Home inspection costs could soar under new rules, warns Alberta body

Alberta home inspectors warn proposed national standards will send the cost of a home inspection soaring in the province if approved.

The proposed new rules — drafted by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and open to public review until mid-December — could hike the cost of a home inspection from $400 to $600 today to as much as $1,800 given the additional time required, raising the likelihood consumers will forgo the procedure before buying a home, the provincial group said.

“Our concerns really are the fact that these standards go way beyond what a home inspection is in that it is a visual, non-invasive, not-technically exhaustive inspection,” said Alan Fisher, president of the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors of Alberta, which represents about 150 inspectors in the province. “It’s basically a snapshot of the condition of the house. But they take it to a level that is well beyond that.

“Our concern is that it’s going to drive up the cost because the time to do that is going to now be in the magnitude of three to four times what we’re doing now.”

Fisher said the home inspection industry has developed its own set of standards during the past 20 to 30 years through experience and that the draft rules were developed by a committee largely without professional input.

Service Alberta spokesperson Calli Stromner said Alberta and British Columbia are the only two Canadian jurisdictions that regulate home inspectors. Alberta has specific rules for home inspectors and home inspection businesses, including mandatory licensing requirements.

“From Alberta’s perspective, buying a home is the largest purchase a family can make. Having a home inspection completed to a uniform standard is an important first step to making an informed decision about that purchase,” Stromner said, adding the CSA first approached the provinces and territories in 2012 about creating a uniform standard for all home inspections in Canada.

Allison Hawkins, of the CSA Group, said there is no national standard on home inspections and requests to develop standards come from a variety of sources. She said the draft Standard CSA A770 Home Inspection is intended to establish the systems and components that are to be inspected as part of a home inspection. In addition, it sets out the minimum extent to which a home is required to be inspected, as well as methods to be used.

Alan Tennant, chief executive for the Calgary Real Estate Board, said he doesn’t think the proposed new standards will have an impact on the city’s housing market.

“This is early days of a fairly lengthy process. It’s my understanding that there could be a few other steps involved before any of this comes to be,” he said.

“I have a lot of confidence that Service Alberta will facilitate a fair bit of interaction and a lot of feedback. The reality is there’s both a buyer and a seller in the transaction and an overzealous home inspection doesn’t serve everybody well.”


-Calgary Herald


Consumer Alert: Derek Johnson, aka John Davis,  

Predatory Real Estate and Mortgage Practices – Unlicensed Activity     

For immediate release
November 13, 2014

Derek Johnson is breaking the law. He needs a licence under the Real Estate Act to trade in real estate on behalf of others and deal in mortgages. He does not have these licences and has never had them.

Derek Johnson says he is helping people. He is not. He preys on home owners who are in a vulnerable financial position and facing foreclosure.

Johnson used to operate Free List Calgary and is currently involved in www.joerhealestate.com (Joe Rheal Estate). He has also been involved in Partners in Success Mortgage Inc. and New Age Financing. None of these are licensed to trade in real estate or deal in mortgages in Alberta.

The Real Estate Council of Alberta has issued a direction to Johnson to cease unlicensed practice. Johnson has ignored this direction to stop. The Council is taking further action.

If someone offers to represent you in a real estate transaction or to deal in a mortgage for you, ensure that individual is licensed by RECA. RECA is the licensing and governing body for real estate, mortgage brokerage and real estate appraisal professionals in Alberta. Consumers can find out if an individual is licensed through RECA’s website, www.reca.ca. Use the “Searching for an Industry Professional” tool.

Licensed individuals must meet and maintain licensing requirements. Among them, individuals must provide a Certified Criminal Record Check prior to licensing, complete comprehensive pre-licensing education and ongoing re-licensing education, and maintain errors and omissions insurance. In the event of a licensee’s fraud, breach of trust or failure to account or disburse money in accordance with the terms of trust, a consumer may be eligible for compensation from RECA’s consumer compensation fund.

If you have concerns as a result of dealings with Derek Johnson, Free List Calgary, Joe Rheal Estate, Partners in Success Mortgage Inc. or New Age Financing, please contact the Real Estate Council of Alberta toll-free at 1-888-425-2754.

Calgary and Edmonton top investment markets for real estate in Alberta – Airdrie places fourth overall

Calgary and Edmonton top the list of residential real estate investment markets in Alberta, according to a new report released Tuesday.

The new REIN (Real Estate Investment Network) Score measures each city or town on five different categories for a total of 50 points including: Economic Risk (possible 12 points); Yield Growth Potential (possible 12 points); Investors’ Insights (possible 10 points), Political Climate (possible 8 points), and Accessibility (possible 8 points).

Calgary and Edmonton topped the rankings with 50 points followed by Fort Saskatchewan (43), Airdrie (41), St. Albert (39), Red Deer (39), Lloydminster (38), Fort McMurray(36), Grande Prairie (36), and Leduc (34).

Melanie Reuter, director of research with REIN, said “the two most important criteria are the economic risk with a big focus on existing and future jobs and job growth, and the growth potential of yield. Will the going-rent rates mean your cashflow is good in relation to the house prices and is there potential for more and larger growth as the local economy improves?

“It is also important to take into consideration the political climate of a community and whether it has a solid growth plan, cashflow squashing taxes, and whether it has restrictive rental policies. If you can raise rents to match demand or your property taxes are expensive compared to other communities, your current and existing cashflow is compromised.”

Calgary received 12 out of 12 in the economic risk category, 10 out of 12 in yield growth potential, six of eight in local politics conducive to business, eight of eight in access to transportation and nine of 10 in investor’s insights.

The report said the formula of job creation creating an influx of people, leading to higher housing values is evident in Calgary.

“The market is hot! Real estate agents serving investors have noted that good inventory is very hard to come by,” said the report.

“The Calgary Real Estate Board believes that following a prolonged period of Calgary being a seller’s market, the city is once again beginning to move toward more balanced market conditions. Price gains will continue for every housing type, but at a more sustainable pace.”

According to CREB, as of Monday, year-to-date MLS sales in Calgary were 22,941, up 10.67 per cent from the same period a year ago. The median price has risen by 6.88 per cent to $427,500 while the average sale price has increased by 5.78 per cent to $483,115.