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Thread: Property Inspectors? & Buying a House in General

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    Property Inspectors? & Buying a House in General

    Is there any thing equivalent to a property inspector here in Russia? My wife and sister-in-law are insisting that buying a house is a huge risk, because you don't know what problems the house may have. I explained that the same risks exist for an apartment, and even in Awesome America there are such risks, which is why you have a property inspector (usually, in fact, required by the bank) who looks for these big problems (termite damage, mold, leaking or cracked foundation, leaking roof, etc.). They of course can't guarantee they've found all possible problems but in sales contacts there's usually a clause for XX days that you can cancel the sale if big, material problems are found.

    Anyway, does anyone know if a service like this exists in Moscow? I'm seeing houses for under 5 mil that are 40-60km from MKAD and the Russians are telling me this is all impossible, these houses probably have problems in the construction or the paperwork, and that I need to remove my American hat and understand that I'm in Russia.
    I am fascinated by Russia, this country with frigid weather, hard souls, and hot girls!

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    Quote Originally Posted by nicklcool View Post
    Is there any thing equivalent to a property inspector here in Russia? My wife and sister-in-law are insisting that buying a house is a huge risk, because you don't know what problems the house may have. I explained that the same risks exist for an apartment, and even in Awesome America there are such risks, which is why you have a property inspector (usually, in fact, required by the bank) who looks for these big problems (termite damage, mold, leaking or cracked foundation, leaking roof, etc.). They of course can't guarantee they've found all possible problems but in sales contacts there's usually a clause for XX days that you can cancel the sale if big, material problems are found.

    Anyway, does anyone know if a service like this exists in Moscow? I'm seeing houses for under 5 mil that are 40-60km from MKAD and the Russians are telling me this is all impossible, these houses probably have problems in the construction or the paperwork, and that I need to remove my American hat and understand that I'm in Russia.
    PRACTICALLY there is no such organisation in Russia. certain things like paperwork and the likes you can find out here.https://rosreestr.ru/site/
    but for checking out a building as such, the best way is to have or find a person who knows about construction and constructing.
    it might be also a good idea to have friends at the FSB (no typo and no BS) who will check out the owner, if there is an uncle in the USA or elsewhere, is registered there but the seller keeps quiet about it....
    5 million is a real price if these houses are ready and standing. and depends obvious on the size of the house.or is it just a piece of land with some fancy advertising billboards on every corner? BUT do you have utilities connected already? water, gas, telephone, internet, electricity, sewage? or do you have to do this all yourself. do you have a road constructed or just a gravel - trapinki-? is or are these houses standing somewhere alone in the - Taiga-? or is it somewhere right in the middle of a place and you have to construct the road yourself to get there ? houses in Russia are mostly constructed without a basement. is at least the fundament done SOLID? what about drainage around the palce when there is heavy rain? after the snow starts to thaw? 350 kgr minimum, better 450 kgr per sqm2 roof, that is the load of SNOW it should be able to carry. this i believe is somewhere in the building codes.I do not know where you live but check out these big building shopping centers, Kashirka 1 and 2. opposite AUCHAN out here in Strogino or many other similar places. where they have ready show houses. where you also can see how they are being constructed.
    check out also here, it is russian language, Google chrome will translate. just to give you an idea..https://www.avito.ru/moskva/doma_dac...edzhi?s_trg=11
    but most of all, NEVER buy anything unseen. do not believe fancy advertising and snake oil selling salesmen.
    There is no greater treasure then pleasure....

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    Thank you for the great info, Benedict! Here's an example of one of the places I've found, on Cian, which as I understand is more or less of a trustworthy site (harder to put up fake ads on, I guess because you have to pay for the ads, unlike on avito)
    https://www.cian.ru/sale/suburban/172474220/

    From what I gather so far, the trick in these low, low prices is:

    1. Ugly water and electric lines that are on the inside of rather than behind the walls
    2. Maybe the number of kilowatts of electricy provided isn't enough to reasonably cover all of your electric needs (I've seen anywhere from 9 to 12)
    3. The appliances and hardware provided are very basic (standing only shower, cheap toilet, cheap sink, etc.), but that's a given
    4. The distance is very far from Moscow (but this again is a given, as you move closer to Moscow either the price goes up, size of house and lot go down, or quality of renovation goes down, or all four!)
    5. Some of the places don't allow registration (that propiska thing), they're SNT's or whatever, but this place and quite a few others are INZH's.
    6. Maybe the septic system is weird, like you'll spend a ton emptying the thing out all the time.
    7. Maybe it's really expensive to hear the place, since you pay for all has usage vs. the absurdly low, flat-rate gas fee for an apartment, in its condo fee


    Of course, my sister-in-law is giving me all kinds of horror stories (the foundation is crap and water will seep in and cause condensation and mold, the paperwork won't be in order, etc. etc.), and my wife thinks it's too risky to try to purchase a house (vs. an apt.)...SiL even said you should physically monitor the building process as it occurs, to make sure you aren't tricked!!
    ....so I'm trying to separate the clucking from the reality!!

    These house ads on Cian do surprise me in that unlike in the US they mention all these details about the building materials, septic and heating systems, etc. But I'm still really excited about living in a bigger place, a house, for the same cost or less as a chicken coop 2room apartment that's closer to Moscow.!

    So, if any of you have been through the buying or building process of your own home, I'd be really grateful to hear your thoughts! Thank you!!
    I am fascinated by Russia, this country with frigid weather, hard souls, and hot girls!

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    6. Maybe the septic system is weird, like you'll spend a ton emptying the thing out all the time.
    Once a year, about 2000ru. that's if it's a decent septic.


    1. Ugly water and electric lines that are on the inside of rather than behind the walls
    Go for heated floor system, hides all the pipes, and is nicer to walk on. If you plan on living all year round, I strongly recommend a fireplace, this can also warm up the house and not rely too much on the gas, plus it's a nice thing to have. Gas isn't that cheap these days.

    7. Maybe it's really expensive to hear the place, since you pay for all has usage vs. the absurdly low, flat-rate gas fee for an apartment, in its condo fee
    For the one in the links 160 m, my guess would be between 12 to 15000ru(maybe more) a month in bills in winter months, much less when it's warmer, it all depends how well the house is insulated, if you're going to buy it ready like in the link, then you don't know how well the walls and roof are insulted, how much heat loss there will be. A good idea when buying such a house is check it out in winter.

    4. The distance is very far from Moscow (but this again is a given, as you move closer to Moscow either the price goes up, size of house and lot go down, or quality of renovation goes down, or all four!)

    Like Benedikt said, depends what's nearby , is there a train platform, do you drive, are there any shops,schools.

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    Look at how thin the walls are. How could there be any amount of insulation? It's a dacha in the middle of nowhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nicklcool View Post
    Is there any thing equivalent to a property inspector here in Russia? My wife and sister-in-law are insisting that buying a house is a huge risk, because you don't know what problems the house may have. I explained that the same risks exist for an apartment, and even in Awesome America there are such risks, which is why you have a property inspector (usually, in fact, required by the bank) who looks for these big problems (termite damage, mold, leaking or cracked foundation, leaking roof, etc.). They of course can't guarantee they've found all possible problems but in sales contacts there's usually a clause for XX days that you can cancel the sale if big, material problems are found.

    Anyway, does anyone know if a service like this exists in Moscow? I'm seeing houses for under 5 mil that are 40-60km from MKAD and the Russians are telling me this is all impossible, these houses probably have problems in the construction or the paperwork, and that I need to remove my American hat and understand that I'm in Russia.
    Can I ask what you're looking for? A dacha to spend weekends at? A place to live? A place just for summer and long weekends/holidays?

    Because it matters a lot. especially, location. I took a look at the advert - my reaction is, the location looks like an empty field, probably where there was a factory or a selkhoz. Location matters probably most for those things.

    But: yes, there are places for not much money, especially further out. That place doesnt look so very bad construction wise, maybe not great, but passable. But it wouldn't matter to me except for location.

    Inspection: there is no service as thorough as what is in north america to check all things. Your best bet is to find a construction or handyman who has built his own places that can take a look. If you buy through a bank, you will get a property inspection, they look for legal aspects mostly, and that the place roughly is worth what you're paying - they won't tell you it's a good deal or that the place won't cost you another 3 million rubles in 6 months if something turns out to be badly done, just that it likely won't collapse and legal risks are not excessively high. (i.e. title is basically okay).

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    Quote Originally Posted by nicklcool View Post
    1. Ugly water and electric lines that are on the inside of rather than behind the walls
    May be ugly but simple and basically effective and not expensive. That's part of the price. Easier to repair.

    2. Maybe the number of kilowatts of electricy provided isn't enough to reasonably cover all of your electric needs (I've seen anywhere from 9 to 12)
    You can check - but you don't need a big service if heated by gas.

    4. The distance is very far from Moscow (but this again is a given, as you move closer to Moscow either the price goes up, size of house and lot go down, or quality of renovation goes down, or all four!)
    That's the biggest issue. In looking, try to figure out location and narrow down from there.

    6. Maybe the septic system is weird, like you'll spend a ton emptying the thing out all the time.
    If it's a true septic with a drain field, emptying out once a year or so, not expensive. Some places refer to septics but actually just a cistern (tank) that needs to be emptied every time full - not so very expensive but a pain in the arse and you can't just leave it be - if it overflows, the place is covered with unpleasant stuff.

    7. Maybe it's really expensive to hear the place, since you pay for all has usage vs. the absurdly low, flat-rate gas fee for an apartment, in its condo fee
    Gas is hardly free, but not very expensive. The difference between heating with gas and electricity is enormous here. Oh, if it doesn't have gas, getting it costs up to a million or so rubles and takes forever and huge paperwork/running by instantsiya.

    f course, my sister-in-law is giving me all kinds of horror stories (the foundation is crap and water will seep in and cause condensation and mold, the paperwork won't be in order, etc. etc.), and my wife thinks it's too risky to try to purchase a house (vs. an apt.)...SiL even said you should physically monitor the building process as it occurs, to make sure you aren't tricked!!
    There are issues but they can be managed. Keep in mind, if you buy a plot of land, you can build a decent place for 5million to 10 million rubles - nothign too fancy, but decent. (That's a separate pain, mind). Cheaper if you really want.

    So, if any of you have been through the buying or building process of your own home, I'd be really grateful to hear your thoughts! Thank you!!
    Have bought a place outside moscow and glad we did. Location most important. We looked at building and kind of wish we had, but sure that if we had done, we'd be complaining aobut that. Prices outside Moscow have come down tremendously. There are plenty of options.

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    A few comments on that place in the links: overall it's a simple design, not fancy, but pretty serviceable. (What would you want at that price?)

    -I can't tell how thick the walls are. That matters less than what they're made of. Thickness of inside walls is irrelevant.
    -The ad says 'brus', that doesn't tell you much ('beams'). There is a type of dried, pressed, treated beams that are quite dense and - crucially - fit together well so should be fairly air-tight and not settle or change shape much as they dry. Supposedly if done right and with quality materials, not bad for insulation and heating (but how do you know?). I don't have much experience with it though. But if they weren't dried right, problems will come up later.
    -I will say this: it's a local technology and builders mostly know it.
    -From a bit of experience: I'd be very careful about buying places with typical north american construction (wood frame, mineral wool insulation). Done right, it works fine - done badly, or with shortcuts, or leaving out key bits, or installed by crews without much experience - you end up with a very, very mediocre house insulation wise (and that may need repairs later on).

    Short form: a place built well with a less-than-perfect technology will do better than the best technology badly done, and builders have their comfort zones. (That said, there are some technologies that are harder to screw up...)

    The rest of that place - I'd want someone to look at the roof. If there's anyplace you want extra and extra-effective and not screwed up insulation, it's the roof. Having the second-floor living area be right under roof is nice for use of space, but comes at a cost. You don't want roof/ice problems. On the plus side, the roof is simple lines without nice-looking but problematic features like skylights, dormers, etc; snow and ice and rain shouldn't accumulate much.

    And just as important: heat rises and every recommendation about how to insulate a house emphasizes, most of the heat loss is from the roof. If they were cutting corners, it'd be there.

    I like the idea of heated floors but it can be expensive. For that specific place, looks like it's raised over an empty crawlspace, insulating/checking under that ground floor may be possible, hopefully it's not cement floor with flooring over it.

    That heating system: it may (just may) be a bit short of radiators to heat that place. But it's such a simple system with pipes accessible, adding more rads wouldn't be complicated.

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    Heated floor system can be expensive, however, in the long run it could save you money on bills. It's best to do heated floor at the beginning, fill in the crawlspace or just put down one big cement block foundation,which isn't cheap to do....
    Foundation piles is cheaper, to block any heat loss, put down good rock wool, or there is this spray foam,
    at 1 min 43 sec in the video, you can see the spray foam in the walls, the other is rock wool (pink) ..



    Like Wally said about the walls, howl do you know the insulation in the wall is done properly and which material used. This is all hidden works, you got to be careful....

    How about looking into buying a town house, where they are all built more or less the same ,semi detached house.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Judge View Post
    Like Wally said about the walls, howl do you know the insulation in the wall is done properly and which material used. This is all hidden works, you got to be careful....
    I believe the technology in this place is manufactured beams - it's not just wood beams, but also (usually) not insulated separately. (It can be done after, if really needed, but not what's planned).

    These 'brus' are basically solid manufactured wood, i.e. made from other wood, dried, glued, cut, pressed, etc. They are much denser than just wood beams. Additional insulation supposedly not required, I think it's a finnish tech but not sure.

    The main feature of these things is thickness - 15-20cms of this stuff. Fit together better than solid wood because manufactured, should not settle / warp like real wood. So main thing is if the beams are manufactured properly - key part of which is drying. I wouldn't know how to check the quality.

    If thick enough, doesn't necessarily need additional insulation - obviously also if all air gaps dealt with (which there should be few of).

    I'm not trying to sell it, just noting the technology is different. Friends have it and like it, but I don't know more than that about real world use.

    The video above is mostly wood frame - good if well done, can be done badly.

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    Note: the pressed manufactured beams are I think in English called glulams (glued laminated wood or something like that) but not certain. And it's supposed to be called an 'engineered' wood product.

    20 cm thick should have comparable insulation capacity to a typical wood framing with rockwool etc. But in my view the wood-framed / insulation between studs is far more susceptible to bad installation.

    The issues with wood framing/rockwool type insulation:
    -rockwool etc are not good at stopping air, so depends how well the air sealing is on outdoor walls.
    -rockwool starts to sag and deform and gets progressively less insulating if wet.
    -They don't just get wet from water getting in, but vapour getting in and not getting out. Complicated topic, but short form, it doesn't work the way you think - it has to both keep water out but also let the materials breathe. Easy to screw up if water/vapour barriers done wrong.
    -The rockwool rolls have to be installed carefully - 'just right'. Classic mistake is for them to be jammed in by guys thinking more is better, but that deforms and compresses them, and actually makes them less stable and effective.
    -Likewise if installed loose, they're not insulating at the sides, and they'll sag down in the cavities, leaving huge gaps in insulation.
    -The framing parts of the wood can be heat bridges, bringing cold straight in, in certain circumstances. There are ways to control this but also require skill.
    -Drywall over top of this to living areas - the standard - rarely very tight, and then holes for calbes and pipes and whatnot, so if any airgaps to outside or loose construciton or settling over time that opens things up, even a little, lots of room for cold to get in.

    A lot of these problems won't be seen or felt until 5-10 years after the wood frame house is built. Then it's a royal pain to fix.

    The video above has spray foam followed by rockwool - a good way to stop the air penetration from outside. I bet most builders don't do this.
    Last edited by Armoured; 12-02-2019 at 16:22.

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    Every house I ever built we put tar paper on the outside and wood shingles over that. Keep the wooden walls from getting wet. As far as Rockwool insulation we used a staple gun and stapled it, that's what the extra folded paper on the edges is for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Wally View Post
    Every house I ever built we put tar paper on the outside and wood shingles over that. Keep the wooden walls from getting wet. As far as Rockwool insulation we used a staple gun and stapled it, that's what the extra folded paper on the edges is for.
    Where was this?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Armoured View Post
    Where was this?


    New England, 35 or more years ago. I was 13 the first time I got a job building homes. So 1976. Worked off and on in construction until I came to Russia and I have done some remont for friends here too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Wally View Post
    New England, 35 or more years ago. I was 13 the first time I got a job building homes. So 1976. Worked off and on in construction until I came to Russia and I have done some remont for friends here too.
    Probably had a good crew. Reality is that whatever local builders know for local conditions is the lowest risk. My experience - wood frame just isn't as well known here. Maybe over-generalizing a bit, but europe mostly doesn't do forced air, large parts of north america don't do hydronic systems (radiators). (That said, I think Russians are crazy-mad for brick and concrete - sometimes local solutions used to be good for some specific reasons, and later people realise they make no sense)

    Other issue is, building tech has actually changed a lot in last 20-30 years or so in particular. Measure the old wood frame houses, turns out they're not as well insulated as everyone thought. Some of those changes mean other things start acting differently. Make a house 'tighter' (air-wise) for energy efficiency, fresh air starts being a problem, things like that.

    Also different prices for everything.

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