Warns before the new law – this is how you can go on a housing strike

Home sales and purchases have long been a source of many conflicts. Now changes are being made.

– From 1 January 2022, some of the Disposal Act’s most important provisions on the purchase and sale of second-hand homes will be amended. The biggest change is that the seller can not make a reservation that the home is “sold as it is”, as has been the practice, says CEO Daniel Ø. Helgesen of Norsk takst, which is the industry organization for Norway’s valuation company.

Managing director of Norsk takst, Daniel Ø. Helgesen. Photo: Nicolas Tourrenc

The change in the law means that the seller must to a far greater extent take responsibility for providing thorough and good information about the home, so that the buyer does not get surprises and a basis for advertising.

– There are also strict requirements for the buyer, in that a buyer can not complain about conditions that are disclosed at the sale, and that it is expected that the buyer has familiarized himself with all sales information, says Helgesen.

Warns

At the same time, a new regulation on condition reports is introduced, which sets stricter requirements for what the report must contain.

– If the report is carried out in accordance with the regulatory requirements, it will be a good security against surprises for both buyer and seller. The purpose behind the changes is thus to provide a safer housing trade, in that more and better information is available about the homes before a sale, says Helgesen.

The more that is clarified about the condition in advance, the less room there will be for disappointments and conflicts later. At the same time, Helgesen warns that you as a seller can go on a rampage with the new rules.

– The regulations define some minimum requirements for what is to be examined and described in the condition report. However, some important building parts and rooms are not included in the regulations, and these can potentially have deficiencies that do not appear if they are not examined.

Risks complaints

Here are some examples of some of the things that are not included in the condition report:

  • Floor separators
  • Garage, storage room, annex, boathouse and other additional buildings
  • Exterior stairs
  • Retaining walls
  • Geological conditions
  • Outdoor pool
  • Common areas

As a seller, you can request that these be assessed by the building expert, so that you secure yourself against potential surprises. The need for an extended report will vary depending on the property in question, and the building expert can give good advice on this, says Helgesen.

He says it is crucial for the seller to obtain as good information about the condition of the home as possible, as the buyer will not be able to succeed in complaints about conditions that are clearly stated in the condition report.

– By not examining important building parts, the seller will thus risk receiving complaints against them if they have defects.

– How much does an extended condition report cost?

– Increased scope and quality will necessarily give somewhat higher prices than before, but it is difficult to say what the market will determine in terms of price. Condition report can still be a cheap insurance against boring conflicts and claims for compensation, says Helgesen.

According to Meglersmart.no, the price for a condition report varies from around five thousand kroner for a small apartment and up to almost 25,000 kroner for a larger detached house.

Simple steps increase the value of your home

– Advantageous

Consumer and communications manager Carsten Pihl in Huseierne is happy with the law change that will come on 1 January 2022.

– We have worked for a long time to achieve this. We now go from the fact that the most important thing has been to insure against errors and omissions, to the most important thing being to document. It is good for both seller and buyer, says Pihl.

A common perception of the change in the law has been that there will now only be a greater responsibility on the seller, but Pihl does not agree.

– Now you as a seller just have to make sure to document the home thoroughly, and if you do, you go free. Then it is up to the buyer to assess the documentation and look at the condition and age of the home, says Pihl, and continues:

Consumer and communications manager Carsten Pihl in Huseierne.

Consumer and communications manager Carsten Pihl in Huseierne. Photo: Christiane Y. Vibe / The Homeowners

– If the seller follows the law as intended, we do not believe that this entails any additional risk. We believe on the contrary this is an advantage for the seller, since it is so clearly described what to do. At the same time, the buyer is given a completely different responsibility for reading the documentation, says Pihl.

– Something you should be aware of

Like Norsk takst, Pihl believes that there are some who would do well to use an extended condition report.

– You as the seller will in that way have documented a number of areas that are not in the ordinary condition report. At the same time, it depends on what kind of home you are selling. If you are selling a detached house or terraced house, it will be smart. If you sell an apartment, it is not as relevant, but you have to make an assessment, says Pihl.

He believes real estate agents will advise sellers if they need to order an extended condition report.

– Something you should be aware of if you are going to sell a home at the end of 2021 is that it is the time when the home is sold that matters. Not when the home is put up for sale. This means that if you sell the home after 1 January 2022, the new rules for documentation apply, says Pihl.

– Spend time before buying a home

Carl O. Geving, CEO of the Norwegian Real Estate Association (NEF), believes the change in the law is important.

– The intention is to obtain significantly better information when buying and selling a home, and in that way make the housing trade safer, says Geving.

CEO of NEF, Carl O. Geving.

CEO of NEF, Carl O. Geving. Photo: CF-Wesenberg / Kolonihaven

The seller is given a greater responsibility, and according to Geving, the only way to protect himself against this extended responsibility is precisely to document the condition of the home.

– In the vast majority of cases, the minimum requirements in the regulations will be sufficient. Then it is correct as Norsk takst points out that there are some building parts that are not covered by the requirements. Whether the seller is to procure a report that goes somewhat further than the minimum requirements will be a specific assessment in each case, says Geving.

The director emphasizes the importance of sellers being “very honest” about the condition of the home.

– From 1 January, it will be crucial that the seller does not withhold any information that may be of significance to the buyer. At the same time, there will also be a stricter duty of investigation for the buyer, and therefore it is incredibly important that you go on an inspection and spend time before you buy a home.

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