Buying an apartment on the secondary housing market

Recommendation points

Avoiding troubles that can complicate the life of a real estate buyer is possible only if a number of official and unspoken rules are observed, which must be adhered to regardless of whether you buy an apartment or a cottage without intermediaries, or using the services of a real estate agency.


Buying real estate in the secondary housing market is significantly different from buying a new building or equity participation in construction.

Price plug

If you decide to purchase a ready-made, “habitable” room, be prepared for the fact that its cost will be slightly higher. How much higher depends on the area in which the house is located, the development of infrastructure, the level and cost of repairs in the purchased apartment. Of course, there are official market prices per square meter in the secondary housing market, and the seller will not set the price of an apartment much higher than these prices, since the chance to sell such property in a reasonable time is small. However, there is the concept of “price fork”, or price range. For the same number of meters in a prestigious and non-prestigious area of ​​the city, with European-quality renovation or renovation of the late 70s, “clean” or not, the history of the apartment, you will be asked for a different amount.

District development prospects

In addition, it should be borne in mind that the presence or absence of development prospects may affect the value of real estate in a particular area. It may turn out that, having bought an apartment you like with a beautiful view at a considerable price, in a year or two you will find yourself in a stone sack, surrounded by instantly erected multi-storey buildings (they are building now quickly), and from the window you will observe a wonderful view of the next grandiose construction site, with everyone construction-related effects – noise, dust, smoke and similar negative phenomena.

To prevent this from happening, after viewing the option you like, try to find out the prospects for the development of this area. Any source of information can help you with this: make a request to the district administration, use your personal contacts, ask your acquaintances, and, of course, in no case neglect the most valuable source of information – reviews of pensioners and young mothers on a bench in the yard of a house you like. By the way, they can tell a lot of interesting things about the tenants of the house, the entrance, the unwritten local regulations, the crime situation in the area, the owners of the apartment and the reasons for the sale. All these factors are often quite reasonably silent and can subsequently create many problems for the new landlord..

Massive nature of proposals

Particular attention should be paid to the number of apartments sold in this building. If you see the massive nature of offers for the sale of apartments in the same entrance or the house as a whole, you should think about the reason for such a stir. This may be the previously mentioned planned development of the surrounding area, frequent technical problems with public services, even cracks in the foundation due to ground movements or the construction of another metro line. Naturally, neither the realtor, nor, especially, the owner of the apartment, will tell you about this. “We saw the eyes that we were buying,” but then it will be very difficult to sell such real estate.

Documentary confirmation of the legality of ownership of the premises

It will not be superfluous not to regret a symbolic fee and time (about five working days), and to make an official request to the district justice institution in order to obtain documentary confirmation of the legality of the sellers’ ownership of the premises being sold. If the sale is carried out by power of attorney, do not be too lazy to contact the notary who certified the power of attorney to clarify the fact that this document, important in the transaction, has been drawn up. Unfortunately, there are still, although much less often than at the beginning of the stage of commercial implementation of real estate in Russia, cases of fraud, in which the power of attorney is forged and the apartment is sold without hindrance. However, after a while, the real owner of the apartment enters the scene, returning from the hospital or a business trip to his home. It is no longer possible to find the false sellers who received the money, since the operation itself and the escape routes are carefully planned in advance. The buyer is left without money and an apartment. The housing issue will not be resolved only from the fact of initiating a criminal case against swindlers. Investigations and courts in such cases last for years.

Errors in documents

Be sure to carefully check each document at each stage of the purchase, check the dates, names, passport data, certificates, data on the technical passport of the premises. Even without malicious intent, by pure chance, errors and misprints can creep into documents, distorting the meaning and / or making the document invalid. Do not rely on realtors, because you personally pay the money. In practice and according to the law, the agency does not bear any responsibility for the actions of the seller, and if the transaction is recognized as illegal for any reason, to “clean up” the situation and return your money back (which is not so easy, especially if the seller aims to cheat), you personally, not the agency.

Meet the seller of the apartment

Changes in housing legislation greatly simplify life for both parties to the transaction, however, it is worth considering the existing Russian conditions, in which not all market participants have yet strictly followed the letter of the law. For example, in fact, the procedure for occupying the premises by the legal owner after buying a home may be complicated by the reluctance of the former owner to leave the premises within the time frame established by the contract. The motivation for such an act can be different – nowhere to go (housing has not been bought), deterioration (often, in such cases, fictitious) health, unexpected arrival of relatives who have nowhere else to stay, and so on. The process of vacating the premises by the former owner can take months (such cases are quite real). All these possible problems should be borne in mind, and when meeting with the seller of an apartment, some of these actions can be predicted by the manner of communication, attitude to the issues of interest to the buyer.

As for the questions asked during the first and subsequent contacts with the seller, do not hesitate to clarify any points of interest to you, delve into the circumstances of the sale in detail. You pay the money you earn, make a very serious purchase. It is not superfluous, and quite natural, to ask, for example, about the reason for the sale, the number of people registered in the apartment, including minors, whether the apartment is encumbered (in pledge, on trial). Of course, all this can be checked without asking questions personally to the seller, but, firstly, by the involuntary reaction of a person to these questions, in 90% of cases it becomes clear whether there are pitfalls in the upcoming transaction or “everything is clean” and can be done further steps to purchase the housing you like. Secondly, the questions you ask of such a plan demonstrate to the interlocutor the degree of your knowledge and competence in legal matters. It is quite likely, and this is often observed, that already at the initial stage, after trying to find out the legal details of the upcoming transaction that you are interested in, some sellers, under any pretext, will refuse to sell the apartment, citing a variety of reasons. In the overwhelming majority of cases, this speaks of the dishonest intentions of the sellers, since, having seen your competence in the acquisition of real estate, they make the right decision – simply not to contact you. You are not their client. In this case, do not regret about the failed transaction. Nothing but problems and wasted time, and most importantly, money, such a purchase will not bring you.

Some peoples have such a belief that every large, serious thing (house, apartment, car) has its own owner. And she is waiting for him. If you have to become the owner of this particular apartment, you will become one, so do not be upset about failed options. This means that your apartment is waiting for you somewhere else …

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