Estate agents to be forced to tell truth

Swedish real estate agents could soon be banned from setting unrealistically low starting prices on homes they are selling, if the recommendations of a new government inquiry are accepted.

The inquiry also wants a law to oblige estate agents to take account of the interests of both sellers and buyers. Agents would be expressly banned from buying homes that they have been contracted to sell. They would also be barred from selling homes to relatives or to companies with which they were associated.

The new law would define agents’ obligations. They would be obliged to give an of a property’s market value in its sale brochure. Currently, the asking price of a house or apartment is frequently less than 80 percent of the market value. Potential buyers then bid against each other to buy the property.

The inquiry also wants to force agents to inform buyers that they are responsible for carrying out surveys. They would also have to hand over notes about the sale of a property to both the buyer and seller and to give a full account of bids received, including the names and phone numbers of all bidders.

The inquiry’s report will now be considered by the government, which will decide whether to incorporate its recommendations into law.

Properties in Sweden