New mobile-friendly Home Buyer’s Guide helps educate and protect Alberta consumers
A new resource from the Real Estate Council of Alberta provides a step-by-step guide to anyone thinking of buying a home in Alberta.
The Home Buyer’s Guide, located online at www.homebuyersguidealberta.ca, gives Albertans a perspective unique to the province. Featuring a wealth of information and advice, it provides helpful tips on everything from determining if you can afford to buy, to finding a real estate professional, to what to expect on possession day.
Christine Zwozdesky, chair of the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) says the initiative fits into the council’s mandate to protect consumers and enhance the business of industry professionals.
“The Home Buyer’s Guide helps achieve both of those,” said Zwozdesky. “It protects consumers by educating them about the buying process, a process most people only do a few times in their life. An educated consumer is a protected consumer.
“The guide also enhances an industry professional’s business by making sure consumers understand the role of the industry professional and the value in using a licensed professional.”
Zwozdesky says while there is a lot of information on buying a home on the internet, the RECA guide provides unbiased information that doesn’t favour any particular lender, real estate company or individual.
“RECA is the source of independent advice consumers can trust,” she said. “As the industry regulator, we have no agenda beyond setting the foundation for real estate professionals to serve the public interest, protect consumers, and provide a positive real estate experience.”
It protects consumers by educating them about the buying process, a process most people only do a few times in their life. An educated consumer is a protected consumer.
Natalie Scollard, RECA communications manager, says the council has always had information available for the home-buying public, but it was becoming dated. She says the idea to give it a step-by-step format came while sifting through the piles of information that was gathered, and “trying to think about how can we put this in a useable format for consumers, for buyers themselves.”
The result was to break down the home-buying process into 12 steps, each with explanations and advice.
Scollard says a downloadable PDF version of the guide goes into even greater detail than the website, if consumers want additional information.
She says real estate professionals are the ultimate resource for anyone buying a home, but the RECA guide can get consumers asking questions and thinking about which real estate people are the right fit for their needs.
“It’s going to give them the information and the tools to begin having those conversations with real estate professionals,” she said.
“And when everybody is on the same page on the way things are supposed to work, then we think it leads to much more positive relationships between consumers and licensees.”
The Home Buyer’s Guide website was also designed to be mobile device friendly, which Zwozdesky says was a timely decision.
“Mobile visitors to the RECA website have increased from two to three per cent less than a decade ago, to more than 60 per cent today,” said Zwozdesky.
“It was important for RECA to ensure our resources are usable by consumers and by industry professionals on the go.”
The guide is the first of several new consumer resources RECA is developing, she adds.
“Look for a companion Home Seller’s Guide in the coming year, and we’re planning similar guides for consumers on the mortgage process, and real estate appraisal in Alberta.”