Buying an Apartment in Mongolia- What to Expect

What should you expect when buying an apartment in Mongolia?

Having now lived in Mongolia for several years, I really wanted a place that I could call my own. If you have lived in Mongolia for a while perhaps you are more interested in buying your own place than renting in the long or short term. If you are interested in buying an apartment in Mongolia then keep reading.

Buying an apartment in Mongolia is not quite the same as in the west, and it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience either. You may think of the countless hours of worry if the deal goes through, or perhaps if all the paperwork will be done right. In Mongolia, it can be relatively easy, if (and I mean if) you do a few common things. If you want to know what experiences foreigners have had in Mongolia buying an apartment, and what to look for or avoid find out below.

Where to Start?

So you want to buy an apartment or you are looking to. Well, where do you actually start? There are several places where you can look for a good deal on apartments. You can start by looking at some common places which include Facebook and a Mongolian trade and selling website called Unegui, which sells anything from pets, and clothing to cars and apartments. Here you can search by location, price and square meterage or number of rooms. It is a great place to start especially if you are looking in a certain location. You of course can use other providers like common real estate agencies like the Remax group or MGG Properties. However, it is quite possible to do the paperwork without the need for a real estate agent.

The Price

The price for an apartment is radically different from what you are thinking. Apartments, although expensive by Mongolian standards are very reasonable by western standards. Let’s begin by looking at it by meter square. The normal price at the writing of this post is between 1.5-2.2 million tugriks per meter square which is about 460 USD dollars, which isn’t bad at all. So if you were looking for a small apartment, say 30 meters square, it would cost you 13800 USD which could be considered a bargain by many. Now I need to mention the price will depend on location and what you are looking for. If you are looking for a 3 bedroom apartment in the city centre, you will be looking at paying a premium, possibly 160 million tugriks. Another thing to mention is that you will want to probably pay in cash for a better price but also it is incredibly difficult for foreigners to get loans apart from a loan on your salary.

The Process

You have done some hunting around and know exactly what you are looking for. Then you find the ideal apartment to buy, so what do you do next? Well again, it will depend on if it is a private sale or if it is being done through a seller like a real estate agent. If it is being done through a real estate agent, they will take care of the paperwork and you shouldn’t have to handle any of their fees. Make sure this is clear upfront if you are buying through an agent.

If it is a private sale it’s a little more tricky as there are a few more steps you need to go through. Firstly, you will need all your details for the change of ownership. Next, you will need to go to a government office and make a contract between both parties. When this is done you should first read the contract carefully and have it translated or bring a friend who is a competent translator to help. On that note, ask your friend to meet the person who is selling before you do ask any questions. Sadly if Mongolians see a foreigner they may not be willing to negotiate the price, or worse, ask for more than the list price. To avoid this, just have your Mongolian friend meet them first. That tip itself could save you at least a few million tugriks!

Getting back to the paperwork, after you have read the contract carefully, you will need to have it checked and signed by an observing notary. Everything official in Mongolia must be confirmed and stamped by a notary, an official that legally witnesses the agreement. Before they sign the contract and change of ownership they should check to make sure there are no outstanding fees or loans on the apartment. It may pay just to make sure they have by asking for proof, which they should show you anyway but better to be safe than sorry. The notary fee is not normally more than 50,000 tugriks.

You can get all the documents you need done at one of the government super centres, like the one at Misheel Expo!

Once that’s done and the notary has confirmed both parties’ identities they will sign and stamp the contract. The next step is for the sale fee/tax to be paid on the apartment. You can discuss this with the seller but they should pay this not you, after all, they are the ones selling the apartment, not you. Once this tax is paid, you will need to show your contact and change of ownership to a different registration booth. They will then ask you to pay for the certificate fee, which is around another 50,000 tugriks. This certificate will be proof that you own the apartment and ownership have changed and it will take several days for it to be processed upon which point you can pick it up from the exact location.

Make sure to hire an engineer to have a look over the apartment so that you don’t get any nasty surprises!

The last thing to do is to actually pay for the apartment. This can be done at your preferred bank as it is quite a large sum that may need to be approved by the bank and possibly even need your signature. However, you may in fact be able to just pay over mobile banking or bank transfer. It really depends on your bank and situation, so be flexible.

Things to Remember

And you’re done! You should now be the proud owner of an apartment that is all yours. Not too difficult right? Well here are a few things, and some tips to remember.

  • As I said, bring a friend as a translator, it will save you a lot of time and possibly money
  • Before agreeing to buy, ask for a building report or an engineer to inspect the apartment, it can be worthwhile and doesn’t cost much!
  • Make sure there aren’t any outstanding loans or fees on the apartment that haven’t been paid. You don’t want to be stuck with someone else loans, or the hassle that brings
  • Make sure you understand all the fees for the change of ownership and who will pay which fees.
  • Check that your certificate is correct and that the ownership has changed online with the government agency

And that’s what to expect about buying an apartment in Mongolia. Did we miss anything out? Possibly another useful tip you could share from your own experience? Perhaps you would just like to know what apartment living is like in Mongolia, then check out our post here about apartment living. Let us know your thoughts below, otherwise, if you are looking for an apartment, happy hunting!

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