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Renting apartments in UA cities

 If you are a solo traveler about Ukraine and are seeking for inexpensive and simple lodging options, you will probably decide to stay in rented apartments in each city of your visit. This is the best option for all individual (or family) travelers to Ukraine, but there are a few things you need to know before you do this. Today, we'll discuss a few possible complications which a traveler may have, and we'll  see how to avoid mishaps in these cases.

Some travelers try to rent apartments by calling to local real estate companies or even to apartment owners (very few of them have their own websites and even fewer can speak English). This frequently causes situations of misuynderstanding, and my company workers frequently receive calls with these requests:

"Hello, I just arrived to the apartment that I rented online from a local owner, but it is locked and nobody is meeting me here. I need help urgently"

"Hello, I need an assistant to help me talk with my apartment owner. My owner says that their sign in time is at noon, but my family arrives to their city a few hours earlier. We are also leaving early in the morning on the departure day. Can you please negotiate with the owner for us to sign in and out in the morning time?"

"Hello, my apartment owner requires to take my passport as a proof that her apartment will be in good condition while I stay there. What should I  say/do?"

"Hello, I urgently need someone to negotiate with my apartment owner who is asking for a higher price for her apartment now, when I have arrived, when two days ago we agreed about a different price. Please help me negotiate with her."

Well, we can continue the list, but these four scripts of the recent phone conversations with travelers to Ukraine are probably enough for you to see what problems you may face when you rent apartments from Ukrainian owners and even from real estate companies. My co-workers at Discover Ukraine have to deal with such calls almost daily!

The most "common" problem is caused with the ignorance of the apartment owners - they are not thinking about the future if their business, neither they care about their good reputation. "Clients come and go, so I need to make as much as possible with the least possible effort" - this is the only method they know.

Renting apartments in Ukraine is a convenient and cheaper option than staying in a hotel. The whole culture of travel-related services is only in development stage, and the process is being slowed down with paradoxic post-Soviet mentality of many local people. Those adventurous Soviets who were involved into a game of selling and buying real estate right after the collapse of the Soviet Union, made 4-digit percents of profit by simply selling one apartment and buying two right away, while the real estate prices were forming and growing exponentially (from 1992 to 2005). The adventurous loan policies of Ukrainian banks only intensified the process, and today the sharp collapse of the system has resulted in lots of bankruptcy cases for real estate owners.

Today, after the real estate prices have overgrown all possible limits and started to fall, the local owners are not ready to continue their businesses: they don't know how to act when the prices are going down after they were steadily going up for almost 15 years! Neither they are ready to think about improvement of their services. They often use the primitive logic: "Well, if a client is unhappy with my services today, another will come tomorrow, so why should I care for the quality of services?!" Unfortunately,  the approach is a common thing for majority of real estate companies and even for the small business owners who rent apartments privately and own only 2 or 3 apartments each.

When dealing with situations which we listed above, the only rule is to remain strong and to have someone local who can talk with the owner and convince him/her. In some cases, unfortunately, it is impossible, and some people end up going to a hotel which has it's drawbacks, too.

The best way to avoid getting into such situations is to deal with a local company which can negotiate all these things for you BEFORE you arrive to the apartment door. Renting apartments in each city of your visit is anyway more convenient (and usually, cheaper) than staying in hotels.

Once you have a reliable person who you can trust in Ukraine, ask him/her to remain in touch with your apartment owners during a couple of weeks before your arrival; this person will make sure that the owners do not change their minds about the price, do not disappear and do not set funny unrealistic requirements on you when you have arrived.

If you are interested to learn more about the process, please, write us. We deal with all this every day!

Good luck with your Ukrainian adventure!


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