Buying an apartment without a realtor: instructions, documents, risks

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Published: 12/05/2017

Reading time: 6 min



Purchasing an apartment as a property is a rather labor-intensive process due to its complexity for those who are not prepared to make such a transaction.

  • Differences in a transaction without the participation of a realtor
  • Necessary actions
  • Self-registration of a transaction

However, today many people are trying to refuse the help of realtors, since their services are quite expensive (in some cases, the amount of remuneration for such an intermediary can reach up to ten percent of the value of the real estate being sold). For this reason, many people try to complete a transaction without using the services of a realtor.

What is included in the services?

Its services are very diverse. When purchasing a complex, it all looks something like this:

  • Selection of real estate options at the client's request.
  • Organizing inspections of each of them.
  • Analysis of documents and their thorough verification.
  • Negotiating with the seller or the person representing him.
  • Transfer of prepayment for the object.
  • Collection and verification of documents for the apartment.
  • Organization of mutual settlements and preparation of purchase and sale agreements.
  • Registration of a state contract.
  • Organizing the transfer of housing to a new owner.
  • Negotiating with buyers and protecting their interests.
  • Receiving advance payment from the buyer.
  • Collection of documents for concluding a transaction.
  • Preparation of a draft purchase and sale agreement, organization of its signing.
  • Submission of documents to state registration.
  • Delivery of housing to a new tenant.

Nowadays, there are increasingly cases where the seller and buyer of property are the same person. In such situations, a realtor helps not to miss important details. He not only selects options, but also checks the apartment for cleanliness.

The owner should not have debts for utility bills, in addition, the property should also not be in credit. Thus, purchasing through a specialist is safer.

Which real estate professional should you always hire?

We recommend contacting a professional realtor who specializes in real estate purchase and sale transactions. Such a specialist knows the specifics of the legislation and has experience in real estate transactions. The best option would be a realtor from a real estate agency with over 5 years of experience (in, for example, all employees have such experience). But why do you need an agency realtor? In this case, there is a high probability that the specialist has extensive experience in checking apartments and knows all the nuances of this process. Working in an agency, a specialist is constantly in transaction mode, and is not relaxed in generating income as a self-employed citizen.

Before you begin, discuss the due diligence steps with your real estate agent and find out what services they intend to provide. Below is an approximate list of his actions:

  • request for title documents for real estate
  • studying the history of real estate alienation
  • checking the owner’s passport, making copies of all pages of the passport
  • checking the bankruptcy register
  • checking the litigation database
  • request for documents on the owner’s marital status
  • requesting an extract from the house register, a certificate of absence of debts on utility bills
  • requesting certificates from psychoneurological and narcological dispensaries
  • checking BTI documents and apartments for illegal redevelopment
  • preparation of an apartment purchase and sale agreement (at your request)

Is it needed and why?

When you contact a realtor, you get the following advantages:

  • The owner does not fill out the documents. All documentation falls on the specialist. The only thing he must do is give a power of attorney to carry out the work. According to it, the realtor collects papers and draws up a purchase and sale agreement.
  • No need to spend money on advertising. The agent himself finds suitable options for the price, and after that all the details are discussed.
  • Established customer base. Experienced realtors always have a lot of offers for buyers. He knows about the features of each of them, so that already at the first meeting he will be able to discuss several suitable options.

You should know that realtor services are not free. Often the price for them depends on the price of the housing itself. Payment terms are specified in the purchase agreement, which is signed between the parties at the first meeting. Now it’s worth considering cases in which you can do without the help of a real estate specialist. For people living in a small town, contacting a realtor is not necessary.

In addition, if the owner is in no hurry to purchase, he can independently meet with sellers and look at the objects offered for purchase. Currently, the market is flooded with great deals, so it can take a lot of time to look at each property. The only drawback in this regard is that no one guarantees you a clean deal.

Many people offer housing at an obviously attractive price, but those who don’t know fall for the trick, subsequently losing money and the chance to start a new life in a new apartment.

Safety of purchasing housing in the secondary market

As you can see, registering ownership of an apartment involves some risks. What do you need to know to avoid falling into the trap of “paperwork”?

Apartment purchase and sale agreement sample and nuances

This document has a certain structure. It is necessary to know it. The presence or absence of certain conditions may become grounds for invalidating the contract.

In accordance with Art. 554 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation there is a number of mandatory information that must be contained in the document:

  • personal data of the parties: full name, registration data, TIN number and others;
  • grounds establishing the right to own housing: series, number and date of issue of the state registration certificate;
  • identifiers of a specific apartment: cadastral number, purpose, address, area, etc.;
  • transaction value;
  • information about the government agency that will resolve disputes if they arise.
  • Depending on the wishes of the parties, the text of the agreement is supplemented with auxiliary conditions. The document states:
  • restrictions on use;
  • presence of persons registered in the apartment;
  • the amount of debt for utility bills or tax payments;
  • defects of the building or apartment;
  • a statement that the parties understand the consequences of their actions and perform them in good faith;
  • Payment Methods;
  • who bears the costs associated with concluding the contract and in what amount;
  • the procedure for transferring housing into the ownership of a new owner;
  • other conditions.

Note! The contract indicates not only the presence of the above conditions, but also records their absence.

A correctly concluded contract specifies the terms and conditions for the release of everyone who is registered there at the time of sale. If the apartment is sold with furniture or appliances, a transfer and acceptance certificate with a separate appendix indicating a complete list of items is attached to the contract.

If the contract does not expressly indicate any additional conditions, the document is signed by both parties and comes into force from the moment of signing.

Important! According to the law, the purchase and sale agreement does not require mandatory notarization. However, in order to avoid negative consequences, it is better to do this.

consent of the spouse to purchase an apartment sample download

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technical passport of the property sample download

sample cadastral passport of a real estate property

What is the responsibility of this specialist?

The realtor's responsibilities are as follows:

  • Material damage supported by facts. The agent must conclude the purchase transaction so that the buyer does not lose money and property.
  • Refusal to fulfill one's obligations or performing them improperly. Each realtor undertakes to accompany the client until the end of the transaction, taking on all the difficulties.
  • Violations that are contrary to the laws of the country. This may include additional amounts of money for services provided, as well as insufficiently professional provision of services to the client.

Cost in big cities of Russia

If real estate transactions are carried out in Moscow and its region, then the services of a professional will cost about 100,000 rubles . If we talk about St. Petersburg, then in this city the cost of a realtor’s services is about 90,000 rubles. But in both the first and second cases, the price depends on the value of the property. In other million-plus cities it depends on the cost of the apartment, but more often in the region of 30 - 50 thousand.

We have already talked in detail about how much a realtor’s service costs here.

How to choose it correctly?

To choose the best realtor, use the following sources:

  • Reviews and recommendations. Talk to your friends and family who have used similar services before. A loved one will never recommend a bad specialist.
  • Personal work experience. If it is positive, then the best solution is to contact a trusted person.
  • Search on the Internet and in print publications. Your agent may be closer than you think. Call several numbers and chat with each of them. Perhaps someone will seem close to you from the very first minute, while someone will push you away.
  • Visit a real estate agency. Such organizations employ a large number of agents who are ready to solve problems of any nature.

To avoid making a mistake, consider the following qualities of an agent:

  • Experience. Remember that a person can work for 20 years, but still not have many clients. The ability to win over oneself, as well as respect for the opinions of other people, speak of high professionalism. During a personal meeting, you will be able to understand how interested the realtor is in working with you.
  • Licensing. Nowadays, this is also not a high-level indicator, but if you have little time, you should still contact a person with a license. He knows exactly how to help the client, even if the amount of money for the purchase is extremely small, and the expectations are too high.
  • Localization of work. Some specialists work in specific areas. For example, you want to purchase real estate on the outskirts of Moscow, so you should contact a specialist who knows the area well and can select several options for you in order to save your time and show respect for the client.

What questions to ask?

First, you need to consult with an agent before making a choice in favor of a particular person. Don't be shy to ask questions regarding price. If it is too expensive for you to have such an assistant, it makes sense to find one that is affordable. You can also inquire about discounts. Ask how quickly the specialist can work.

For example, if buying an apartment is urgent for you, then the realtor should do everything possible to choose the best option and prepare all the documents. Ask your realtor what area they specialize in. Perhaps this is where you want to buy real estate. In addition, finding the best option for you will be much easier.

Be sure to find out how long the specialist has been working, and also take the time to look at reviews on the Internet. Using them, you can make a decision about cooperation with an agent.

Tips for buying an apartment on the secondary market

  1. Unscrupulous citizens rent an apartment for a long time and sell it using forged documents. In order not to “fall for the bait”, do not be too lazy to talk with your neighbors, offer the seller a joint trip to the housing office. Various excuses should cause you to triple your verification efforts.
  2. The home was sold to several people. Copies of documents are used here, including those certified by a notary. Before signing the contract, ask for original documents.
  3. In accordance with the law, some transactions still require the mandatory involvement of a notary. A document without a notary seal may be considered invalid.
  4. You should not flirt with the state and underestimate the real cost of the apartment. There are many other options on how to buy real estate cheaply. If the contract is declared invalid, you will only be able to return the amount specified in it. If you are eligible to receive a tax deduction, the calculation will take into account the figure specified in the contract.
  5. To reduce payments to the state, sellers propose to replace the purchase and sale agreement with a donation. Don't agree. If the contract is declared invalid, you can be left without money and without an apartment. You will not be able to prove that you paid money, and the very attempt to prove it will be an admission of fraudulent actions.

Step-by-step instructions for buying an apartment with a realtor

How to buy an apartment through a realtor? When purchasing real estate together with a specialist, you will follow the following instructions:

  1. Determination of the most important parameters (area, number of rooms and footage).
  2. Studying offers that are put up for sale.
  3. Selection of the best among them.
  4. View apartments and choose the best option.
  5. Conducting negotiations and bidding.
  6. Checking and preparing documents.
  7. Drawing up a purchase and sale agreement.
  8. Submission of documents for state registration.

The realtor will accompany you from the beginning to the end of the transaction for the purchase and sale of an apartment, and will perform some actions independently, freeing up your time.

Check out other useful resources on this topic:

  • Is a notary required when buying an apartment?
  • Why is it advisable to insure the purchase and sale of an apartment?
  • How much does legal support for a transaction cost?

Mortgage Realtor

Mortgage realtor, full support. Responsibilities of a realtor when purchasing an apartment with a mortgage.

Who turns to the services of a realtor: most often, busy people who are not very knowledgeable about mortgage transactions turn to real estate agents.

The tasks of a realtor, which he solves during a mortgage transaction.

1. The agent helps you decide on the choice of bank, the size of the down payment, and the volume of the loan. In order to decide how much credit to take, you need to do some market analysis and decide how much money is missing. This problem is solved by a real estate agent.

2. When you have decided on the volume of the loan, you need to choose a bank. How to choose it? Most often they go to the bank where they receive their salary, a “salary” bank. Few people know that all banks have different mortgage programs.

Lending conditions vary from bank to bank. They differ in the interest rate, the size of the down payment, and other conditions. It happens that it is not easy to figure it out right away.

The agent will help you decide on the bank and the choice of mortgage program. When you have decided on a bank, it is better to make your first visit to the mortgage manager for a consultation with a real estate agent. The mortgage manager will make a preliminary calculation of the loan size, loan term and interest on the loan.

3. Banks are happy to cooperate with realtors when conducting mortgage transactions. They regularly conduct training for real estate agents; at seminars for agents they present their new programs and their conditions. It is easier for banks to work when a client comes with a knowledgeable person. When the client brings a package of documents to the property on time, less time is spent on reviewing the package of documents.

4. When the loan application is approved, you need to start choosing an apartment. There is also a real estate agent working here. The agent selects an apartment according to the bank's requirements. Each bank puts forward its own requirements for the property. Banks give a limited time to select a property; during this time you need to have time to select a property that will satisfy the bank’s requirements. Sometimes, due to inexperience, a buyer chooses a property that the bank will never approve. The bank does not approve the property, and the time to find the property has passed. You need to be re-approved - get approval for a loan.

5. Many sellers do not want to sell their apartments to mortgage buyers. A mortgage transaction always takes a little longer than a cash purchase. This is how it is in the market, the seller always prefers buyers with cash, the transaction is faster and less hassle. A competent real estate agent can always convince the seller of the safety of the mortgage transaction, dispel all the seller’s fears and competently clarify all issues related to the transaction. Most sellers change their minds after communicating with an agent, especially if they have received answers to all questions related to the transaction and receiving money.

6. Conducting a transaction. The agent’s responsibilities include conducting the transaction: drawing up a purchase and sale agreement, monitoring the transaction process, mutual settlements, and submitting documents for registration. Acceptance of the apartment according to the act after registration and completion of the transaction.

Various complications can arise at all stages of the mortgage transaction. The transaction may be counter, it may involve a large number of participants, some may be anxious, others suspicious or with a difficult character. You never know what exactly might happen in a transaction: a failure in the work of a notary, a registration chamber, or errors in the actions of bank employees. Practice shows that everything is possible. In all unforeseen circumstances of the transaction, a realtor helps.

One of my last transactions was a counter-purchase, in which two different banks, the city housing exchange (it provides housing subsidies), and most importantly, five participants in the transaction participated. These five parties to the deal would hardly have been able to reach an agreement among themselves without outside help. The transaction was complex; each party had its own real estate agent. Only the participation of experienced agents saved this deal from complete collapse.

I offer my services as a realtor when purchasing an apartment with a mortgage in St. Petersburg.

Good luck! Galina Cherkis

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