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Checklist for the correct choice of an apartment
Checklist for the correct choice of an apartment

Before buying, evaluate an apartment according to 15 criteria and find out how much it corresponds to your ideas about the ideal home.

Checklist for the correct choice of an apartment
Checklist for the correct choice of an apartment

Before you negotiate with a realtor and go out to view the apartment, take note of a short list of what you should pay attention to. It's not just about the secondary housing market - many points can be applied when choosing an apartment in a new building.

Assess a new apartment on your own, setting a score from 1 to 10 for each item of the article, where 10 means that according to this criterion the housing fully meets your wishes, and 1 indicates obvious disadvantages that you are not ready to put up with.

We estimate the parameters of the apartment

1. Location and size of windows

The size and shape of the windows can vary significantly. Parameters such as the location of the windows depend on the project, house series, design features, climate, and so on. This can severely limit or, conversely, provide an opportunity for redevelopment if necessary.

For example, if there are several windows in the room and they are located at a distance of a meter or more from each other, you can divide the room into two so that each has a window.

If there is only one window, there are fewer opportunities to arrange a global redevelopment. This also applies to solid facade glazing from floor to ceiling. In this case, the breakdown into rooms is tied to vertical imposts located at a certain step.

The size of the window affects the natural illumination of the rooms, but the cardinal directions must also be taken into account. More about them in the next paragraph.

2. Apartment insolation and room orientation

According to the sanitary standards Sanitary rules and norms SanPiN 2.2.1 / "Hygienic requirements for natural, artificial and combined lighting of residential and public buildings", sunlight must enter the apartments for a certain time. This is called insolation. It is rather difficult to calculate insolation, since it is influenced by the geographic location, floor height, the number of rooms in the apartment, etc.

For our purposes, it is enough to take into account the duration of insolation, depending on the geographic location of the house:

  • North: two and a half hours or more per day from 22 April to 22 August.
  • South: one and a half hours or more per day from 22 February to 22 October.
  • Central: two or more hours a day from 22 March to 22 September.

The duration of insolation depends on the number of rooms:

  • If the apartment has up to three rooms, then insolation should be carried out in at least one room.
  • If an apartment has four or more rooms, then, respectively, two rooms.

The orientation of the rooms can be checked using the compass or the corresponding smartphone app. For example, in the European part of Russia, the bedroom, living room and nursery should face south, southeast or southwest. It is better to orient the office to the southeast, and the kitchen to the east, northeast or northwest. The orientation of the utility rooms is not important.

3. Bathrooms, plumbing fixtures and arrangement of risers

It is worth paying attention not only to the area of the bathroom, the type and location of plumbing equipment, but also to other technical points:

  • the presence of a hatch for access to the risers;
  • sufficient lighting of the bathroom;
  • method of connecting communications to plumbing fixtures (hidden or outside);
  • availability and operability of built-in equipment and fittings: mixers, thermostats, and so on.

Mark it as a plus if a water heater is installed in the apartment: it will be useful for the period when hot water is turned off. The bathtub wins in functionality compared to a shower enclosure or a cubicle. The heated towel rail is useful for everyone, especially for families with children. Bidet, window in the bathroom, rain shower and other features - your personal choice.

4. Condition of finishing and communications

This item will help you assess the wear and tear of finishing coatings: parquet, tiles, wallpaper, ceilings, doors and windows. It is important to pay attention to obvious defects such as cracks, chips, dents, stains, irregularities. Their elimination will clearly require investment, especially if deeper layers of finishing are affected, for example, a screed or plaster layer.

Looking into the plumbing cabinet, you can assess the condition of the risers of hot and cold water supply, as well as the sewage system: all pipes must be neatly connected, and there must be thermal insulation on the riser of hot water supply.

From the appearance of the exhaust grille in the bathroom or in the kitchen, it is often clear whether the natural ventilation system in the house is functional. A dirty, greasy grill indicates at least the need to check the system is working properly.

Electric wires and junction boxes in newly renovated apartments are mostly concealed and not visible from the outside. Automatic machines and an electric meter must be clean and in good working order, as well as neatly fixed in the electrical panel. External wiring along walls and ceilings is allowed only in special fixed cable ducts and away from wet areas: bathrooms and kitchens.

5. Availability and type of elevators

In the houses there are passenger (usually for 4 people) and cargo-passenger (for 8 people) elevators. The latter, as a rule, are found in modern buildings with a large number of apartments. Such an elevator eliminates the problems with lifting large-sized furniture, pianos, lengthy building materials, bicycles and strollers. It is very rare in architectural monuments in the historical center of the city that you can find an old-style elevator with hinged doors or an attached one - this option is less reliable than modern elevators.

Also pay attention to the manufacturing company: European elevators are usually more reliable and less noisy than Russian ones.

6. Ceiling height

The standard height of ceilings in apartment buildings ranges from 2, 5 to 3, 8 m and depends on the type and series of the house, design features and even the author of the project, if we are talking about an individual project of an architectural bureau. There are houses where the ceiling height can reach 4 or even 4.5 m, but this is a very rare case.

The higher the ceiling, the more the space of the apartment is perceived in terms of area and volume. In addition, in rooms with high ceilings, you can hang cascading chandeliers or multi-level lamps.

7. Balcony or loggia

When examining a new apartment, estimate in advance the arrangement of furniture on the balcony or loggia: here you can place a wardrobe, hang shelves or put a small sofa. If you work from home, you can organize a comfortable workplace in this area - there will definitely be no shortage of natural light. Or, perhaps, you just need to put a rocking chair and a few pots of flowers on the balcony.

It is not allowed to dismantle the balcony block and attach the balcony or loggia to the room. However, if you agree on the redevelopment, you can remove the window sill and mount the glazing with double doors. The loggia and the room will remain separate rooms, but this change will bring them together visually and add natural light to the room.

8. Mezzanines and built-in furniture

Built-in furniture and mezzanines are often elements of the layout of an apartment that are not easy to change. Pay attention to their configuration and condition. Newly assembled, without defects, with well-planned sections - they can be really useful to many. If the doors of the built-in cabinet do not close, the walls and facade are worn out, there are no fittings, then, obviously, dismantling and arranging a new cabinet in this place can be budgeted.

9. Layout

Pay attention to the number of rooms and other rooms. There should be exactly as many bedrooms as you need, children, parents or other family members who will live with you. Recently, not everyone needs a living room as a separate room. If the design features of the apartment allow, the living room can be combined with the kitchen-dining room. In this case, the area of this common area must be at least 16 m².

If the previous owners carried out redevelopment or reconstruction of the apartment, check if there is an order to agree on this layout and a new BTI plan. If the agreement is legalized and these documents will be provided to you upon request, then you will save yourself from difficulties in the sale, donation or other transactions with the apartment in the future.

10. Utility rooms

These can be pantries, dressing rooms. Their desired number and size depends on many factors: your lifestyle, storage habits, the size of your family. If you are planning to rebuild an apartment, then due to the utility rooms it is often possible to effectively enlarge the living room, bathroom or kitchen.

11. Width of aisles and doors

This item is relevant in the case when there will be no redevelopment and all rooms will remain in their existing form. Here you cannot do without measuring with a tape measure.

Furniture, household appliances, etc. are brought into the apartment through the aisles and doors. Having measured the width, compare the parameters with those specified in the norms SNiP 31-01-2003 "Residential apartment buildings": the width of the corridor from wall to wall should be 90-120 cm; the width of the light opening of the interior doors - 80 cm; doors to bathrooms and utility rooms - 60–70 cm; front door - 80–90 cm.

12. Design

If you are going to make repairs in the apartment that you are considering, then this criterion can be omitted. Otherwise, pay attention to the design, style, colors and décor, and how the different elements fit together. Think about how close the appearance of the apartment is to you and whether it satisfies your ideas about beauty.

13. Staircase and other common areas

The condition of wall, ceiling and floor decoration, lamps and stairs in common areas affects the cost of an apartment. No matter how expensive the decoration in the apartment is, if it is preceded by a dark staircase with a dilapidated floor and old stained walls, it will ruin the whole impression.

14. Location of the apartment on the floor and neighbors

Depending on the type and design of the house, the number of apartments per floor can affect the frequency of communication with neighbors. If there are only two apartments, including yours, then you will most likely run into neighbors infrequently. And if there are 6 or 8 of them on the site, then it is likely that this will encourage you to maintain good relations with all your neighbors. It is difficult to assess who they may be, even when you have been living in an apartment for several months. And even more so it is unrealistic to find out when watching. Take this into account and, if possible, make inquiries, talk with the residents of the entrance, the precinct, or get to know potential neighbors in person.

15. Concierge or security

This criterion is not the most important in evaluating an apartment. However, there are many real stories when a concierge or security guard remembered the signs of thieves, thanks to which they were able to find them, or gave the residents lost things or important information. Just keep this fact in mind, but don't make it the top priority.

Calculating the result

15 to 45 points

Most likely, this apartment is not suitable for you. Too many criteria do not correspond to your ideas and requirements, despite the fact that you also saw the advantages. Do not be discouraged - it is better to make sure of this at the stage when you are only considering options and have not yet had time to invest money in an unsuccessful apartment and get involved in the purchase process.

46 to 105 points

The higher the final score, the more the apartment suits you and your household. If he tends to the lower limit, this means that the apartment requires a lot of investment: time, effort and money. If you feel that this apartment is "yours" and your family can be happy in it, then feel free to get down to business. But keep in mind that you will have to work hard before you eliminate all the shortcomings and bring your new home to a harmonious state.

106 to 150 points

The apartment suits you as much as possible, you can consider buying it. Do not forget to make a list of the shortcomings that you have noticed, and discuss them in more detail with your family. Plan your next steps, take into account the involvement of specialists, the purchase of materials, equipment, furniture, and other expenses. This will help to sweep away all the unnecessary and form the final action plan and budget. Do not forget to include unforeseen expenses in it. And go for it!

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