Notary’s Advice: How to Buy an Apartment without Painful Repercussions


When buying an apartment, legal aspects prove to be crucial. People may be afraid of being deceived or of signing documents they are not supposed to sign. In such cases, be sure to consult independent lawyers in order to avoid fraudulent deals. For this reason, we have collected some frequently asked questions about real estate purchases and asked a notary to give answers to them. Today our respondent is Oksana Rakul, a private notary and a candidate of legal sciences.

Q: What is the reason for notary’s involvement in the apartment purchase?

OR: In order to answer this question we need to understand what a notary is. The term “notary” finds its definition in the Law of Ukraine “On Notaries”.

Notary is a private person duly authorized by the state to carry out notarial activities in the public notarial office and/or public notarial archives, or to engage in independent professional notarial activities.

Be also aware that in Ukraine notaries also function as registrars of business or of rights to real estate nowadays. The law says that purchase and sale documents have to be notarized.

Many countries don’t practice that. However, in my opinion, it is crucial to have an independent verification of documents and of their accuracy.

Q: How to avoid getting into the hands of a bad notary?

OR: One has to realize that a person who passed tests and obtained the right to carry out notarial activities is a defender of your interests and legitimate rights. Notary bears full responsibility for the damage inflicted by him/her when carrying out notarial activities. He/she also bears criminal liability for the inaccurate state registration of rights to real estate.

That is why I believe that there are no bad notaries, because all of them are obliged to act in compliance with the laws.

Q: How to buy an apartment without painful repercussions?

OR: First of all, check whether everything is fine with documentation. In my practice, I constantly face situations when buyers thoroughly check sellers and completely disregard their own documentation. That is why my advice is to check your own passport before submitting the documents.

There is a wide spread mistake — a missing photo that has to be added when a person turns 25 or 45 years old. It has to be done after one achieves this age and not a day or two ahead of time. Also, one must provide original copies of documents.

Of course, one should verify identity of the seller and his/her ownership title in order to make sure that he/she actually has the right to sell this real estate. One may verify the availability of ownership right to real estate on the website of the Ministry of Justice. Thus, one may and should be on the safe side and protect him(her)self from fraud.

Do you still have questions? Ask them in comments and we will provide you with legal consultation.