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Buying

The property market is somewhat less developed in Poland than it is in neighbouring European countries and estate agents can be difficult to find, even over the Internet. Therefore, it would be advisable to source properties through taking a trip to your desired area as well as using the services of an estate agent if possible. On the positive side, due to the under-developed property market in Poland it is possible to find a bargain property.

Interestingly, it is unusual for Polish house sellers to seek an independent valuation of their property - it will be usually valued through word of mouth. This being the case it may be the case that a seller is unaware of the market value of the property, however, this is expected to change once the market matures.

Similarly, a homebuyer survey is not undertaken during a house purchase. For this reason, there are no licensed surveyors. However, it would be shrewd to contact a builder to check the property for any structural problems.

Prior to Poland's accession into the European Union in May 2004 it was difficult for foreigners to purchase property in Poland. This is no longer the case. If you are a European, you are free to purchase property in Poland with no restrictions. If you are from outside of the EU, it will be necessary for you to obtain permission from the Polish Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration.

The actual purchase procedure is relatively straightforward. In order to have the property taken off the market, it is necessary or the buyer to enter into a pre-contract. This is legally binding on both the buyer and the seller and must be undertaken via a notary. For a domestic property, the deposit will normally be 10% and once this has been paid, a completion date will be set, which is usually no longer than 3 months. If either the buyer or seller breaches the contract, there will usually be a financial penalty imposed on the entity that breaks the contract. In the case of a cash sale, it is possible to quicken the sale by missing out the pre-contract stage.

Prior to the signing of the final contract in the presence of the notary, they will usually have checked that the house deeds are in order. When the contract has been signed, the funds will be released and the property titles will be transferred into the buyer’s name.

If you are interested in investing in property in you should be aware that there could be a remote chance of problems with the deed of the property. This can be traced back to Second World War and the subsequent decentralisation of the Polish property market by the then ruling Soviet Union. Essentially, the main worry is that a member of a displaced Jewish family during the war, or relative, could lay claim to a property that you have purchased. Although technically this situation is possible it is extremely unlikely and investing in an apartment block rather than a stand alone property could mitigate the possibility. The reason for this is that the Polish government is less likely to pursue a claim again a communally owned apartment block owned by several people, which would invariably entail a long legal battle than if the property was a stand alone property owned by a single entity.

You should ensure that you obtain the services of a good lawyer to look into the property title and make sure that the building is registered properly.

When purchasing a property in Poland you should budget between 7%-8% of the total fees for purchasing expenses. The breakdown will be approximately as follows:

Estate agency fees of 3%
Stamp duty of 2%
Land Registry fees of 1.5%
Notary fees of 1.5%

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