Bidding on housing should be more fair and transparent

Bidding on housing should be more fair and transparent

The government wants to make bidding on owner-occupied homes fairer and more transparent. Buyers must be able to understand when and how much to bid by others. Retention of finance and construction report is likely to be mandatory in every purchase contract.

In a letter to the House of Representatives, outgoing Minister Kajsa Olungren wrote that there are too many abuses in the real estate world and incentives to improve things are not being addressed broadly enough. With the “automated bidding registry,” she says, the space for not acting with integrity disappears.

The petition comes at a time when the housing market is at a standstill, with very few homes for sale and absurdly high prices. Four out of five homes sold above asking price within a few weeks. Homes are on average about 20 percent more expensive than they were a year ago. The brokers themselves also talk about excessive bids, sometimes in excess of one hundred thousand above the asking price.

Complaints about ‘favoritism’

Nowadays, it is typical for home seekers to pass their offer on to the selling broker by phone or email before a certain deadline. This broker collects bids independently and consults with the seller on the most interesting bid. This is not always straightforward, as evidenced by various examples from the media, including covert operation Via a TV show radar. Within two months, the Homeowners Association’s Reporting Center received 600 complaints, with “nepotism” being the most cited.

MP Henk Nijbauer of the Bafda party increased pressure on the minister to intervene. “Certainly in the current market where over-bidding is the norm, brokers are misusing their positions,” he says. “They also literally declare that you have no opportunity without a buyer’s agent.”

Follow the online bidding process

Olungren sees a lot in the so-called bidding book of the VBO real estate association and the “Eerlijk Bieden” platform. Homebuyers submit their offer on a website and can then follow the process online, just like with a postal package. If the offer becomes unconditional, after three days or a few weeks, the bidders and the seller can see which offer was made and when. In the event of a complaint, the disciplinary judge can assess whether everything is going smoothly.

Since the critical terms of the financing and construction report are often omitted for competitive reasons in the current tight market, the D66 Minister wants them to be included in the purchase contract. Homebuyers are now taking a big risk.

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