Unless you are a seasoned investor with a lot of capital, buying an apartment awaits you probably only a few times in your life. All the more it is necessary to know what to watch out for. We have prepared a simple checklist for you, thanks to which you will not forget anything. At the end of the article, you can download and print it in an abbreviated form so that you have it at hand on each tour. And then, thanks to him, you need to compare the selected apartments and decide for the best one.
Condition of the property
On the tour you will definitely be able to get a picture of the overall condition of the apartment. But what about what lies beneath the surface? Ask when the apartment was last renovated, how old are the water, electricity and gas lines. You can still come across an apartment where everything is original and where you have to count on a more expensive reconstruction. Find out if the apartment has a brick or original umakartové core, which is typical mainly for prefabs. You should also be interested in the condition of the windows, whether they are plastic or wooden, and whether any repairs will be needed. What about floors or kitchens? Ask about the age of all equipment so you can plan future repairs.
To live well
The technical condition of the property on one side, comfort on the other. Focus on the orientation of the apartment to the cardinal points. Do you prefer the morning sun in the bedroom, or do you prefer windows to the west? What about street noise? In general, it is nice if the bedroom is oriented to the courtyard, or at least to the opposite side from the noisy street.
Often you buy other spaces together with the apartment – a share in the pram, bike room, garden, dryer, or even your own cellar or part of the attic. In the checklist, be sure to note which spaces you have for yourself and which are shared.
For a comfortable life, it is also useful to have a balcony or terrace, to the first floor of course an elevator and rooms to have ideally separate, at least those except the living room. The key to a comfortable temperature in the apartment is then good heating. Flooring is one of the best, but not many apartments have it. Most often you will encounter classic urban hot-water heating. You can also come across a gas or electric boiler, in old houses then the least comfortable gas heating WAW.
Ask about the temperature control options, the thermostat is always more convenient than the regulation of individual heads in the rooms. Although even for this you can already buy gadgets such as automatic thermostatic heads, which you mount instead of the original ones.
Equipment and gadgets
It's not entirely about whether the original owner will leave you a couch or a dining table in the apartment. Focus more on what is not so easy to change. The utility room may well lack water and waste, so you will be relied on washing and drying in the bathroom or kitchen. The toilet is more suitable separate, and if you do not have windows in the bathroom and toilet, it is certainly nice to have a fan and exhaust to the footpegs.
Also practical is the exhaust hood. It can work without it, but with the tow outside it cooks a little better. Someone likes traditional gas burners, another does not give in to induction. Be sure to ask what is available in the apartment.
The next item on the checklist is the Internet – be interested in a local supplier, find out if there is also an optical cable in the house. If you work from home, it will definitely come in handy. Likewise, check the availability of TV broadcasts. Often there is a common antenna and one particular supplier in the entrance.
Legal and factual situation
You may be surprised, but it is not entirely uncommon when the dimensions of an apartment do not correspond to the number of meters in the ownership sheet. A pleasant surprise may await you – you buy an apartment that is actually larger than on paper. But you may also miss a few meters, and it will definitely not please. If you want to avoid surprises or try to negotiate a lower price (if you measure less), do not be afraid to check the dimensions of the apartment before buying. And when buying an apartment in a new building, do not hesitate to ask the developer for detailed technical documentation.
On the ownership sheet that you get for the purchase, verify that there are no easements or servitudes on the property. If there are any listed on the title deed, have it explained in detail what it will mean for you. Check if the ownership sheet includes a share in the common parts of the house. You will often come across two sheets of ownership, one to the apartment and one to the house and to the common parts.
Are you buying an apartment for personal ownership? You should be interested in the Association of Unit Owners, the so-called SVJ. What specifically? Ask how they manage, how often the owners meet, or if the SVJ now has any debts (for example, for repairs to the house, the façade, the elevator and so on). These will be reflected in your contributions to the repair fund. Request annual statements for services and a registration sheet, where you will see both contributions to the repair fund and the seller's water and heat consumption. Ask for electricity and gas consumption data. This will give you a picture of how much you will pay for the apartment per month.
When you buy an apartment into cooperative ownership, you buy the rights to use the housing unit, you do not buy the apartment itself. Find out if the cooperative has debt (also called the amount of outstanding principal or annuity) and what part would pass to you. The annuity, in turn, will be reflected in the amount of your monthly payments. Ask if there are any other debts on the apartment – such as unpaid rent or payments for services. Do not forget to read the statutes honestly. It may surprise you that some cooperatives prohibit sublease, so if you are buying an apartment for investment, it can be a problem.
Condition of the house and surroundings
The debts of the SVJ or cooperative are associated with the state of the house. What does the façade look like? How old is the elevator? What about the roof? Are there any fixes planned or is everything new? Request a certificate of energy performance of the building, or PENB label. The seller must provide it to you one way or the other, every now and then someone wants to avoid it, but do not give in. Thanks to PENB, you will find out what heat loss the house has, how economical it is.
Finally, ask yourself. Is this the location I want to live in? How far is it to the nearest public transport stop? Where is the nearest store? Even if you are choosing an investment apartment, focus on civic amenities. Tenants who have a dog will probably want to walk somewhere, and people with children will appreciate the garden or the nearby playground. It is also nice to look into the zoning plan and find out what is planned in the locality. A new building, café or shop nearby can easily raise the value of your apartment.
In some localities there is a fight over the apartments, in others you can negotiate a nice discount. If there are not a number of 30 people interested in the apartment, try to ask for a 5-10% discount for quick action. You may be surprised, but it often works. However, it is better to have financing when signing the reservation contract so that you do not forefall the reservation fee in case of complications.
As we promised, so that you have all these details together and do not forget anything during the tours, we have created a simple checklist for you. Don't forget to download and print it the next time you interview a broker 👇