NEW REALTOR (r) TASK FORCE AIMS TO HELP HOMEOWNERS BATTLE HIGH COST OF REPLACING WIRING

Winnipeg, Manitoba, May 12, 2011-The Manitoba Real Estate Association (MREA) has formed a new task force dedicated to helping home owners battle against the outrageously high insurance premiums and extra costs that can come with replacing the wiring in their older homes.

The MREA believes that the insurance industry's negative position regarding older knob and tube wiring is not substantiated and that for the most part the decision to penalize knob and tube homes does not reflect the Manitoba reality.

There are a large number is homes in Manitoba built before 1950, and for many home buyers, those homes are the most affordable.  However, tens of thousands of these homes still contain knob and tube wiring. The cost of upgrading to current wiring can range from $10 000 to $30 000 depending on the size and style of home.

Manitoba Hydro has loans available under the Energy Finance Plan to a
maximum of $5000, with an interest rate of 8.75%. The maximum term for those loans is 5 years.

For many buyers, Manitoba Hydro loans do not go far enough to help homeowner update their wiring. 

"If the long term goal is to replace all the knob and tube wiring, then
better solutions and assistance have to be presented," said MREA President Lorne Weiss.

"This includes raising the maximum loan amounts, increasing the term of the loan and lowering the interest rate to a reasonable amount. The purpose of implementing a task force dedicated to this issue is to see if there is any local information that substantiates the insurers' position and advocate on behalf of homeowners who simply can't afford these costs that can come with purchasing an older home, who are hit with these issues and might not be aware of them or what they can do about it," said Weiss.

Weiss also said that the MREA, through the new task force plans to lobby the government to get better options for home buyers so that they aren't faced with such difficulty when it comes to both insuring and upgrading their homes. This includes asking the Province to consider granting funding for those in need of financial assistance.

There is no statistical evidence that knob and tube wiring is more of a fire hazard than more up to date wiring in Manitoba. The Manitoba Real Estate Association received this statistical data from the Fire Commissioner in 2010. It is stated that the majority of issues arise with improper installation of new components or lack of maintenance on the existing system.

The Manitoba Real Estate Association (MREA) is a non-profit society
representing the interests and concerns of licensed REALTORS(r) in Manitoba. Our membership includes 1900 real estate professionals and their 3 real estate boards in all regions of the province.

For more information contact:
Lorne Weiss, MREA President
204-955-7544 or lorne@lorneweiss.com
OR
Jennifer Johnson, MREA Communications Coordinator
204-772-0405 or jjohnson@mrea.mb.ca

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