Boosting home buyer confidence

**Boosting home buyerconfidence **
The province isseeking input on a builder licensing program to strengthen consumer protectionin residential home construction.

OnFebruary 14th**, 2017, the Government of Alberta** and the Public SafetyDivision of Municipal Affairs announced a consultation on options for a builderlicensing program.
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Right now, there are no specificqualifications governing residential builders in Alberta.
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Whilemandatory warranty, and the existing permitting/inspection programs providesupports to safeguard the safety and integrity of residential construction inAlberta,
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Government is interested in assessing thedegree to which additional mechanisms under a builder licensing program couldenhance or provide increased support.
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The goal of a builder licensing program is toensure home buyers know that a home is built by a company that is knowledgeablein home-construction and financially viable,
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minimizingpotential risks to the homeowner.

Municipalities,SCO’s, individuals involved in residential construction and the safety system,as well as members of the public are invited to share their perspectives in an online survey.
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Thesurvey is open until March 14 and focus groups will also be held in Februaryand March of this year.
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Resultsof the consultation will be posted on the Municipal Affairs website through a“what we heard” document.

MunicipalAffairs is encouraging participation in the survey by our safety systempartners in order to consider a broad range of perspectives,

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2 hoursago
**Hot housing market raises concerns **

Waterloo Chronicle
By KarenScian
Oh boy, here we go. The average selling price of adetached home in this region reached a record high $501,821 in January, up 23per cent in one year.
The average home price, across all types of housing,was $421,104.
Real estate agents are scrambling to find homes forpotential customers. I recently saw a Facebook post from a very busy localagent — “I have 9 clients looking to buy a home in the K-W area. $350k to$1.5M. So, I’m on the hunt for sellers.”
Later that week, “2,391 sq. ft. listed in Waterloo for $728,000 and SOLD for$920,000.”
A reply to his post summed it up perfectly: “That’stotally crackers!”
Another local real estate agent had a busy weekend: “Iam presenting an offer @ 7pm tonight on a Waterloo house that currently has 23offers.”
I’ve heard other interesting things about today’s realestate market in Waterloo. Interested in a specific home? Be prepared to submitan offer, free of conditions.
What are those conditions? A negotiated closing date.Sale of your existing home. Home inspections.
What? Home inspections? There are people buying homeswithout getting a home inspection?
A few thoughts on this situation.
If you are in the market for a home, make sure you geta real estate agent. A good one.
Buying a house is a complicated thing, in thisextra-complex moment in time. And a good real estate agent will earn everypenny of their commission.
In one of the cases above — when 24 offers were made onone house — you need someone to advocate for you, as a potential home buyer.
In the case of this competitive bid, the agentsuccessfully presented a fulsome case on behalf of her clients — a youngfamily, looking to build a future in a great neighbourhood — to the existinghome owner.
Credibility matters. Personal relationships matter.Quality matters. (No, I am not a real estate agent nor am I related to any!)
Secondly, housing affordability is a very serious issue in Waterloo,particularly for first-time home buyers.
Conditions like these — less choice in a high-pressureenvironment — are not good for the long-term health of our community.
Finally, I sold my house a few years ago, quickly, in aflurry of a bidding war. I never, ever would have told a buyer that theycouldn’t have a home inspection. I believe a strategy like that is unethical.
Would you ever want to buya house without knowing what you were in for?
Karen Scian is the co-founder of the Talent BusinessSolutions, an educator and a recovering city councillor. She is also chair ofthe Waterloo Public Library Board. You can email her at orfollow her on Twitter @karenscian.