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Find out about advantages and precautions when buying used property

Properties that are already inhabited usually have a lower price and greater margin for negotiation, but documentation and inspections require attention

Buying property is always a heavily evaluated topic. As it is a durable and costly good, the buyer must consider a number of details before opting for the purchase. When it comes to the purchase of used property – which usually attract the cheaper price compared to new ones and the larger space they offer –, adopting some specific precautions can make the transaction occur safely.

The first one concerns the conservation and technical aspects of the property. They are often old buildings, which may have deteriorated over time. When 52-year-old interior designer Paulo Brites went to buy the apartment where he now lives, the property was already over 50 years old and had problems caused by natural wear and tear. “Hydraulic columns had leaks, the electrical part was obsolete, the coatings were worn and there was a closet infested with termites,” he says.

Due to its privileged location in the central region and having an affordable sale price, Brites spared no effort to buy it and then renovate it. “I replaced the entire water pipe and installed a gas heater. I redid the electrical with new wires, circuit breakers, outlets and boards. I replaced the coverings, installed air conditioning and did joinery in every room. In other words, I only took advantage of the building’s bricks, but I was able to leave it to my liking”, he says.

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 “People adopt the strategy of renovating old buildings a lot. And the buyer now has a practically new house with comfortable areas and a central location. This is a logic that has happened a lot in São Paulo”, says Flávio Prando, Vice President of Real Estate Intermediation and Marketing at the Housing Union (Secovi-SP).

In case of interest in an old building, the guidance of specialists is that the future resident seek professional assistance at the time of the inspection. “Our suggestion is that people hire companies that carry out technical assessments. It is not an expensive value because of the benefit it can provide, in the sense of previously identifying any defects in the property and evaluating how much it costs to repair them. This, even, can be used in trading. When you have a technical report on the state of the property, you have better conditions to discuss prices”, says Prando.

Another cautionary target when buying used property has to do with documentation. Before purchasing the property, it is recommended that a series of documents be verified that will guarantee the legality of the property and the seller’s suitability. “It is necessary to carry out a survey before each public entity. They are fundamental documents for the buyer not to run any type of risk”, says Stephanie Gomes, a lawyer in the Real Estate Law department at Braga Nascimento e Zilio Advogados.

What documents to require:

1. Property registration, which must be up to date; can be verified at www.arisp.com.br

2. Clearance certificate of real estate taxes provided by the city hall

3. Declaration of non-existence of condominium debts, in case of apartment

4. Proof of IPTU paid until delivery of keys

5. Other certificates: Certificates attesting that the seller has no disputes in the civil, family and succession areas, that there is no execution in special courts, in the Federal Court, negative certificates of protest, labor debts and the Federal Revenue and that there are no labor lawsuit in progress

Documentation must be provided by the seller and it is the broker’s duty to advise the client on these issues. “According to article 723 of the Civil Code, he is responsible for clarifying all aspects of the transaction, under penalty of being liable for damages”, says the president of the Regional Supervisory Board of Professional Real Estate Brokers (Creci-SP), José Augusto Viana Neto. In the case of an apartment, it is also advisable to analyze the condominium agreement and check if the rules are in accordance with what the buyer wants.

The executive director of Rede Lopes, Matheus Fabrício, recalls that one of the main attractions of older properties is the space they offer. “Older buildings, in general, have larger plans, different environments. It’s an important differential.” On the other hand, the new owner may have to give up, for example, a leisure area in common areas.

The 40-year-old architect Lisandro Piloni chose an old apartment in Perdizes as his home. He and her husband were looking for different dimensions with good possibilities for changes in the layout. “Older properties have better resolved plans. We chose because of the footage and spacious environments”, says Piloni.

He completely renovated the 110 square meter building. Even so, the architect says that the costs were lower than if he had bought a new property. “To be able to pay what I paid for this used car, I would have to buy a 60 square meter apartment. And look over there.”

Regarding prices, real estate professionals reaffirm the price advantage. “The used one has a value lower than the launch value, because there was already depreciation”, says Fabrício. Prando also remembers that the value also varies according to the owner’s needs. “A lot of people need to sell to pay off debt.”

The lawyer Stephanie points out another attraction for the purchase of used property. “The best part is that they already did the test drive. So, anyone who has lived in the place can give a light if it’s really what you want”, he says. This was the main point that led nurse Maria do Carmo Ferreira, 55, to choose her apartment. “I like to see what is ready and feel myself inside it. On the plan, you can see the decorated, but leaving it that way is very expensive. So I preferred one that was ready because I already knew how to organize myself with what I wanted to put inside it.”

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Written by Shehryar Ahmed

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