Is it safe to buy an apartment in Ukraine through a realtor?

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Legal support of real estate transactions and legal advising
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When considering a real estate purchase, your journey typically starts with property hunting. You naturally seek transaction security and a seamless property search.

Property searches are usually made easier through real estate agents or agencies. They offer property information, seller or developer details, transaction coordination, meetings, and may even promise verification. It all seems official, with a signed contract, and the work is usually well done.

However, real estate agents do not ensure the safety of the transaction, and, what's more, they do not guarantee it. While diligent real estate agents may review some information and possibly assist in the transaction, their involvement is generally superficial. Are they accountable for undisclosed information concerning the deal? No, and this is usually detailed in the contract you sign when availing of their services.

With many years of experience in real estate transactions, we have developed the perfect combination for our clients to ensure a genuinely secure and comfortable property purchase – the collaboration of a real estate agent and a specialized attorney.

The participation of an attorney in such a project is essential. To guarantee the safety of the transaction, one must be familiar with the internal Ukrainian registries, information sources, and have a solid grasp of Ukrainian laws to identify any breaches by the seller. It's also advisable to involve a reputable notary who can examine the complete history associated with a specific property, helping to make the right choice.

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What to Expect from a Real Estate Agent and Attorney When Searching for Real Estate in Ukraine?

A real estate agent will find a property that meets your requirements in terms of size, location, price, and other features. They will negotiate with the seller regarding the price, arrange meetings, and oversee the transaction process. They might even obtain certificates confirming the absence of utility payment arrears, which is crucial for property purchases and could save you money.

What are the responsibilities of an attorney?

First and foremost, they will verify the title documents, examine the property's history, and assess potential transaction risks. Often, hidden within the property's history or land plot are facts that can lead to unfavorable outcomes, such as the loss of acquired property.

During the property inspection and history review, the attorney will engage a trusted notary to acquire comprehensive and in-depth information, providing you with the right recommendations.

The attorney is the one who will determine the legality of the seller's property ownership, uncover any ongoing legal disputes or criminal cases, and, if necessary, scrutinize the documents for utility connections (in the case of new construction).

He will also help secure the property from encroachments, which is particularly relevant in modern conditions. For example, if one of the spouses is selling the apartment, the other should provide notarized consent. If the seller's relatives are listed as residents, it's advisable for the owner to have them removed from the registration before finalizing the purchase agreement. In other case, you may face legal proceedings, as the registered individuals have rights to the property.

Additionally, the attorney will calculate the taxes that need to be paid and advise on potential exemptions applicable to your situation.

A meticulous review and precise examination of the real estate transaction guarantee that you fully comprehend the transaction terms and safeguard yourself against unforeseen complications, a task that only an attorney can expertly handle.

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How Does the Real Estate Purchase Process Work with a Real Estate Agent and a Lawyer?

Let's examine a specific scenario: a legal entity has identified a piece of land at an advantageous price. The legal documents are in order, correct, and the process of obtaining them (in other words, the history) appears to be transparent and legally sound, with no apparent hindrances.

However, the right to the land is based on an outdated government document. The land has not been recorded in the state land cadastre, and its boundaries have not been defined. The subsequent procedure for registering the land in the cadastre and assigning it a cadastral number may seem straightforward and comprehensible.

Fortunately, no impulsive decisions were made, and they wisely turned to a lawyer. After conducting detailed inspections, the lawyer discovered that a portion of the land, precisely half of it, was situated on the "railroad track" territory, making it illegal to transfer into private ownership. Errors, whether deliberate or inadvertent, had occurred in the past during the property rights documentation.

Considering that Ukrainian Railways is actively inventorying lands under its administration, the buyer could have faced significant losses in the short term without the lawyer's assistance. Identifying this risk would have been extremely challenging or even impossible without legal expertise.

Another notable case involves an architectural monument.

A legal entity had planned to purchase a house in the center of Kharkiv. They engaged a realtor who conducted a review of the property's documents and the land beneath it. No doubts or suspicions arose.

Given the property's value and location, the buyer wisely decided to involve a lawyer, a choice that proved to be the right one. It turned out that this property held the status of a locally recognized architectural heritage site. As such, it was subject to a set of usage restrictions outlined by its historical significance and legal provisions.

Real estate agents and lawyers are not interchangeable. However, when they collaborate, each one fulfills their specific functions, ultimately providing you with guarantees.

We don't just help you swiftly and stress-free property selection in Ukraine through collaboration with trustworthy real estate agents. We also conduct a thorough property evaluation. Following this, we offer comprehensive legal support for the transaction and preparing property ownership documentation.

We have reliable partners among real estate agents and notaries, which saves you the time and effort of searching for them.

Our services offer a "turnkey" solution for property search and acquisition:

  • Consultations on the property selection and acquisition process in Ukraine.
  • Assistance with obtaining a taxpayer identification number (if required), translating your passport in Ukraine, and preparing the necessary documents for the transaction.
  • The services of a trusted real estate agent who will locate properties to match your criteria.
  • A comprehensive examination of the property and the seller.
  • Support in finalizing the property purchase agreement in Ukraine.
  • Facilitating the issuance of a property ownership certificate in Ukraine.

You can find the pricing for our real estate transaction support services here. We can customize a personalized service package based on your specific needs.

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Publication date: 11/01/2022

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