3 ways to confirm the size of the condo so you know what you’re buying

With concrete condos on the downtown peninsula generally selling for over $1000/sqft and some far above that, knowing the size of the condo you’re buying is important. As the BC real estate system is Buyer Beware, you must complete due diligence to ensure you’re comfortable with what you’re purchasing.

To reaffirm the onus is on buyers, you’ll see a disclaimer on each MLS listing and a commonly used clause in purchase contracts:

MLS disclaimer: The enclosed information, while deemed to be correct, is not guaranteed.

Contract clause: The buyer is satisfied with all the measurements, square footage and room sizes as viewed and is aware that the lot size, room measurements, zoning, age and property taxes advertised are approximate.

What’s measured?

The square footage of the unit is measured from the midpoint of shared walls and the entire depth of outside walls. The figure is only of the interior living space and excludes terraces, unenclosed balconies, patios, parking spots, and storage lockers. It will likely include enclosed balconies but this needs to be confirmed.

Included items in sqft calculation on the strata plan

Three measurement techniques

1. Strata Plan

There will be a registered strata plan for the entire development. You’ll receive this as part of the small mountain of strata documents. Find the unit you’re reviewing by the strata lot (LT) number. The LT is noted in the legal description about midway down the typical MLS listing.

Image: Location of strata lot number on an MLS listing

Link to PDF: Full MLS listing showing where the SL number is noted

The figure on the strata plan is usually noted in square metres. One square metre equates to 10.764 square feet.

Example: The strata plan notes the unit is 74.1 square meters

74.1 square meters x 10.764 = 797.6 square feet

Aside: the ratio of your interior sqft to the interior sqft of all condos in the strata plan is used to determine your portion of monthly maintenance fees and any special levies. Read more about strata financing here.

2. Professionally measured

There’re a number of local professional companies that specialize in measuring condos and producing floorplans. They’ll use a sophisticated laser and drafting program to record the various measurements of the condo. They’ll then compile the data in their office and produce a floorplan with room measurements and an overall sqft measurement.

3. Developer floorplan and draft strata plan

For presales, the condo size will be based on a draft strata plan provided by the developer. The built condo can vary from this figure so it’s important to be comfortable with the allowed variance as per your purchase contract. When the official strata plan is registered, you should no longer rely on the draft version.

Less frequently, the developer floorplan (such as the one in the header image of this post) will be used once the building is constructed.

Your due diligence

Rarely do the available measurements exactly agree. In fact, when two results perfectly agree, I question whether one copied the other. Even if you had the condo measured by two professionals, you’d likely see a variance between their results.

Ideally, the different available measurements will be in the same ballpark. If there’s a notable difference, you’ll have to dig deeper to see where the discrepancy lies. Your realtor should be able to walk you through this process. Ultimately, it is your money and home so you proceed with the purchase only if you’re comfortable with the outcome.

I have a laser measuring device clients can use to check room measurements and I’m expert at holding an end of a tape measure.

As part of your sleuthing, you may want to confirm dimensions important to you. For instance, will your king-sized bed fit with two side tables? Will your house-sized couch fit in the living room? A quick check will provide the answer and peace of mind.


I hope this helps you make sense of the figures coming out of your due diligence. As always, I welcome your questions or comments via email or phone/text.


Jason Hutchison
604.314.7138    [email protected]

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