Tips on Buying an Apartment in Ukraine

I know many guys – Westerners, I mean – who’ve bought apartments in Ukraine. It’s a relatively easy and painless process. I was with my wife through the whole process when she bought our Sevastopol apartment, so I have a first hand account of all the details.

First the question is: Should you even bother to buy? Or, Why should you consider buying an apartment in Ukraine or Russia? Well, if you travel there enough, it can certainly be worth it. I know guys who spend six months out of the year in Ukraine, and there’s no doubt it’s more cost effective to own your own place instead of renting all the time (or worse still, staying in a hotel.) You can leave all sorts of things there and don’t have to pack much on return trips.

And, when you’re not there, you can of course rent it out. Being a land-lord always poses a some risk – you never know who the tenants are – but still, becoming a landlord is an easy way to make money in Ukraine.

Let’s look at the math, using Sevastopol as an example. You can get a decent two room apartment in Sevastopol within a fifteen minute walk of the heart of the city for under $50,000. Probably under $40,000 if you’re willing to deal with a fixer-upper. Daily rental rates during the summer are usually between $40 to $50…again, that’s per day. Even if you manage to rent it out for only 20 days per month, that’s still about $2500 to $3000 you’d make just during the summer. And don’t worry about having to factor in the cost of utilities and such. All of that will be under $20 total per month. True, it’ll be tougher to rent your place in the off months, but again, you can still probably make a few thousand dollars more. If you make $4000 on a $40,000 investment, that’s a decent 10% ROI. And bear in mind, you can always sell it and get your money back, hopefully with an increase if property values stat to go up. (Though I won’t pretend to have any special insight on whether they will or not.)

As for the process itself, we used a realtor. He drove us to a variety of properties, and the one we choose was perhaps the fifth or sixth. It took a couple of weeks for the seller to arrange all the paperwork, and for the realtor to be certain she had a right to sell it, and there were no liens against it. Once the go-ahead came through, we went to the bank where a notary was waiting. Money gets counted and counted again. A few papers signed and stamped with witnesses, and that’s it. Here are the keys. The seller came by the next day to give the little booklets you need for when the utility people come around each month to determine how much water or electricity you used. No big deal.

In short, buying an apartment in Ukraine is an easy process and an investment worth looking into for frequent travelers.

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