New Real Estate Clause Causes Concern for Home Owners

New rules requiring real estate agents to alert buyers and sellers to potential defects in a

property are causing anxiety for home owners and agents, uncertain of exactly what this


The recent changes to the real estate agents Code of Conduct require agents who

become aware of possible defects in a property they are selling, to warn the seller and

the buyer and advise them to seek independent advice from a suitably qualified expert.

If a seller tells an agent about a defect and asks them not to disclose it to a buyer, the

agent must immediately stop working for them.

The issue of what constitutes a “potential defect” is making Nelson agents, home owners

and buyers anxious. They are uncertain of their liabilities if they don’t spot a defect, and

are concerned the new rules will lead to confusion and protracted delays while potential

issues are investigated and resolved.

Local Nelson builder Tony Walker, who with father Ross has just launched the building

inspection franchise HABiT in Nelson, says the new clause doesn’t have to be a deal-


“It’s about ensuring agents, sellers and buyers all get the right advice from an expert

who can help them find solutions,” says Walker. “I know that some real estate agents

are concerned they don’t have the experience to pick up defects. And sellers sometimes

want to cover them up because they don’t understand how simple they may be to fix.”

Walker, a registered master builder and licenced building practitioner, says the best

solution all round is to proactively assess a home for problems before it goes on the

market, identify any issues and find solutions that can be achieved quickly and cost


Tony and Ross Walker have more than 75 years of building experience between them,

accruing a swag of gold, silver and bronze Master Builders awards for their work on

residential and commercial buildings. Their resume includes large high end homes

designed by leading architects, as well as large and small alteration and additions in the

Wellington and Nelson regions.

They believe their launch of HABiT in Nelson couldn’t have come at a better time.

“More and more people want the reassurance of a building inspection from a highly

trained and experienced professional to ensure there are no hiccups in the home buying

or selling process,” says Tony.

“Our point of difference is that we are focused on solutions, not on problems. We want to

help the agent, the seller and the buyer to identify possible problems and work with them

to find a way through to a successful conclusion.”

The HABiT is a nation-wide franchise providing comprehensive building reports that

talk to home buyers and sellers in their language. The company guarantees 24 hour

turn around and carries full professional indemnity and public liability insurance.