, I closed my eyes, pictured the space in my head, and measured it.  So, yeah: measurements.  Duh!”  That sounds about right.

Well, this person gets a mark for honesty!

I don’t trust anything “self measured,” just as I wouldn’t trust wiring that was “self-wired,” or granite counters that were “self-chiselled-from-larger-bedrock.”

FEET!  Ha!

Don’t read much into this one.  They may as well put “N/A” in the field there, because they don’t mean anything by “feet,” but rather they’re just putting something.

Oh, speak of the devil!

There’s our friend “N/A” right now!

This one takes the cake, ladies and gentlemen.

This is an agent who said, “I don’t care if that field is mandatory, I’m just going to fill it in with a photo of my dog, or ‘N/A,’ because I don’t care.  Did I mention I don’t care?”

Geez, the only thing worse than that would be…..well, since you can’t put nothing in the field, I’d say…..well….

I rest my case.



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  1. Joanne says:

    I visited many sites except the audio feature for audio songs present at this website is genuinely superb.

  2. Adam says:

    Let’s not forget that a builders “829 sqft” can really be much less as there is a huge +/- margin of error given in the ESTIMATE. I’ve seen as high as 20% in some sales contracts.

  3. Geoff says:

    Umm.. does it really that matter much if it’s not perfectly accurate to be honest? MLS is the start of the search process, not the end.

    Do we really need ‘laser-measured’ on a website? I mean really this is just part of the initial vetting process, the humans are going to get up and go see the darn final product and decide if it works for them. And ultimately layout helps determine usability far more than sq. footage – 600 sq.ft laid out in a big square is a lot better than 700 sq.ft in a weird triangluar shape afterall.

  4. The BeesKnees says:

    So what would YOU like to see as the source? I usually use MPAC as a source which isn’t necessarily accurate either, right?

    1. @ The BeesKnees

      It’s not so much the lack of continuity among sources that bothers me, but rather the skirting around where it actually came from, and whether or not it was made up.

      A professional floor plan, MPAC, or a builder’s floor plan – all three of these are reliable, but never going to be perfect.

      My issue is that most people who put “builder plan” as the source don’t have a builder plan, so what the heck is the point of the source anyways?

  5. johnny chase says:

    for $0.06 / sf you can have the unit laser measured. make it mandatory and the vendor or agent pays. What’s so difficult?

  6. lui says:

    I told you time and time again size does matter…….

  7. moonbeam! says:

    Does this mean the buyer and agent should always bring along a tape measure?

  8. Darren says:

    I don’t understand your beef with measurement self Measurement. They seem like legitimate sources to me.

    1. @ Darren

      As Ralph says below, how do you define “size?” Where do you measure from? A builder measures from inside the walls!

      A company like Plan-It uses lasers and a computer program to do the same.

      I don’t think that the average Joe is equipped to measure his or her own condo, much like they aren’t equipped to sell their own place. However, I know you sold your own place, quite successfully, I might add, so no wonder you don’t have an issue with self-measurement! 🙂

      The issue I have stems from accountability. If a seller measures his or her own condo, and claims it’s 750 square feet, and then sells it to a buyer under that understanding, then what if it’s only 700 square feet? The notation “Buyer To Verify Measurements” in the MLS listing would never hold up in court. Unless you have a clause in the agreement that indemifies the seller, there could be a whole lotta lawsuits going on!

      1. Ralph Cramdown says:

        The seller always has to protect himself. On the feature sheet for the house I sold this spring, I put measurements for all rooms, the garage, the irregular lot, and even the unfinished areas in the basement, with heights. But I also put “E&OE. All information is believed to be reasonably accurate, but buyers to satisfy themselves.” And of course, there should be an Entire Agreement clause in the agreement of purchase & sale. If it’s important to the buyer, the buyer has to verify, or at least signal to the seller that he’s relying on this representation (in which case a seller with any brains will say “satisfy yourself”). If you want hair raising, just read how broadly Ontario courts have interpreted the words “more or less” when used to describe lot size.

  9. Ralph Cramdown says:

    “This offer is based on the unit’s size being 849 square feet, as per the MLS listing. If the unit, competently measured before closing, is found to be smaller, the closing price will be adjusted proportionally.”

    But what’s the definition of “size”? To the outside of exterior walls and the middle of common walls? Inside and inside? Do utility risers count?

    To put on my vendor’s advocate hat for a moment, the listing is to entice buyers to look at the property. Once they’ve looked, and measured rooms if desired, they’ve satisfied themselves. So how accurate does a listing have to be in this respect? Of course, if you don’t enforce accuracy standards, we know which way the errors will accrue.

    1. @ Ralph

      That clause is amazing!

      That’s calling out the seller without calling them out.

      “Put your money where your mouth is,” you’re saying. If your condo is REALLY 849 square feet, then you have no problem accepting this clause.