Our monthly newsletter contains health and financial news, expat articles, social media recommendations and more.
Estonia - Buying Property
There are some restrictions for migrants when it comes to buying property or land in Estonia.
International individuals and companies are required to obtain the permission of the local authorities. There are legal restrictions on acquiring agricultural and woodland of 10 hectares or more. If you wish to do this, you will need to obtain permission from the county governor.
International individuals are not allowed to purchase land on smaller islands, or listed territories in proximity to the Russian border. In most cases, buying a flat has no restrictions.
Here are the fees the buyer will need to pay during the purchase of the property:
• A minimum of 10 percent deposit, although this may be higher for a person applying for a mortgage through an Estonian bank
• Estate agent fees of two to four percent
• Solicitor fees of 0.02 to 0.07 percent plus 20 percent VAT
• Stamp duty of 0.3 to 0.5 percent, depending on the cost of the property being purchased
• Registration fee of 0.25 percent
When buying a flat or an apartment, you will need to check if the building has an apartment association. This is a non-profit association that has been established by apartment owners. Its main purpose is to maintain the apartment building and represent the common interests of its members. There is usually a monthly charge. The money collected goes in a kitty and is used to pay for any required repairs or renovations, cleaning services and any other necessary maintenance work of the communal space. Buildings with an apartment association tend to have lower utility costs due to their buying power.
Having chosen the property you wish to buy, a pre-purchase protocol will be drawn-up by the parties involved or the solicitor. This is a document that commits you and the vendor to the sale. At this time, you will also have to pay your 10 percent deposit. There is no cooling-off period when it comes to property purchase in Estonia, so you need to be 100 percent sure before you proceed. After the contract is signed and deposit paid, the solicitor prepares the transfer of the ownership of the real estate, which both parties must sign. The next step is to pay the stamp duty at a commercial bank.
If you need some help choosing a solicitor, there is giudane on the chamber of notaries website. The have a list of notaries available to assist you.
There are no property deeds in Estonia. A notarized application is made to the land register to transfer the ownership of the property to the buyer in the land register book. After this, the title is legally valid. Public notice of the transfer must be published in the Official State Gazette, though this is does not affect the ownership title, the publication process is almost automatic.
All immovable properties (plots of land, apartment ownerships, building rights and rights of superficies in apartments) must be entered in the land register. The land register ensures legal certainty of immovable property ownership to minimise the risks associated with immovable property transactions. The land register is maintained at land registry departments of county courts. You can view the data entered in the e-land register query system.
Necessary documents for closing the sale transaction are:
• If applying for a mortgage, you will need to produce your bank statements from the past six months and proof of employment.
• In the case of a cash purchase, you will need to confirm the source of the money.
It is recommended that you let the solicitor draw up the necessary agreements and paperwork as they will do the required checks. For example, they can confirm that the seller is the legal owner of the property. In general, purchase of the property is quite straightforward, and the average time for completion in Estonia is 65 days from start to finish.
Read more about this country
Expat Health Insurance Partners
Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.