Byggesagkyndig. The name itself – if you can pronounce it, that is – can stoke fear in the heart of any Danish property seller. By the time I had sold my house, it meant the blackest terror to me. However, we bet that in five minutes you’ll wish they existed in Malta (spoiler: they do).
The word byggesagkyndig roughly means “building expert”, but we think “buyer’s agent” is a better translation. He or she is an individual, often an architect or structural engineer, or even an experienced real estate agent who has decided to play on the buyers’ side. The job of a byggesagkyndig is very simple: to find every single flaw in the property you would like to buy. Seldom a smart Danish buyer will not have one of these experts by their side.
Sell today, worry for 20 years
This bit would, also, terrify sellers. I think many Maltese sellers couldn’t sleep at night. Danish law stipulates that the seller of a property has responsibility for any existing flaws discovered within twenty years. As this seemed impractical, the habit arose for sellers to have a building expert carefully examine a property and file a status report. Then the buyer would take out insurance against any other latent defects, and the seller would sleep safe at night.
Negotiating vs. haggling
There is negotiating, and there is haggling. Negotiation requires you to know the intrinsic value of your intended investment, with any of its strengths and weakness. Haggling is… “give it to me for 10% less will you?”. When we saw a skilled byggesagkyndig in action, as victims, we got a full and reasoned list of every bit of our property that needed to be fixed, that was not compliant with building code, that was a source of concern. And the buyers’ final offer took account of that. All things considered, their buyers’ agent saved them over EUR 10,000 while costing perhaps 2,000. The advice paid for itself.
The day you buy is the day you sell
And there’s something else. Advice is not just about saving money. It is also peace of mind for the day you sell. Recently, our architect highlighted that an otherwise excellent investment in the old town of Victoria had a kitchen too close to the boundary wall to be legal. Yes, the owners were getting it sanctioned (paying a fee to make it legal) but, as the architect pointed out, the flaw would have still prevented the buyer from making any alterations – unless the layout of the property had been completely changed. We are talking tens of thousands of euros. We advised the buyer against the purchase.
Ok – I want one. Can I find a… byggethingy, in Malta?
Confession time. Our experience with the transparent, safe Danish property buying system was one of the inspirations for Property Hunters. You see, while buyer’s agents are common many countries, they mostly focus on the haggling and leave the structural inspections to someone else. However, the way we see it, it is useless to discuss the price of an apple until you know if it is rotten inside. This understanding led us to bring in an architect amongst our founders and offer a range of architectural services before and after a property purchase. To our knowledge, we are the only agency in Malta to have such expertise in house. So, if you do want that byggesagkyndig – talk to us.