Transactions in land and other real property differ between countries throughout Europe. The transaction procedures reflect formal rules, but they are also normalized through conventions and professional codes of conduct. This complex of technical, legal and economic issues was investigated from the point of view of transaction economics through an ESF-COST supported Action G9 ‘Modeling Real Property Transactions’. The research was performed between 2001 and 2005 by researchers mainly from university departments related to land surveying, real estate management, geo-information sciences and knowledge engineering. This book represents the final outcome of that study. A modeling approach was elaborated and tested on a number of countries (especially Sweden and Slovenia, for which the models are shown in this book in the Unified Modeling Language (UML)). The modeling approach leads to transparency and allows comparison. Nevertheless, the influence of the national and social contexts, and the different perspectives that can be taken, prevent a simple ranking of the studied procedures. For those planning or comparing transaction procedures or parts thereof, the book supplies a tested approach and methodology. But the book eventually warns of simplification in this field full of complex national institutional arrangements.
The importance of real estate to the modern economy cannot easily be overrated. Sales of land and buildings, the mortgage sector and the building industry are all part of this. To make these work properly, transactions in real property are needed, and should be safe and efficient. Nevertheless, the actors and procedures involved appear to differ even between countries with comparable economies.
A group of academics from fields like cadastral surveying, information science, economics and law who shared an interest in such procedures came together to study these in more detail. A research design was prepared during 1999 and 2000. Funding for joint activities and travel was sought and found via COST (European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research), through Cost as Action G9 ‘Modelling Real Property Transactions’. The research was carried out from the Summer of 2001 till the end of 2005. For the objectives and an overview of the action please see Chapter 1. Although several results were published during this time, this book can be seen as the main reflection of the knowledge gained during the action.
Thanks go to all that contributed to the action, both to the authors of this book, as to the others who contributed to the knowledge that we generated together during the action. Further thanks go to the COST organisation for supporting the action, especially to the Scientific Officers Mrs. Anna Danti, Mr. Günter Siegel and Mr. David Gronbaek, as well as to the reviewers Prof. Danica Fink-Hafner, Prof. Hans Sevatdal and the Domain Committee for Individuals, Societies, Cultures and Health (ISCH) for their positive words on the work accomplished. Thanks go to Dirk Dubbeling and his team of OTB Research Institute for Housing, Urban and Mobility Studies of the Delft University of Technology for changing our manuscripts into the book that you are holding right now. Further thanks go to IOS Press for publishing the book. Final thanks go once more to ESF-COST for their financial contribution to this book.
The book can only show you so much of what we have experienced and felt throughout the action. This certainly includes the amazement when hearing about other country's solutions, the challenges in finding commonalities and the satisfaction of discovering patterns and underlying causality. It also includes the camaraderie that comes with a common field of interest and shared experiences. Research is never finished, and we know that this work only covers some steps of a long staircase. But we hope and expect that we and you can build upon it in the future.
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