While the cohabiting couple took a glass of wine to celebrate the home purchase, the home was sold on to another. The brokerage company believes they have done everything right.
«Refers to the bid of 6,000,000 kroner plus costs. We hereby confirm that the offer has been accepted by the seller with takeover on 15.01.2022 at 12.00. The bid has been submitted without reservation. We congratulate the trade and will immediately send a letter of acceptance and a draft purchase contract.»
What would you think if you received such an SMS?
Would you think that the house you had bid on was yours?
At least the cohabiting couple Solrun Viktoria Larsen Liljedal and Einar Fossøy Gulbrandsen did.
– This was our dream home, and we were very happy that it was ours, Liljedal says to the newspaper in Tromsø.
The detail that turns everything upside down
Drømmeboligen was a vertically divided terraced house of 134 square meters in Tromsø city, with a view of the Arctic Cathedral, three bedrooms, kitchen and dining room downstairs, a cozy living room upstairs. Price estimate: 5,990,000 kroner.
– We had not looked at houses for so long when we noticed the home. It had been out for a while. We contacted Sne Eiendom and got a private view. We were very happy and enjoyed what we saw. After a bidding round with another stakeholder, we finally received bid acceptance, says Liljedal.
But there was one small detail that did not agree.
The couple had in fact set up the desired takeover date on 25 February, not 15 January, when they submitted their first bid. They had never heard the second takeover date mentioned before now.
– We asked the broker questions about this date when he called to congratulate us. We said this was not our date. It was clear that he had mixed us with the other bidder, Liljedal believes.
– How did you notice that?
– In addition to the date, which was the second bidder’s date, he said “you submitted the first bid”, she says.
– But we did not. We placed bid number two.
See answer from Sne Eiendom further down in the case.
Deal or no deal?
Then there will be some emails back and forth. Liljedal writes that they thank for the offer, but that they want to take over on 25 February, as stated in the offer.
Broker writes that the seller has accepted the offer of 6 million subject to takeover on 15 January. If they can not implement the agreement on that condition, he asks to be notified as soon as possible.
«15. January was a date set by the other bidder, and it is not something we have accepted. We therefore want the takeover date of 25 February 2022 to stand, but we are willing to discuss the possibility of an earlier takeover if I get to sell my apartment earlier », Liljedal answers in his email.
The couple then receives another email from the seller stating that he considers himself free of the agreement since they do not accept the offer.
He writes that he is free to enter into an agreement with others, possibly this bidder, on other terms.
– We received an offer from the seller to take over on our date for 25,000 kroner extra, or take over on 15 January for the sum we won the bidding round for. We replied that we needed some time to think.
– 25,000 kroner is just peanuts in the context, but it was in principle wrong to have to pay extra because the broker had done what we think is a bad job, says Liljedal.
When she talks to a broker and asks if this is a “deal or no deal”, where they either have to accept it, or the seller will move on with others.
– He replied that it was not the case, she says to iTromsø now.
After some thought, the couple talks to the broker again – and says that they are willing to negotiate a takeover date. The broker says that he will take it further with the seller, the couple says.
The counter message
For a full eight hours, the couple believes that the house is theirs.
But at 11 pm an email arrives from the broker:
«Hi Solrun and Einar! Since we did not succeed in agreeing on both the purchase price and the takeover in connection with bidding on Storsteinnesveien 6B, the seller has wanted to proceed with other stakeholders. The home is now sold. We are so sorry that it did not work out for you in the end.»
– We sat happy at home, drank wine and enjoyed ourselves, we had bought a house and now planned how we would proceed with what was laid on the table. When we received the email, I was about to fall off the chair. I really did not understand anything, says Liljedal.
– The last thing we heard from the broker, three hours before the email came, was that he should talk to the seller and get back to us, she thinks.
Had already sold the house on to someone else
The couple’s version of the further course is as follows:
They write the same evening to the broker in an email that this is not acceptable, that the agreement is binding, that they have said that they are willing to discuss the takeover date. They also wonder why they have not been informed along the way.
Brokers do not respond, they say. Four days later, they send a new email, ask why they do not hear anything, and also ask about the bid journal.
– We asked this about nine times. First time in email after we had received bid acceptance and it was crumpled with the takeover date. It is common for it to be sent out at the same time as acceptance. Four days later we got it. And then it had already visited both brokers, general managers, subject managers and lawyers.
When they saw it, they got another shock. It shows that the home was sold to someone else already at 17.20.
It was at 19.00 the couple talked to the broker, that they were willing to negotiate, and that he should talk to the seller.
– We were sure that the home was ours, that it only remained to agree on a takeover date. While we sit and discuss this between us, there is a dialogue between the other bidder, seller and broker. All this without involving us. It is disrespectful, says Gulbrandsen.
– For eight hours we thought the house was ours, but in reality he had already sold it to someone else after two hours. Why did he say nothing about it when we talked? He could dampen the shock even then. I had expected more from a broker who according to himself has 25 years of experience, says Liljedal.
The brokerage house: Do not know how we could have been more clear
The couple has not heard anything from the broker since he sent an e-mail that it had been resold to someone else.
When iTromsø contacts Sne Eiendom to get their side of the case, they are not allowed to talk to the responsible broker, but to Nestor Ivar Nerdal who handles the case for the brokerage house.
He thinks the broker has done everything right.
– When the seller accepts a bid, he can attach reservations, as was done here. The email states in black and white that if you do not accept the term, you have no agreement, says Nerdal and refers to an email correspondence in Tromsø has been accessed.
– Where in the correspondence do you think the couple says no?
– They write «15. January was a date the other bidder set and it is not something we have accepted ». Furthermore, they are informed that the seller considers himself free to enter into other agreements. They do not come with a new bid.
– Do you understand how the couple may have thought that the house was theirs?
– No I do not. I do not know how we could have been clearer. Both seller and broker have clarified their position. We have gone through the process and we are fully aware that we are completely within all rules all the way.
– According to the bid journal, the home was sold to someone else at 17.20. When the broker spoke to the couple at 7 pm, he did not mention this. Why?
– I was not in that conversation, so I can not answer, says Nerdal.
– A cruel experience
The couple is left with a bad feeling. Not only have they lost the house, but they have also lost faith in brokers, and are skeptical of bidding rounds. After writing a long email to Sne Eiendom about their experience, they have not heard anything more.
– It has been a cruel experience, and it affects us in other bidding rounds because we do not trust anyone involved anymore. So it’s no longer just about the house we lost. It’s about much more, says Liljedal.
They know they’ve lost their house. By shedding light on the story, they hope that others think a little extra about in bidding rounds.
– In retrospect, we see that we might have agreed to pay 25,000 kroner extra. But it was still a mistake in principle that we should pay for the broker to have done what we believe is a mistake. I wish the broker at least took us seriously and apologized for the incident, says Liljedal.
Broker’s advice for bidding rounds
Nerdal says that he does not understand what it is he is to apologize for.
– There is no doubt that we have acted correctly in this situation. It is very simple: if you say yes, you commit to it, and if you say no then you do not get the house, he says and adds:
– But, we are of course sorry that someone has had a negative experience. However, it is not in our power to define agreements entered into between the parties. We are not in a position where we can decide who will end up with a house. It is the seller and buyer who take care of themselves.
– Can you afford people who will enter bidding rounds in the future?
– Yes, be careful about what you say yes and no to. It commits, says Ivar Nerdal.