How apartment buyers are being deceived now

Real estate market

  • Realtors
  • Purchase and sale

Published on the website: July 17, 2008 12:03 Publication in the newspaper: No. 29 (704) dated July 17, 2008
Do you want to buy, exchange, sell an apartment or make some other transaction in the real estate market? There is absolutely no time to do this on your own. Decided: contact a real estate agency. There you will definitely be offered to enter into some kind of written agreement for the provision of services, confirming the seriousness of your relationship. That's what we'll talk about today. How to come to an agreement so that later you won’t be offended by annoying mistakes?

We agree

About what

An agreement with a real estate agency is the main document regulating the relationship between the client and the company. What must be written there, and what should you pay special attention to when concluding it?

1. Name of the parties. 2. Subject of the agreement. 3. Obligations of the parties. 4. Responsibility of the parties. 5. Cost of services and payment procedure. 6. Procedure for terminating the contract. 7. Deadlines for fulfilling obligations. 8. Additional terms.


The preamble of any agreement indicates the parties between whom it is concluded. One party is the recipient of real estate services (usually called the Customer). The second party that will provide these services is a real estate agency (“Contractor”). Let's say services are provided by . Make sure whether she has the right to carry out real estate activities - whether she has a certificate of conformity, a certificate of state registration.

The details of the parties must also be carefully spelled out. Some agencies ask you to provide your TIN and email address. This is a normal request. Take it easy. It is also important to know the authority of the person entering into the contract on behalf of the company.

A comment

Veronika Pankova, general director of the Penaty real estate agency, chairman of the committee for protecting the rights of consumers of real estate services of the Moscow Association of Realtors (MAR):

– In a certified company, the circle of people who have the right to sign an agreement and accept obligations on behalf of the agency is limited. Typically, these are either its executives, such as the CEO, president, or agents holding personal brokerage cards, or some other person under a power of attorney. If a person acts on the basis of a power of attorney, there is nothing wrong with asking to see this power of attorney or a copy of it and attaching it to the agreement.

How to check the reliability of a realtor?

What you need to do to check the reliability of a real estate agency:

  1. Order an extract from the Unified State Register of Legal Entities. A good company works officially. If it is not registered with the Federal Tax Service, there is a risk that they are black realtors.
  2. Check registration in the Unified Register of Realtors. Licensing is now voluntary, and having a license increases the chance that the agency is operating properly.

The most important point is the content of the contract. The relationship between the client and the realtor depends on him. It is worth paying attention to the agent’s responsibility: if it states that he is not responsible for the consequences of the transaction, while providing legal support, it is better to refuse cooperation with him.

Are you entitled to a tax deduction when buying an apartment?

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Subject of the agreement

The subject of the contract is what the parties agreed on. For example, a client wants to sell his apartment and buy another. This means that this is precisely the condition that must be indicated in the contract: sale with further purchase. And then the agency is really responsible for both sales and purchases.

Or the agency undertakes to provide any real estate service: find a buyer for an existing apartment, select an apartment for its subsequent purchase by the client, find a suitable option for exchanging housing, or provide legal or other support for the transaction, etc. All this must be clearly stated , the full range of services related to these obligations.

Thus, a correctly formulated subject of the contract will allow the client to clearly define the scope of the agency’s responsibilities.

Everything should be reflected in more detail in the obligations of the parties.

Termination of an agreement

The client may at any time refuse to fulfill the contract, subject to payment to the agency as the executor of the expenses actually incurred by him. However, refusal of both the client and the realtor to fulfill the contract is possible only until the deadline for fulfilling the relevant obligations. Otherwise, the client must pay for the part of the service that he used.

Amendments and termination of the contract are possible by agreement of the parties. It is important to indicate in the contract in what cases and on what grounds the parties can terminate the contract, what consequences arise, whether penalties are provided for and, if so, which ones.

A comment

Veronica Pankova:

Often, some “horror stories” can be hidden in these conditions. There are companies that enter into very competent contracts, but there may be, for example, a phrase hidden there that if the contract is terminated at the client’s initiative, he is obliged to pay a fine of 5-10 thousand dollars. They signed it and forgot about it. For some reason, the client gets nervous, comes to the agency and states that he wants to terminate the contract. That’s when penalties arise, which he managed to forget about or didn’t know about at all, because he didn’t read the contract carefully.

Realtor's responsibility

The realtor's responsibility for the purity of the transaction occurs only if an agreement has been concluded with him for legal support of the transaction, or this service is specified in the real estate contract. In practice, this is extremely rare.

Real estate activities are subject to the Consumer Protection Law. Specifically in Art. 29 states that a client who has received a poor-quality service has the right to demand:

  1. Free troubleshooting.
  2. A proportionate reduction in the cost of work.
  3. Reimbursement of expenses incurred by him due to the elimination of deficiencies.

Thus, if the transaction is disputed by a third party, and the realtor is responsible for the legal purity of the contract, it is possible to recover from him the cost of his services. The cost of the apartment paid to the seller is usually collected from him.

There is one more point - certification. Until 2002 it was mandatory, now it is voluntary. If the agency is listed in the Guild of Realtors and has received a license, and the contract specifies responsibility for legal purity, it will be easier to collect compensation from it.

There are other options:

  1. The notary bears responsibility if the contract must be certified by law.
  2. The insurer is responsible if the buyer purchased loss of title insurance.
  3. The registrar who made the record about the previous owner is responsible if the buyer loses the property.

To recover compensation, you will have to go to court, but you can try to resolve the problem peacefully by filing a pre-trial claim.

Do you need a purchase and sale agreement?

We’ll show you how to draw up a contract correctly and avoid mistakes.

Responsibility of the parties

This clause does not apply to mandatory conditions. Although it is very important. The responsibility of the parties must, first of all, correspond to the obligations and advertising promises of the real estate company. And if a company guarantees something and does not do it, then it must be held responsible. For example, a company in an advertisement guarantees that it will insure the transaction, which means this should be stated in the contract. Or he publicly promises that if the client loses ownership of the purchased property, he will pay the full cost of the apartment - and this should also be reflected in the contract.

Or simply in case of failure to fulfill obligations, such and such liability arises. It can be material, in the form of payment of funds. Or compensation - in the form of providing free services. For example, services in the rental market. Let's say the advertisement promises: if a person moves into an apartment found by the company, and the contract is terminated early for some reason, the company will select another apartment for free. And this should be reflected in the contract.

Where to complain if there is a conflict with an agent

1. To the management of the company, and if they don’t understand, to the company’s conflict commission, which necessarily exists in all certified companies. By the way, the presence of such a procedure in a company is one of the signs of reliability.

2. To the Committee for the Protection of the Rights of Consumers of Real Estate Services of the Moscow Association of Realtors (tel. 786-76-90).

3. To a court of general jurisdiction or an independent Arbitration Court of real estate market participants. To apply to the Arbitration Court, the consent of both parties to the conflict is required. The decision of the Arbitration Court has the same force as a decision of a court of general jurisdiction, but disputes are resolved faster and the fees are lower. The Moscow Association of Realtors also has such a court.


The contract in real estate activities is the basis of the fundamentals, but clients often sign this document without reading, completely relying on the integrity and competence of the company. But in vain. You can end up in an unpleasant situation. Therefore, the main advice: carefully read what you are offered to sign. You shouldn’t create a problem for yourself where it can be prevented. And if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask them. You can engage a lawyer you know as a consultant. Often agencies insist that the text of the contract they have is unchanged, but the client’s right is to conclude an agreement on terms that suit him. Or choose another agency.

Many agencies, after completing a transaction, withdraw the contract for the provision of services from the client. In this case, if problems arise, for example, during a trial, he is unlikely to be able to prove that he dealt with this particular agency and under what conditions.

Frankly about real estate

Tricks of realtors: the deal fell through - the agency does not respond?

Author: Source:
How to avoid pitfalls when concluding an agreement with intermediaries in the purchase and sale of housing, and not pay huge commissions for hack work? Together with the lawyers of the Confederation of Consumer Societies (ConfOP), we are analyzing the stories that happened to KP readers. Situation: When a guarantee... does not guarantee anything Our reader Dmitry S. talks about his troubles (let’s note right away: his case is not at all uncommon, many people end up like this, ConfOP confirms): - I contacted a large agency. We entered into an agreement on selecting an apartment (at least 5 options) and organizing the transaction. They immediately charged me half of the fee for the services, and in return issued a letter of guarantee: the agency would return the same amount if it did not fulfill its obligations. I liked the third apartment, and I signed the “Price Confirmation” document indicating my readiness to buy housing at the specified price. And soon it turned out that the seller was planning an alternative deal, it fell through, and therefore ours is covered. The realtor stated that the agency fulfilled its obligations, because I approved one of the apartments, and the company is not responsible for the fact that the seller refused... We studied Dmitry’s contract, the agency’s letters of guarantee and other documents with a well-known lawyer, member of the ConfOP board Diana SORK. Trick No. 1 What immediately catches your eye is how briefly and vaguely the contract concluded with Dmitry describes the housing the client needs. Agencies often use standard phrases, say: “One- or two-room apartment in the Moscow region at a price of up to 4 million rubles.” At the same time, the buyer has specific wishes for the area (Moscow region - near or far), type of house, number of floors, availability of infrastructure, etc. Realtors, on the other hand, give themselves a free hand: in words they promise to find what they need in all respects, but in fact, they may slip in several options that are obviously not suitable for the buyer. Unfortunately, it will not be possible to make a claim and get a refund for poor quality housing selection services: after all, the general conditions specified in the contract are observed. TIP: In as much detail as possible and be sure to indicate in writing the characteristics of the apartment you would like to buy - area, type of house, etc. You can list everything directly in the contract or in a special application for housing selection - an appendix to which a link is made in the contract. Do not trust standard short phrases combined with verbal promises from realtors.

Trick #2

When accepting money from a client, the agency issues a document with a respectable name - a “letter of guarantee”. It would seem that what is more reliable: realtors give a written guarantee that they will return the fee if they do not fulfill all obligations. Now let’s read the document carefully. “Literally, the letter does not speak about a REFUND of the money paid by the client, but about “PAYMENT of funds to the client” by the agency,” explains Diana Sork. Thus, the guarantee does not in any way confirm that the citizen paid for the services of realtors! Therefore, on the one hand, the client is deprived of the opportunity to get his money back - for example, in the event of early cancellation of the agency’s services. On the other hand, the company can generally feint its ears and... demand payment again. By the way, a letter of guarantee that does not mention the receipt of money from the client is an elementary way for an agency to evade taxes. TIP : Pay for the services of a real estate agency only if they issue you a financial document of strict accountability - a receipt or warrant. Such a document must indicate the fact of your transfer of funds and the basis: payment for the relevant services.

NOTE : The disadvantage of some large real estate agencies is standard contracts that are offered to all clients in a row. Moreover, as a rule, these documents have standard, very brief wording (what this entails - see “Trick No. 1”), and attempts to correct, clarify, or detail the contract are met with hostility by company employees. What to do : if they categorically do not want to change the agreement, insist that it simply make a reference to another document - an additional agreement, an appendix to the agreement. And already in this act, clarify your requirements.

Trick #3

The agency takes an advance for the apartment to transfer to the seller;
issues a receipt to its client-buyer as confirmation. The realtor fills it out on a form, although he doesn’t put a company stamp (end of the working day, didn’t have it at hand, etc.), but he “forms it out even more reliably” - he indicates in the receipt that he personally accepted the money, and conscientiously writes his passport details. The catch is that, firstly, the laconic receipt does not specify to whom exactly and for which apartment the money should be transferred: try later, the buyer, prove that he wanted to buy another home! Secondly, according to the receipt issued by the citizen-realtor on her own behalf, she is alone and must answer if anything happens. The agency doesn't appear here! So, if Tatyana Petrovna, who accepted the money, suddenly disappears - at least simply quits - then you will have to look for her on your own, but bribes from a real estate company are easy. TIP : In the receipt, receipts, any other documents issued to you by realtors, it must be indicated that all actions (selection of an apartment, acceptance of money, transfer of money to other persons, etc.) are carried out by the AGENCY represented by its employee - realtor, agent such and such.
Also, the basis must be indicated confirming the authority of a particular employee to take appropriate actions: as a rule, this is a power of attorney from the agency - its details are written, including the date of issue. If the action is performed directly by the general director of the agency - for example, concluding the main contract for the provision of services - then it is noted that he is acting on the basis of the constituent documents of the company (usually the charter of the LLC). Go to the forum “All about real estate”

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