Useful Tips

Comprehensive examination of a country house before buying


Do not buy a house until its inspection and verification is complete. Performing a home inspection can save you a round amount of money. Like all investments, buying a home can be a risky business. This risk can be reduced or eliminated altogether by conducting a thorough inspection of the house and engineering systems in the same way that you would check the financial condition of the company, range and markets before investing. If you yourself do not inspect the house or hire a professional who will do it for you, then you may encounter the need for expensive repairs.

Having checked the house before buying, you will know in advance what you are getting into. Perhaps you agree to carry out some repairs at your own expense, but you should clearly understand the condition of the house. To conduct a full inspection of the house yourself, you need a list of what is subject to verification, pay attention to at least the following points.

What is construction expertise necessary for?

Assessment of the technical condition of real estate includes the following types of work:

  1. The foundation of a residential building is thoroughly examined, its suitability for operation is assessed, as well as the fulfillment of all norms and requirements during its construction,
  2. The strength of walls and partitions is assessed without fail, structural structures are checked for their integrity,
  3. In order to determine the presence of defects, problems with tightness, inspection of door and window openings is carried out,
  4. Inspection of the roofing sheet, the tightness of the joints on the roof and the installed drainage system,
  5. The performance of all engineering systems and communications is assessed, including the operation of the ventilation system,
  6. The quality of the finish is checked, what materials were used,
  7. Measurements of radioactive, noise, electromagnetic radiation.

At the end of the verification work, specialists issue an appropriate opinion or act, which indicates all the shortcomings, and provides recommendations for their elimination. As part of the preparation of the defective act, an approximate estimate of the cost of work and materials that will be required to eliminate the identified defects is given.

Verification of documents during the inspection of the house

Self-assessment and verification of the home should be done thoroughly and comprehensively. First of all, this concerns the legal purity of real estate documents.

Thanks to the development of the Internet, today many data can be obtained simply by knowing the exact address of the house, as well as the cadastral number of the land. This information is checked against the Rosreestr database (

If the seller categorically refuses to provide the cadastral number of the land plot, or the address of the house, then it is better to refuse the acquisition by opting for an object whose owner does not hide anything from potential buyers.

Documents confirming the ownership of a country house and a plot are mandatory studied. The seller must have these documents with you and show you for review.

It is advisable to study the passport of the residential property and documents of title at the first inspection of the cottage. Even better, if the seller can immediately provide documents confirming the absence of debts on utility bills and other payments.

Without fail, you should study the documents of the seller documents for the land. There are only two of them:

  1. title document indicating the grounds according to which the owner owns the land (for example, it can be a decision on the allocation of a land plot, a certificate confirming the right to inherit the land, a court decision or a contract of sale, etc.),
  2. the owner must provide an extract from the USRN confirming ownership of the land.

With caution, you should treat the houses and plots that the owner received as an inheritance. Especially if this inheritance is by testament, and not by law.

In order to clarify all the nuances of transfer of rights in this case, it is enough to study the Certificate of Inheritance - in the document, the item “Type of inheritance” will necessarily indicate the language of interest.

In general, real estate specialists study the documents of transfer of real estate by will most closely if less than 3 years have passed since the inheritance of the property, as well as situations when the property was acquired less than three years ago and has already been put up for sale.

When buying land transferred to the owner by inheritance, as well as in situations where the owner sells the land literally immediately after its acquisition, the potential buyer must request an extended extract from the USRN.

1. Inspection of load-bearing walls and foundation

From the foundation begins any home. Therefore, it is imperative that at least a visual assessment of this part of the building be carried out.

If cracks are visible in the foundation, this should alert, since with the right construction technology, they should not be. Also, the foundation, in its lower part, should not be wet, covered with mold.

Moving a distance of 10-15 meters, you can visually assess the position of the house by ground level - if the building seems tilted, then there are flaws in the construction of the foundation, and this is fraught with possible problems with future operation.

2. How to inspect windows and doorways?

Each window and door should be checked - all structures should open without problems, without effort, pressure and creaks, not have visual distortions. To make sure that the elements are installed correctly, you can use the building level by checking the vertical and horizontal.

Especially worth a look at the walls in houses made of glued beams. Such structures, two to three years after the construction, often shrink. If the object is purchased directly from the developer, the latter is guaranteed a service inspection for several years after the delivery of the house. It is important to verify this obligation, which should be clearly stated in the contract.

Acceptance and visual assessment of the building, even at the stage of its construction, is a tangible “bonus” for the buyer, who can conduct a detailed inspection of each structural element. For example, after the completion of the project, the contractor may prohibit opening the wall cladding in order to assess the quality of the construction work carried out.

3. How to inspect the roof?

Checking the condition of the roof - this is perhaps the most problematic stage of the assessment of the cottage, during the initial inspection. You cannot fulfill it yourself. To do this, you need a ladder, equipment, special tools and skills.

You can evaluate the quality of the roof construction by checking the humidity in the rooms. You can also feel the boards with which the roof is hemmed. If they are too wet, or traces of mold and fungus are visible - all this indicates a poor-quality construction and a violation of the natural air circulation.

4. Checking the performance of all communications

This is also quite difficult during the initial inspection of the cottage. Yes, you can ask the owner to turn on the light, tap water, and flush the toilet. But to check their deterioration and proper assembly, without specialists you can not.

Another problem is checking the operability of heating systems. If you watch the house in the warmer months of the year, then it is obviously turned off or working at minimum power. Therefore, there is some risk that there may be surprises in winter ...

There are actually two options to be safe, if you do not want to order a construction examination:

  • Check the house with a thermal imager (it will show all sources of heat loss),
  • Postpone the purchase of your favorite option until the fall-winter.

Buying a country house in the cold season has its advantages, as:

  1. it is possible to check the heating system without problems (turn on all radiators, underfloor heating),
  2. assess the quality of installed windows and doors (indoor microclimate, presence or absence of condensation on the glass),
  3. conduct, using a thermal imager, an assessment of cold zones and parts of the house through which heat is released.

This is especially important if you plan to buy a cottage or a cottage built from inexpensive building materials. Since if the owner initially saved and built their house for living only in the warm months, you will immediately notice many problems, you will be able to evaluate and understand the energy efficiency of the building and its potential for living in the cold season.

Buying a property is always a certain risk, and buying a country house is doubly. We recommend that you get as much information as possible about construction technologies and features of private real estate (for example, on our website). Having the knowledge of what you should pay attention to when checking a house, you can protect yourself from acquiring an object with shortcomings, and save, according to various estimates, from 20 to 40% of the budget in the future, to eliminate them.

The order of building construction expertise at home

Specialists carry out a comprehensive inspection of the building, all supporting and enclosing structures, as well as utilities.

As part of the construction examination of a country house before buying, we:

  • examine the foundation of the object, determine its suitability for further operation,
  • check the integrity of the supporting structures,
  • inspect the windows and doors of the cottage for defects,
  • we inspect the integrity of the roof and gutter system using a quadrocopter,
  • determine the operability of water supply, sewage, electrics, ventilation,
  • We conduct a thermal imaging inspection of the house to identify hidden building flaws and check the heating system,
  • we check the quality of finishing work,
  • we check the level of electromagnetic radiation,
  • we check the level of radioactive radiation,
  • we conduct a water test according to 6 parameters,
  • make a list of all defects with recommendations for elimination,
  • We give an approximate estimate of the cost of eliminating the identified comments.

The presence of significant foundation defects can lead to the destruction of the entire structure and the unsuitability of the house for further operation. To eliminate the deficiencies of the foundation in most cases, complex and expensive work is required, and in some cases it is almost impossible to fix them. As part of the construction examination, when buying a house, specialists discover the consequences of design flaws, violations of the foundation laying technology and unprofessional construction work. A house check reveals an incorrect determination of the depth of the foundation, the distribution of the mass of the building, errors in the calculation of the bearing capacity, and a decrease in strength caused by the use of low-quality materials.

During the construction examination of the building envelope and load-bearing structures, our employees fix cracks on the walls and floors, the displacement of building elements. Such work allows us to find disadvantages that can lead to a decrease in the stability and stability of structures, operational characteristics of the building.

When inspecting windows and doors when checking a house before buying, we pay attention to the quality of installation and materials used, the integrity of the structures, the performance of the fittings, and the tightness of the glass. This makes it possible to identify deficiencies such as moisture condensation, freezing, blowing, drafts, warps and squeaking.

The quality of engineering systems to a large extent determines the convenience of a private house and even its suitability for normal use. When examining a house before buying, experts determine the technical condition of the equipment, its reliability and safety, identify emergency areas, places of leaks.

Thermal imaging is the most effective non-destructive method for detecting hidden object defects. Using special equipment, we check the quality of thermal insulation, find cold bridges, areas of moisture condensation, roof leaks, etc. You will learn about all the defects that can cause poor thermal insulation, destruction of building structures, mold formation, and increased costs for heating a house.

Based on the results of the inspection of the house before buying, the specialist draws up a report indicating all the defects identified. In addition, you get recommendations on how to eliminate the discovered shortcomings, as well as an approximate estimate of the cost of the necessary work.

At the request of the customer, we give arguments to the seller to reduce the value of real estate.

Terms and cost of building examination of a house before buying

Comprehensive examination includes examination of the cottage and oral counseling. According to the results of the construction examination of the house you will receive:

  • defective list, including a list of detected defects,
  • full consultation with recommendations to eliminate identified deficiencies,
  • a rough estimate of the cost of eliminating identified defects.

It takes an average of 2–4 hours to complete such a task. The defective list is filled in by the engineer at the inspection site. The cost of the service for houses with an area of ​​not more than 200 m² is 10,000 rubles.

What to look for when choosing a location

One of the first points that you need to pay attention to when choosing a home is the location. So, even if the house is suitable for the price, it may be too far away or in an unfavorable place.

That is why it is worth paying attention to such details:

  • Having a hospital is a vital point. If there is no hospital or first-aid post, be sure to check how quickly the ambulance arrives in good weather and during winter and off-season bad weather,
  • The presence of large enterprises nearby. On the one hand, the proximity of a farm or other enterprise is a plus, because there is an opportunity to get goods at a reduced price from the manufacturer, or to get a job not far from home. On the other hand, it is important to remember that the proximity of large enterprises affects the environmental situation and, as a result, health,
  • The presence of shops at least 5 km from the village. Even if you have a car, it is recommended to definitely clarify this point, so that after you do not have to forcefully switch to home-made products,
  • Distance to the nearest school and kindergarten. It’s worth considering this point even if there are no children at the time of acquiring a house, it’s better to think about this problem before it becomes acute,
  • The distance to the central routes - a remote place with clean air and environmentally friendly products is good, but sometimes it happens that you need to get into the city urgently. It is good when the weather outside is dry and the city can be reached in fifteen minutes, and much worse if there is a blizzard or heavy rain outside the window. In this case, there is a danger of being cut off from the city before the weather improves.

Before deciding that the house is definitely suitable for you, due to the low price or beautiful facade, it is worthwhile to study all the details in detail.

Otherwise, there is a danger of spending what you saved on a purchase for repairs, systematic payment of a taxi, or even treatment.

When is the best time to watch a house?

Despite the fact that in summer and spring it is most convenient to watch houses, because neither cold nor rain annoys, this is not the best time to purchase real estate.

The best time to explore the house is autumn.

It is during this period that the buyer has the opportunity to inspect the site before it is covered with snow and at the same time check the house for strength, if it is leaking.

Even if, after the autumn purchase of a house, problems are suddenly discovered, to demand compensation from the seller, according to the established laws, is easier in hot pursuit. This is another advantage of acquiring a home in the offseason.

No less attractive is buying in the winter, during the period of the largest real estate discounts. At the same time, the buyer has the opportunity to study the condition of roads in the village, to see for himself what awaits him. However, do not chase for discounts.

Buying a house at a reduced cost is a tempting prospect, however, in winter it is difficult to fully inspect the site, there is a danger in spring to discover not quite what you expected.

Very - the best time to inspect the house, when the buyer gets the opportunity to study it in the extreme conditions of the off-season.

Winter will please with discounts, but you should not chase after them, it is recommended to thoroughly inspect the house and the plot before giving money for it.

How to check the house before buying yourself

Before you buy something, you must definitely check it yourself, the house is no exception.

When inspecting real estate, it is recommended to pay special attention to a number of details:

  • For a wooden house, a quality indicator will be the level of wood drying, which can be determined using a moisture meter. Нормой клееного бруса является 16% влажности, а бревна или типичного бруса — до 20%. Почернение дерева — первый признак того, что древесина не была обработана специальными составами для ее укрепления и защиты от грибка и плесени,
  • Изучите канализацию, как минимум, слейте большое количество воды и определите, как быстро она уходит. At the same time, evaluate the condition of the pipes; moisture should not leak out on them. If you buy a house with a cesspool, do not forget about it. A pit is considered to be standard, 2.5 m long, 1 m wide and 1.5 m deep. The walls of the pit should be lined with stone, brick or filled with concrete,
  • Pay attention to the windows, try to open them easily, how durable the glass units are, and whether excess moisture is collected in the cameras,
  • Be sure to ask the hosts to turn on all systems (gas, electricity, water) for inspection. If the owner, for some reason, refuses to demonstrate something, be sure to remember this. There is a danger that in this way he wants to hide the problem from a potential buyer,
  • Open the doors, pay attention to how they move. If it’s tight and creak, the house didn’t shrink the best,
  • Examine the walls and floor, their evenness is an indicator of the quality of the structure as a whole. You can determine using a long ruler, if it does not fit snugly, bulges are noticeable, so the builders did not particularly try to make the building quality. It will not be superfluous to use the construction level. With curved walls or uneven parquet, the bubble in the level (spirit level) will go to the side, while normally it should be strictly in the middle,
  • Specify what scheme of water supply to the house, study the efficiency of the heating system.
  • First of all, you need to turn on the boiler and after half an hour touch the pipes in all rooms, to determine whether hot water flows everywhere. In the event that unscrupulous sellers did not drain the water for the winter, this will allow time to notice a leak in the pipes.
  • Examine the location of the vent valves in the batteries.

If after that everything suits you, you can proceed to the documentary level of the issue.

However, if at least one moment is wary, it is not recommended to rush, it is better to seek the advice of a specialist.

We check the condition of the premises and communications with the assistance of specialists

Not everyone can determine the quality of a building by eye. Often, even the house that the ordinary buyer liked when carefully examined by a specialist would be unsuitable for housing.

However, even if you can visually determine the quality of the building, it is not possible for a connoisseur to determine the state of communication.

It is for the latter that you need a person who understands the issue.

So, for example, the buyer in checking the gas will limit himself to turning on the boiler and stove, not going to study the features of connecting to a centralized gas supply. This opens up a wide field for scammers who can easily sell a house with gas cylinders dug into the ground under this guise.

Do not stumble over the fear of the high cost of expertise. Compared with the loss that the buyer will receive when buying a "substandard" building, the price is not so high and depending on the area can range from 100 to 200 dollars.

Thermal home inspection

But after just a few hours of inspecting the building and studying the drawings, the professional will be able to point out possible problems that an ordinary buyer would have missed.

If necessary, you can order a more in-depth check, but this will affect the price. In addition, experts can use destructive devices (digging out the foundation to study waterproofing), which not every home owner will allow and non-destructive ones (studying the voltage of reinforcement and concrete grade).

An equally common and important issue is the analysis of the safety of heat, which is impossible to carry out independently.

The expert will conduct an assessment visually or with the issuance of an energy passport, as a result of a detailed study.

In case you do not understand anything in construction, the help of specialists is simply irreplaceable. Without expert advice, there is a danger of getting a cat in a bag with all the ensuing expenses for troubleshooting.

Expertise at home before buying

Before leaving for a property inspection it is recommended to arm yourself with a camera, a plumb line, level and tape measure. This simple set is necessary during the initial inspection of the house.

It is not recommended to agree to a purchase before the site is fully tested. Ideally, it is recommended to turn to experts, but on the initial examination you can do it yourself.

So it is recommended to pay attention to such points:

  • Examine window sills, windows and doors for contamination with dry rot or termites,
  • Examine the condition of the roof and floor for signs of decay or infection by harmful insects,
  • Examine the sewer system (leaks, determine the date of the last cleaning) and the water supply system,
  • Inspect the access panel and wiring,
  • To study the strength of the annexes and the porch, specify whether there is a project on them,
  • Determine the condition of the heating system and especially boiler plants,
  • Inspect the driveway, determine the condition of the pavers,
  • If a specialist has been hired, do not rely solely on reports; go to check with him. Please clarify incomprehensible points and point out problems to you personally.

If defects were found during the inspection, it is not necessary to give up the house, if in general it suits you.

You can try to talk with the seller and offer to reduce the price. However, before starting the discussion and proposing a new price, be sure to calculate how much the repair will cost and focusing on this price, start the discussion.

What to look for when buying a house: the legal side of the issue, what documents will be required

If you liked the house, no flaws were found, you can proceed to the last and most important stage. Verification of documents. Despite the fact that this is the final stage, it is one of the most important and dangerous, therefore it is equipped with all possible attention and knowledge.

When checking documents, it is recommended to pay attention to such papers:

  • The act of putting the house into operation,
  • Building permit,
  • Certificate of state registration of ownership of land,
  • Spouse's permission to sell,
  • Certificate of state registration of ownership of the building,
  • Certificate of the number of people registered.

What you need to check when buying a house with a plot of land, we watch the video:

However, it is important to consider that the complete list of required papers may vary depending on the type of house, size of the plot, and many other points.

Of course, if the transaction is carried out with the help of a realtor, all the paperwork falls on him, but it is better to be safe again.

In order to protect yourself in the future it is recommended:

  • Contact the Land Administration in order to compare the size of the plot and its registration at a specific address,
  • Pay particular attention to whether the size of the parcel that was issued for the securities matches the size of the parcel that is presented to the buyer. This will help to notice in time whether a part of the site is not self-captured. If the size of the allotment presented is larger than the size of the plot in the documents, it is better to refuse to conclude a contract of sale,
  • Be sure to pay attention to the history of the building, its sales and other transactions related to this property. These contracts can be found in the BTI. In general, all contracts of sale must be recorded in the bureau as confirmed, but it is better to play it safe. In the event that one of the transactions was once carried out by persons not having the right to sell, all subsequent transactions are invalid. If you are not a connoisseur, it is recommended not to check it yourself, but through a real estate agency,
  • Determine whether there are boundary disputes with neighbors. Ask the neighbors, contact the village council, measure the distance from the house to the existing borders and check the distance with the provided territory plan. If necessary, ask the seller to provide documents with clear boundaries of allotments from the Central Land Cadastre,
  • Using the notary register, check if there is an arrest on the house, if the premises are pledged and if the debt is hanging on it. Such points should be clearly defined when concluding a contract of sale,
  • Demand the simultaneous execution of several separate sales contracts. This will help protect yourself from the danger of getting a house in the land sold to another person, on which it is located,
  • Pay attention to the design documentation for the house, engineering systems, contracts with communication providers. Be sure to check the BTI data sheet to determine the presence of illegal alterations.

We offer you to watch a video on how to check the house before buying

If the documentation is normal - you can proceed with the transaction. It is important to remember that the work done is not a waste of time, but reinsurance, which will help you sleep in new housing more comfortably.

Real estate acquisition is a responsible process that requires a lot of time.

It is important to pay attention to the appearance, devote time to documentation and, if necessary, turn to experts for help.

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