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By MYRON LOVE Winnipeg realtor Roberta Weiss (Century 21 Bachman and Associates), the president of the Manitoba Real Estate Association (MREA) for 2015, is the second member of her family to serve in the position.

Lorne Weiss, her brother and longtime business partner, served as MREA president in 2011.
“It has been an interesting year,” says Roberta Weiss, who has been selling homes for almost 30 years.

In addition to having to factor into their businesses new condo legislation and changes to the Real Estate Services Act, Manitoba realtors have had to deal with the sudden passing of Brian Collie, the CEO of the MREA since 1992.
“Brian’s passing was difficult for me personally,” Weiss says. “There is also the process of finding a new CEO and bringing the individual up to speed on our organization.”
Where condos are concerned, the new condo legislation – which went into effect on February 1 – prospective buyers now have seven days to change their minds for any reason on an offer rather than 48 hours (as was the situation previously), Weiss notes.

And there is a lot more paperwork for the sellers to deal with. “Where the sale involved three pages of disclosure documents, there are now 18 items of disclosure and many several pages long. Weiss reports. “These forms have to be presented to the buyer before the cooling off period begins, and it’s going to cost sellers much more to gather all the documentation they need to sell the condo.”

As for Bill 70 – the changes to the Real Estate Services Act – Weiss reports that the bill is awaiting final reading. “This bill will have a major impact on how realtors do business,” she says.
“The bill outlines clear duties on both the realtor and the buyer or seller. Realtors, for example, may have to get sellers’ agreements to post sold signs in sellers yards and to list the sold property in realtor ads. We (the realtors) will have to provide full disclosure as to exactly what services we will be providing.
”We have to educate our members about the bill’s contents and requirements.”
She expects Bill 70 to become Law in the fall.

Among changes that the MREA is lobbying the government to bring about, Weiss notes, is the complete removal of education taxes from property tax bills. “We have been arguing for years that funding for education should come out of general revenues rather than property tax bills,” she says. “The Province has been chipping away at it but still has a ways to go.”
Manitoba realtors would also like to see a revision of the Land Transfer Tax. “Especially where first time home buyers are concerned, the Land Transfer Tax – combined with the PST on CMHC insurance on mortgages – makes home ownership that much more difficult,” she notes.

She observes that for the first time in many years, new rental units are being built. “For years, the provincial rent freeze discouraged developers from building new rental units,” she says. “With home ownership and condos harder to get into due to the increased costs, rental can be an option - but even rents are high.”
As president of the MREA, Weiss is also a member of the Canadian Real Estate Association. That has meant some travel to Ottawa and Toronto over the past few months. She also has a trip to Regina slated for July for a conference.
“At the national level, we are trying to persuade Ottawa to index RRSPs for first time home buyers,” she says.

Previous to working in real estate, Weiss was doing accounting work for small business. “I was looking for a change,” she says. “I started with Bachman and Associates and fell in love with the business. I get a lot of satisfaction when I am able to introduce clients to their dream homes. A lot of my clients have become good friends.”
Another thing that Weiss has derived much satisfaction from is the MREA’s Shelter Foundation, which she helped found eight years ago. “We raise money to support shelter-related causes throughout Manitoba,” she says. “Over the years, we have given out close to $500,000 in grants.
The Foundation provides a great sense of accomplishment for Weiss. Realtors support the Foundation and it sends the message that realtors care about their community

Dance School Founder Earns top Woman Entrepreneur Award

Shannon Putter has been dancing virtually her entire life and – on May 14, the founder of Exhale Dance Studio danced away with the 2015 Manitoba Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Awards both in the Building Business category and for Overall Excellence, the top award.
“It was an honour to be nominated and to win,” Putter says. “It was also humbling. It is nice to have been recognized for the work I do in the community teaching kids to see dance as a positive activity.”

The wife of former Joseph Wolinsky grad Jesse Putter (The couple met when they were 15 and have been married for nine years.) started dancing when she was three years old and never stopped. She can do it all. In her younger days, she appeared in several Rainbow Stage productions.
She has also appeared in “Shall We Dance”, the Richard Gere/Jennifer Lopez movie that was filmed here a few years back, as one of the dancer/extras and had a role as a can-can dancer in an episode of the TYV series “Murdoch Mysteries”.

Her primary focus however has been on teaching. She began teaching dancing when she was 18. She took time off from teaching after the birth of her first child in 2007. She opened Exhale Dance Studio (in St. Vital) five years ago – relocating to her current location last fall.
“I wanted a studio where kids could be kids,” she says, “where the dancing would be age-appropriate and fun. We have almost 400 students (boys and girls) enrolled.”

While Putter doesn’t emphasize competitiveness, she does showcase her students in the community. “We arrange performances at different nursing homes, Take Pride Winnipeg, Children’s Hospital events (such as the Children’s Hospital Foundation’s annual Teddy Bears Picnic), Children’s Wish Foundation programs and CancerCare Manitoba fundraising events.
“All of the flowers at our recital, we sell afterwards and give the money to Winnipeg Harvest,” she says.
“My grandfather was a firm believer in giving to children and I share that philosophy.”

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