Situations when real estate is sold not by the owner, but by his representative with the help of a power of attorney are not uncommon. If you are planning to buy housing, you can take into account and such proposals. But it is important to realize that such a transaction will carry more risks. What to pay attention to and how to reduce the risks, we tell you below.
What is a power of attorney for the sale of an apartment
A power of attorney for the sale of an apartment is a notarized document with the help of which the owner of the apartment transfers all the necessary competences to his representative to carry out the procedure for the sale of housing.
Under the power of attorney, the representative has the right to collect various certificates, to sign the contract of sale, to receive money from the buyer to the bank account, to deregister the owner of the living space.
An apartment may be sold under a general power of attorney for various reasons. The owner of the property may be very busy, reside in another country or in another city of Ukraine, be in a war zone or have no opportunity to deal with the transaction himself for another reason.
How long is a power of attorney to sell an apartment (during wartime)
New terms and conditions for issuing a general power of attorney for the sale of real estate have been adopted for the period of martial law. How long a power of attorney for the sale of an apartment is valid in 2023:
- validity period of a power of attorney certified in Ukraine - 1 month;
- validity period of a power of attorney certified by a consulate or diplomatic mission of Ukraine abroad - 2 months.
In order to extend the validity of a power of attorney for the disposal of property, it is necessary to submit an application to the notary from the principal to confirm the validity of the power of attorney. The authenticity of the signature must be certified by a notary, consulate or diplomatic mission of Ukraine. The authenticity of the signature on such application must be certified by a Ukrainian notary not earlier than 7 calendar days prior to the conclusion of the transaction. If it is a consulate or diplomatic mission, the authenticity of the signature shall be certified not earlier than 1 month before signing the contract.
Can you buy an apartment with a power of attorney
Buying an apartment by proxy is a legal procedure if all the formalities are observed. It is quite realistic to buy real estate through a proxy, but it is important to realize that it is not always safe.
At the initial stage, there are several factors that should alert the buyer. If such an apartment is sold by power of attorney, it is better to refuse the deal. What situations we are talking about:
- low cost of housing - with the help of an attractive price fraudsters may try to put the buyer's vigilance to sleep and conclude the deal in the shortest possible time;
- urgent sale of an apartment - if the owner's representative rushes the buyer and does not agree to give a little time for reflection, it is necessary to check the documents more thoroughly or refuse the deal altogether.
What are the risks of buying an apartment by power of attorney
The sale of residential real estate by power of attorney is one of the most common fraud schemes. Before such a transaction, it is necessary to check all documents much more thoroughly than in the case of cooperation directly with the seller.
What can be the risks of buying a home with power of attorney:
- It is practically impossible to know what condition the owner of the apartment was in when the general power of attorney was issued. The owner may have signed the document under the influence of alcohol or drugs, not realizing the consequences of his actions. If this is confirmed, the power of attorney becomes null and void;
- the owner may also have signed the power of attorney under duress, as a result of blackmail or deceit, or under the influence of difficult life circumstances. If this turns out to be the case, the document will also be considered invalid;
- fraudsters could execute a power of attorney using a stolen passport with the help of a person who looks like the real owner, without the notary noticing it;
- a notary may not notice and issue a power of attorney using the stolen passport of the property owner, in which a different photo has been pasted;
- a power of attorney can be issued by a "gray" notary who was in collusion with fraudsters;
- the owner of the apartment may die the day before the sale is concluded. The buyer will have no way of knowing about this, and the heirs will have the right to challenge the transaction if they did not issue a power of attorney.
It is impossible to completely eliminate all risks when buying an apartment by power of attorney. The buyer can only make every effort to minimize the risks.
How to buy an apartment safely by power of attorney
There are several recommendations that will help to reduce the risks and safely buy real estate by power of attorney. If you do not adhere to them, the probability of falling into the hands of fraudsters will be really high.
Verification of power of attorney
The buyer must read the power of attorney carefully. The document shall be drawn up on a special form and notarized. The power of attorney must contain the following information:
- The full name of the principal and trustee;
- the residential address of the seller and the representative;
- the address of the apartment to be sold;
- the powers and rights of the trustee;
- the place of the transaction;
- the term of the power of attorney;
- advice on the disposition of the monies received.
It is important to make sure that among the powers of the owner's representative, the right to sell the property is recorded.
Visit to a notary
Before concluding the transaction, it is necessary to visit the notary who certified the power of attorney and find out whether it is valid. It is important to do this because the principal can terminate the power of attorney at any time without notifying the authorized person. It is also worth asking on the basis of which documents the seller's legal capacity was confirmed.
Verification of the apartment owner
This is one of the most difficult and most important stages of verification when buying an apartment by power of attorney. A power of attorney becomes null and void if the owner is dead, incapacitated, missing, signed the document under duress or as a result of fraud, etc. This is what you should try to check.
What the buyer needs to do:
- ask the representative why the owner cannot attend the transaction in person and who they are to each other. If the proxy is a relative, you can ask to see the relevant documents. If it is a stranger, such a moment should be alarming. It is rare for a non-relative to be entrusted with a large sum of money;
- find out the family composition of the apartment owner. Is there a registered or common-law marriage? If there is a spouse, his/her written consent must be included in the application package;
- inquire about the age and health of the owner. If it is not possible to see the seller in person, it will be difficult to know whether he is in an adequate and capable state or not. If the owner is mentally ill or in a very old age, he may not realize his actions. In such a case, the document becomes null and void;
- to meet the neighbors. This is a good way to learn more about the owner of the apartment. Concierges, neighbors, condominium chairmen and even grandmothers near the entrance can tell you a lot of interesting things about the owner, especially if he or she has lived in the apartment for a long time. So you can find out whether the principal used alcohol or drugs, whether he is mentally healthy or not, what is the composition of the family and social status, the reason for the long absence of the seller and much more. If there is a discrepancy in the information, it is better not to take a risk and refuse this transaction.
Compliance with formalities
Excessive trust in the case of buying an apartment by power of attorney is a serious risk of falling into the hands of fraudsters and finding yourself without an apartment and a large sum of money. You should not rely on trust in a blind desire to quickly conclude a seemingly favorable deal.
In such cases, it is important to think soberly and analyze. Through a notary or on your own, you should check the documents of title, carefully inspect the apartment for sale, interview neighbors, and study the history of the property (whether there have been any sales transactions in the last few years). If the transaction is delayed, you can sign a preliminary agreement to confirm the seriousness of your intentions.
Consultation with a notary, careful document verification and checking the owner of the apartment reduce the risks of buying real estate by power of attorney.
Buying an apartment through a real estate agency
Buying a home through a proxy from the seller is a special story, so it is difficult to do without the help of specialists. The real estate agency "Mayak" has qualified realtors, as well as a legal department and a notary. Lawyers will help to thoroughly check the documents of the seller and his representative to minimize the risks of buying a dwelling by power of attorney. If anything turns out to be suspicious, experts will advise you to refuse the deal.
The notary will verify the power of attorney using the Unified Register of Powers of Attorney. He will also certify the sale transaction if there are doubts about the notary from the seller's representative.
When buying an apartment under a power of attorney, it is important to analyze the situation comprehensively. It is difficult to understand all the nuances without lawyers and a notary. In order to conclude the deal legally, save money and nerves, it is better to immediately contact the professionals of the real estate agency "Mayak".