How to rent an apartment in Moscow

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During my life in the capital, I had to rent a house both independently and with the help of a realtor. I had a chance to act as an agent myself and to look for people to rent housing. The latter prompted the idea that it would not hurt to tell potential tenants (more precisely, tenants) how to rent housing in Moscow with the least hassle and cost. I hope my experience will be useful to you.

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Where to begin

The first question that realtors and apartment owners ask is “where are you from?” Someone agrees to rent their living space only to the Slavs, someone only to residents of Moscow and the Moscow region. The second is how many people will live. These questions are especially relevant when people rent out one of the rooms in the apartment in which they themselves live. In this case, they try to take one person or (as an exception) a married couple without children. If you come from the republic of the former USSR or you have a large family, and your income is only enough for a room, then you should cooperate with someone and rent a two- or three-room apartment for several families. Larger apartments are more difficult to rent, and the owners are more loyal to nationality, citizenship and the number of tenants.

On your own or with a realtor?

The first and main argument that is usually given against renting a house through an agency is the cost of a realtor’s services. Want to save money? Wonderful. This is where the realtor will help you..

There is an old misconception that agents cheat prices in order to get big commissions. So, it’s actually profitable for an agent to rent an apartment not more expensive, but faster. The apartment can be advertised for a month without generating any profit. This is not counting the cost of advertising (do you know that advertisements for renting apartments in the newspapers where they work cost an average of 300 rubles per exit?) During this time, you can rent out 5-6 such apartments, but a little cheaper.

When there are a number of identical offers, you will choose by price – right? The agent understands this very well. But the owner of the apartment is not. For him, his apartment is the most wonderful and most expensive. And everyone wants to squeeze the maximum out of their real estate. Analyze newspaper ads. You will see that apartments from the owners are 10-20 percent more expensive. It turns out that the cost of an agent will pay off to you in less than a year.

The second reason is that they took the money and found nothing. Yes, there are “sharashki” that you cannot work with. You just can’t. These are “agencies” that, under any pretext, want to get money from you before you signed an agreement with the owners. Previously, such offices, affectionately called by the people “scams”, called themselves news agencies and covered up their activities by the fact that they were not obliged to find you an apartment. They just sell information. Now, after numerous publications in the media, such “agencies” are no longer so widespread, but they exist, and they are carefully disguised. Their only and sufficient sign is that they all ask for money before they show you the apartment. If you are offered to pay for the agency’s services before you went to view, leave immediately. It doesn’t matter that you call the apartment and “clarify that it is free”, it doesn’t matter what they promise “in case of refusal to choose another option” or “return the money”. It doesn’t matter what they have written in the contract. You won’t find housing there, but you won’t see your money again.

For agencies that really work in the rental market, the scheme is as follows: they select options for you, you and the agent go to view, choose housing, sign an agreement with the owners, and after signing the agreement, pay a commission to the agency.

Finally, the agency has a few more opportunities to find apartments than you. Fresh and complete information is contained in real estate databases.

What not to do

You shouldn’t tell the agent that you don’t like the apartment, and then come back and try to negotiate directly with the owners. Apartment owners turn to a realtor not so much to find tenants, but to have the agency’s support in case of possible problems. And if you try to bypass the realtor, then you will cause quite legitimate fears of the owners about your decency and towards them. As practice shows, in the overwhelming majority of cases, they will refuse you under some pretext. Then they will call the realtor, and he will simply stop working with you. The result is wasted time.

By the way, about the time

Good apartments are usually rented out within a few views. There can be up to 5-6 such views per day. It is very inconvenient, but the fact is that there is usually no time to think. If you are satisfied with the apartment, then you need to sign the contract and give the owner the money right away. Just because right after you, several more potential tenants will look at this apartment.

Since we are talking about money, take with you an amount equal to three monthly rates. You will have to pay the landlords in advance for the first and last months of your stay. The agency fee is usually equal to one monthly rent. The owners can also ask for some amount as a deposit for telephone calls..

But before giving the money, you need to clarify something. First: is the person in front of you really related to this apartment and can rent it out? This is confirmed either by a stamp in the passport, or by documents of title to the apartment..

Second: clarification of what and how the rent is made up. The standard calculation scheme is a fixed payment for an apartment, additionally for electricity and long distance calls. The latter may vary depending on how the landlords pay for the telephone. If there is a minimum subscription fee with time-based payments for outgoing calls, then you will have to pay for them too. remember to take your electricity meter readings and write them down on your lease. In the same agreement (unless a separate payroll is attached to it), the landlord signs for the rent from you. Ideally, the contract should have the seal of the agency (yours or the one that acts on the part of the apartment owner).

Some particulars

Recently I had to face the problem of the Internet in old houses. It turned out that providers do not like to spend money on laying cables in houses, which in the future will be demolished. If this is of principle for you, and you are offered an apartment in an old house, check if the house is connected to the Internet. This also applies to cable TV.

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