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When I consider an apartment to buy, I usually call an engineering company and ask them to check the apartment for any physical defects that I cannot notice by myself (In Hebrew this process is called "bedeq bayit"; I do not know the English term). This is quite expensive, and every potential buyer of the same apartment has to do the same thing and pay the same price, since the report usually remains with the buyer.

I thought of a different scheme, that would be more efficient, and avoid extra work and extra payment.

  • There is a central authority that keeps all reports.
  • Every person who considers an apartment to buy can check online whether a report on this apartment already exists, and if so, when it was last updated.
  • If there is no report, or if the buyer thinks the existing report is outdated, the buyer can buy a report from an engineering company of their choice; the report will be given to the buyer and also deposited in the central authority. Denote the report price by X.
  • If a report already exists, then the buyer can buy the report for a lower price, depending on the number of previous buyers. The second buyer pays X/2, which is transferred to the first buyer; the third buyer pays X/3, which is divided between the second and first buyers; etc. Overall, when k buyers buy the same report, each of them pays an equal sum of X/k.

This is more efficient for society, since it avoids redundant checks of the same apartment; and cheaper for the buyers, since they have to pay less for at least some of the reports.

  1. Is this scheme feasible?
  2. Is something similar implemented in another country?
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    The English word you want is "survey", or perhaps "structural survey".
    – Mike Scott
    Feb 15 at 11:21
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    I’m voting to close this question because it's a request for opinions on a proposal that would be either s business or politics and thus outside the scope of Personal Finance.
    – keshlam
    Feb 15 at 16:50
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    @MikeScott I'm pretty sure the usual term (at least in American English) is "inspection".
    – nanoman
    Feb 15 at 20:18
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    Your exact idea was discussed years ago in an Australian forum.
    – nanoman
    Feb 15 at 20:24
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    There are a lot of practical problems with such a proposal, let alone the additional onerous intrusion into market by the government regulators, but on top of all that - when you buy an apartment in Israel, you're not buying a structure. Worst case you'll need to replace some finishing or fix a bearing wall, but the building itself is owned and managed by the HOA, not the individual owners.
    – littleadv
    Feb 15 at 20:26

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In Scotland, the seller of a house or flat has to commission such a report, and make it available to any potential buyer. This required a change in the law to make the surveyor liable to the eventual buyer if the survey wasn't conducted properly, even though they have no contract with the buyer.

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