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Property buyers should resist agents dirty tricks

Industry urges property buyers to resist agents’ dirty tricks over building inspections.

The Building Officials Institute of New Zealand (BOINZ) has warned home buyers to stand firm in the face of ‘interfering estate agents’ who try to block accredited property inspections.

BOINZ Chief Executive Len Clapham welcomed a report by Consumer magazine which reveals some agents have employed underhand methods to scupper surveys by accredited building surveyors.

He urged prospective buyers to safeguard their investment by commissioning inspections only by accredited surveyors from firms complying with the New Zealand Standard for Residential Property Inspection.

“Consumer found some agents had even contacted property inspectors directly, on the ‘prospective buyer’s behalf’ but without their knowledge, to cancel appointments,” said Mr Clapham.

“Or they have pressured the buyer into cancelling an inspection by a New Zealand Standards accredited building surveyor, and using another firm instead.

“It is the prospective buyer’s absolute right to choose who inspects the property. Any attempt by agents to interfere or influence that choice is totally unacceptable and should not be tolerated.

“The agent’s only input into that process should be to arrange a mutually acceptable time when they can accompany the accredited inspector to the property.”

Mr Clapham said that purchasing a property was the biggest investment many people would ever make, so carrying out due diligence was vital, especially in the current uncertain market.

“A very important part of that process is ensuring the inspection is carried out by a fully accredited building surveyor to provide you with thorough, independent advice before you buy,” he said.

“If the agent or vendor does not want the property to be undergo a rigorous non-invasive inspection then you really should be wondering why.”

The report, in the latest issue of the Consumer New Zealand magazine, advises prospective buyers to have contracts legally checked before they sign, to make sure the building clause does not limit their rights.

It also welcomed proposed changes in the new Real Estate Agents Bill that will offer more protection for buyers and sellers.


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