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'This will make it much easier': N.S. leading the way in helping people find accessible homes


It's going to be easier to find an accessible home in Nova Scotia.

The Nova Scotia Association of Realtors (NSAR) is launching several new measures to help potential homebuyers determine the accessibility and adaptability of a home to meet their mobility needs.

"It is the first MLS in the country to make these fields mandatory for our realtors to complete, and this is important because everyone needs the ability to find a home that is suitable for them," said Tanya White, NSAR's communications director.

Realtors will now be able to provide their clients with information about door and hallway widths, the turning radius of kitchens and bathrooms, and the types of entries into the property.

"This is really a ground-breaking announcement in the real estate sector," said community accessibility advocate Jerry Post.

"There was a lot of time wasted, by both the buyers and the agents, so this will make it much easier."

Community accessibility advocate Jerry Post speaks at the NSCC Ivany Campus in Dartmouth, N.S., on June 13, 2024. (Stephanie Tsicos/CTV Atlantic)

Post was part of the consultation process, and helped to provide first-hand experience of trying to find an accessible home.

"We went through that experience, and it was not very pleasant. We visited many homes that just weren't accessible, but you couldn't tell from the listing. Now, there will be a screening of that, so I can be much more focused on my search for the home that I need."

More than 2,100 realtors across Nova Scotia took mandatory training earlier this year to learn how to take proper measurements related to home features and their suitability for accessibility needs.

"The addition of these new accessibility fields is going to make a difference in so many people's lives. It seems like a small step, but it is a huge step, and we're so proud to be a leader in taking that step," said White.

Over the course of two years, NSAR worked with several agencies, including Atlantic Accessibility Consulting.

"We were brought in early on to start the research and consulting to ask the community of people who live with disabilities, 'What would you like to see different in the MLS system?'" said Atlantic Accessibility Consulting owner Kristen Habermehl.

During the research process, they started looking across Canada to see what was being done.

"There was very little happening, and that really caused us to go worldwide, and we found some interesting connections as we researched and worked ahead," said Habermehl.

The hope is other provinces will now launch a similar initiative.

"It's my goal as an advocate for this to spread across the country, because it is now embedded into the national system, but it's only available in Nova Scotia," said Post.

The project was funded by NSAR and the Nova Scotia government's Community, Culture, Tourism and Heritage department.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

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