How to choose an apartment in Ukraine for a foreigner to buy?

When buying real estate in Ukraine, you should first of all care about your safety: assess the reliability of the deal, check the documentation and reputation of the real estate developer, and the seller’s respectability.

Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to check the real estate on your own. You need to know what to look for, and where to find it. Need to know the list of internal Ukrainian registries, sources of information and be sound enough on the rules of Ukrainian law to see when they are violated by the seller.

We will not only help to find the necessary property in Ukraine quickly and without unnecessary stress, but also qualitatively check it, and then conduct a full legal support of the transaction and registration of ownership rights.

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Is it difficult to find an apartment for a foreigner to buy in Ukraine?

The main difficulties you will encounter when choosing an apartment in Ukraine are language barrier, ignorance of the local legislation and the so-called “procedures” as well as the lack of guarantees of the transaction security. The risks for non-residents are somewhat higher in the lack of understanding of the procedure, so we strongly advise against taking up such an important matter on your own, or making emotional decisions, but to think carefully.

Also, many non-residents do not want to spend much time in Ukraine at the stage of selecting housing - we often receive requests for assistance in selecting the property for a foreign buyer being abroad.

Choosing the desirable apartment can take a long time and staying in Ukraine without any special permit is only possible for a short period of time. Of course, we would like to save this time for signing the agreement, and not to spend money on entering and leaving the country.

So, in order to make a comfortable and safe choice of the apartment you need someone in Ukraine, who can ensure both criteria: security of a deal, comfort of searching. Realtors and agencies, of course, will find an apartment and support you until the execution of the transaction, but are they responsible for the failure to provide information on related information (arrests, risks, mortgages)? No, and this will be stipulated in the agreement which you will sign when you apply for the service.

We offer you legal services and a combination of lawyer + trustworthy realtor who will work under the supervision of a specialized lawyer. We are confident that this approach will provide you with a truly comfortable and secure real estate transaction in Ukraine.

Our services include search and purchase of real estate on a turnkey basis:

  • Consulting on the process of choosing and purchasing real estate in Ukraine;
  • Obtaining a taxpayer identification number (in case of absence);
  • Translation of the passport of a foreigner in Ukraine and preparation of documents for the deal;
  • Services of a trusted realtor who finds a property according to your criteria;
  • Full verification of the object and the seller of the property;
  • Legal support of execution of the agreement for purchase of the apartment in Ukraine;
  • Registration of the certificate of ownership for the apartment in Ukraine.

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What is the procedure of checking the apartment in a new building in Ukraine?

The purpose of the check is to minimize problems in the future. In short, buying a home without an inspection is a game of luck. Depending on whether it will be a primary or secondary purchase, the procedure is different. It cannot be argued that primary housing is safer than secondary housing, nor is it the other way around - everything will depend on the factors of such safety depending on the category of housing.

Given the number of real estate developers and high-rise buildings that are growing by leaps and bounds, housing in new buildings is actively advertised and seems very attractive. However, there are valid reasons that may not be in favor of buying housing in a new building:

  • Real estate developers sometimes do not complete construction because of real or fabricated financial problems, or simply delay all possible processes for many years;
  • The date stated as the commissioning date is not always respected, deadlines are violated;
  • The building may be built in conflict with construction norms, which is partially or fully not subject to correction;
  • There are complicated schemes of disposal of housing in which apartments are sold for 2-3 times to different people, which is revealed only at the registration of ownership rights;
  • Sometimes new buildings are built without permits, which makes it impossible to commission such an object, or it results in long-term problem solving and lawsuits.

For a full-fledged check of real estate on the primary market, we should start with the documents that are guaranteed to be available to the real estate developer, and confirm the legality of its activities:

  • the extract from the Unified State Register and other constituent documents of the real estate developer;
  • the construction permit, cadastral passport (for the building and the land plot), documents for the land plot, the agreed project documentation, the intended purpose, the area of the plot on which the construction is carried out, the availability of the declaration of the beginning of construction works, technical conditions for the utility hook-up, etc.

It is advisable to pay attention to the reviews of the real estate developer’s company, which are easy to find. Sometimes the owner of the land (the contractor) and the company that is the seller are different persons. In that case, it is necessary to request documentation from the real estate developer concerning the agreement between the landowner and the seller of the apartments.

You can find out about the arrests or specific prohibitions by obtaining a certificate from the State Register of Immovable Property Rights. Apply to the Urban Planning Cadastre to get information about the availability of all the necessary permits from the city authorities. Often the interdepartmental building centers publish information on illegal construction that has already been detected.

In the State Inspectorate of Architecture and Urban Planning you can find out about the permit for construction works and even the contractor's license to carry out construction.

In the USR you need to check the activities of the company, make sure that it is not bankrupt or under liquidation.

Information about debts to the state can be obtained from the State Tax Service or the Unified Register of Debtors.

And another, no less important step is to check information in the Register of Court Decisions. Make sure that there are no court cases, the subject of which was an illegal construction, or due to failure to fulfill obligations to the buyers.

Thus, the inspection of an apartment in a new building must include:

  • check of the real estate developer and related companies;
  • verification of construction permits and the legality of the construction;
  • check of the land used for construction;
  • review the terms of the agreement you are asked to sign.

Read the full inspection procedure for an apartment in a new building here.

Of course, you can never be sure that the object will be commissioned on time or the construction will be completed. But a thorough check of all factors gives a high guarantee for the safe purchase of the desired property.

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What is the procedure of secondary housing check in Ukraine?

As for the purchase of secondary housing, you also need to carefully check everything – it already has its own history and, perhaps, hidden nuances, in particular:

  • the real title to the apartment;
  • arrests imposed on the property;
  • judicial disputes with the landlord, including those where the apartment is the subject of the dispute;
  • redevelopment that has not been approved and therefore may be illegal;
  • debts, such as for utilities;
  • the apartment may be the place of registration of people not specified in the transaction.

You should start by checking the ownership rights. To do this, you can examine the following documents:

  • Certificate of title to the apartment;
  • Purchase and sale agreement concluded with the previous owner, or a deed of gift;
  • Court decision, if the title of ownership was transferred through a court decision;
  • Technical passport for the apartment.

You should get a certificate from the State Register of Immovable Property Rights, where you will see complete information about the owner, the presence or absence of arrests, or even information about whether the apartment is in a mortgage.

On the court decisions website, you need to check if there have been any lawsuits against the landlord of the apartment.

Please note! A notary public, or preferably a trusted notary public, can help you with all the information related to the apartment’s history. We offer the services of our trusted notary partner, who has full access to the registers.

You should get a certificate of registration of residence of persons in the apartment, because all those registered persons in your future apartment, in theory, will have the right to use it, and you will have to de-register them by applying to the court.

To check if there are any debts for the apartment, you need to contact specific authorities or the Unified Registry of Debtors.

Please note! Conducting a real estate check prior to the registration of ownership rights is a must. This stage can show you the honesty of the seller.

In practice, the following things may be a red flag:

  • The removal of arrests shortly before the apartment is offered for sale;
  • Inheritance of the apartment by the seller, subject to the possibility of other legitimate claimants or theoretical litigation;
  • Common property acquired by spouses – this is not so critical, but it is necessary to make sure that the seller has the consent of the other spouse.

Read the full procedure for checking a secondary market apartment here.

Checking the deal for an apartment in Ukraine

Thorough review of the real estate purchase agreement ensures that you understand the terms of the transaction and protects from sudden negative situations, such as the inability to hold the real estate developer liable for failure to meet the deadlines for the delivery of the property or correcting improper quality works.

Do not sign the Transfer and Acceptance Act before you are confident in the security of the transaction and satisfied with the result!

After signing it the real estate developer will not accept any claims from you, and definitely will not fix it. If there is something missing in the building or apartment that is stipulated in the agreement, or during the construction certain norms were violated – you should immediately draw up an act of violation.

Of course, in the case of buying a home on the secondary market, we are talking about a notarial agreement - no options. However, here we should also pay attention to the text, and in addition – to the procedural aspects of the transaction:

  • if there are several owners, the consent of each must also be certified by a notary;
  • if the right of ownership belongs to a person underage, the consent of the guardianship authorities will be required.

Нou can make big mistakes because of blind confidence and haste. The obligations and cautions, spelled out in small print, may seem unimportant, and not taken into account, but in the future they may lead to unfortunate consequences.

You can see the cost of real estate transaction services of a lawyer in Ukraine here. The cost of a real estate inspection in Ukraine can be included in the service package, depending on assistance you would like to receive from a lawyer.

Do not risk your money – take care of a safe transaction in Ukraine.

Didn’t find an answer to your question?

Everything about buying real estate in Ukraine by non-residents here.

See the cost of a real estate inspection in Ukraine here.

Publication date: 23/12/2021

About author

Name: Zakharchishin Olga

Position: Junior lawyer

Education: Institute of Management and Law of the Yaroslav the Wise National Law University

Knowledge of languages: Russian, Ukrainian, English

Email: [email protected]

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