How to buy property in Poland remotely. Answers to frequently asked questions
Currently, not every foreigner can come to Poland to buy real estate: the coronavirus pandemic has led to the closure of the borders of a number of European countries. Galina Kharlamova, a leading realtor at East West Reals in Warsaw, answers the most frequently asked questions about how to buy property in Poland.
The process of remote purchase
The process of purchasing real estate in Warsaw without the physical presence of the buyer is carried out as follows.
- Analyzing the buyer's request. First, you need to set the search criteria. The purpose of the purchase, its location, the budget, and other important criteria for the buyer — the proximity of schools and kindergartens, university, infrastructure, ground floor with a front garden or the top floor, secondary or primary market — every detail matters.
- Selecting the object. Video conferencing via convenient messengers: Skype, Viber, or WhatsApp. Video about the object and nearby infrastructure, sending all the necessary documents (related to the object you are interested in) by mail. As well as video and phone conferences with the seller or developer. All the necessary information for making a decision about purchasing real estate can be provided remotely within 2-3 business days.⠀
- The object reservation. You can sign a reservation agreement remotely by exchanging scans of a signed agreement and sending the original agreement by post. Further reservation payment to the developer's account can also be made from anywhere in the world.
- The signing of the notarial contract. To sign a notarized purchase agreement, it is required to have a notarized power of attorney, which is translated by the sworn translator. Our buyers always receive the draft and sample of the power of attorney from the notary who will be certifying their transaction. The details of the powers are always spelled out in the power of attorney: what kind of real estate and in whose name it is purchased, the price of the object, the powers to re-register all the necessary rights to the new owner in the future.
What documents do I need for purchasing real estate in Warsaw?
To purchase an apartment, the buyer needs an international passport. If you are in wedlock, you also need to provide your spouse's passport details. If you want to purchase a land lot, a house on a land plot, or a commercial property, you need to get permission from the Polish Ministry of Interior and Administration. But if you want to buy an apartment on the ground floor with a front garden, you do not need one.
How do I make a payment or transfer money from abroad?
- Ukraine. One person is allowed to make an International Bank transfer of up to $ 100,000 per year for investment purpose abroad. The purchase of real estate objects in Poland is considered an investment — the spouses can buy real estate at a price of 200,000 dollars.
- Belarus. Through individual banks from the current account of the bank of Belarus to the current account in Poland. The original notarial act and its translation (on the basis of which the payment must be made) are to be provided.
- Russia. No restrictions to make a payment from the bank's current account in the Russian Federation to a current account in Poland. The original notarial act and its translation (on the basis of which the payment must be made) are to be provided.
Where should I transfer money for the purchase of real estate?
In the primary market — to the developer's trust account. When signing a contract with the developer, the price of the apartment is divided into 8-9 payments. The buyer never transfers money directly to the developer. The bank with an open trust current account goes to the object under construction to check its state on a specific stage of construction (ditch, underground parking level, 3 floors, 6 floors, finished carcass, shell and core condition, etc.) and only after that it transfers money to the developer. On the secondary market — to a notarized deposit account.
Before signing the purchase and sale agreement, the buyer transfers money to a special deposit account of the notary office. After signing the agreement, the notary transfers money to the seller.
Is it safe? Yes, it is! According to the current legislation, notary, lawyer, judge, and attorney are the most public trusted positions in Poland. If the transaction does not take place, the notary returns money to the buyer's current account in the amount received earlier (100%).
Is it safe to buy property in Poland by proxy?
Yes, it is. As a proxy giver, you authorize a proxy in Poland to purchase a certain property in your name (with the exact address, name of the residential complex, area, price, etc.). A notary in Poland cannot certify a notarial act that abuses the powers of attorney.
Can a proxy become the owner of an apartment when buying remotely?
No. It is not possible and, in fact, it is punishable by the Criminal Code of the Republic of Poland.
I worry that I will not like the apartment or the surrounding will not meet my expectations. How can I be sure that the videos and photos provided correspond to the property that I am going to buy?
When discussing a particular object, you get a specified address. This address will be written in the power of attorney document and the notarized purchase agreement. Ask your proxy to go to this address and send you video and geo-location online.
How can I be sure that the account that I transfer the payment to belongs to the notary/developer?
Before the payment is made, the notary and/or developer can send you their bank details with the date, signature and seal, and the details for making international payments.
Can I read the purchase and sale agreement before my authorized representative signs it in my name? What is the language of the document?
All documentation (including reservation, preliminary, and final agreements) is provided in Polish. You can get acquainted with all the contracts which are sent to you. You can also submit contracts and all related documentation for translation into any language.
Will I be able to resell the purchased property remotely?
Yes. To sign a notarized purchase agreement, it is required to have a notarized power of attorney, which is translated by the sworn translator. Our sellers always receive a draft and a sample of the power of attorney from the notary who will be certifying their transaction. The details of the powers are always spelled out in the power of attorney: what kind of real estate we sell, its price, who is buying the object, and the number of the seller's current account, to which the buyer’s payment will be transferred.
How can I find out that I have become a property owner in Poland? Is there any electronic register for checking real estate status?
Any property in Poland has its own individual cadastral number. You need to go to the state website of the cadastral register. On this site, you can check the fact of changing the ownership of the particular property.
Why take the risk and buy remotely if you can wait for the borders to open and buy property in person?
Our clients mainly purchase real estate remotely, either due to their moving or for investment purposes to preserve and increase their capital. Knowing how to insure themselves, our buyers do not consider buying real estate remotely to be risky. Understanding the convenience of this type of buying and the investment process, our clients were purchasing real estate remotely even before the pandemic and the closure of borders. One more reason for purchasing real estate just now is also a constant increase in the price per m².
I do not know the city, how can I choose a district and property location? What should I do if there is a works / noisy road / bad traffic interchange near the object?
When choosing a property, you get full information about its location (including the exact address). You can use maps on the Internet to look at the topography of the area and nearby objects. Your real estate agent can always go to the object and show you the purchased property and the nearest infrastructure online (Skype, WhatsApp, etc.). In Poland, there are plans for the development of the city and area for 2-5 years. These plans are publicly available and anyone can read them and get information about the future development of the area.
Do I have to confirm the legality of money origin?
According to the current Polish law, when transferring money to the seller or to a notarized deposit from your current account from abroad, the buyer is not required to confirm the legality of money origin.
Which notary should I consult to formalize a power of attorney to buy real estate in Poland? Where can I get a sample of power of attorney? What is the language of the document?
Our buyers always receive the draft and sample of the power of attorney from the notary who will be certifying their transaction. The details of the powers are always spelled out in the power of attorney: what kind of property we purchase, its price, who is buying the object, and whether it is possible to re-register all the necessary rights to the new owner in the future. The power of attorney is drawn up in the official language of the country of your location, and then it is sent to Poland. In Poland, the sworn translator translates the power of attorney into Polish.
Can I get the original signed purchase and sale agreement?
After signing the purchase and sale agreement, the original document is always sent to the buyer.
What should I do if the developer turns out to be unreliable and doesn't complete the project?
In Poland, the relationship between the buyer and the developer is regulated by a special law — Ustawa deweloperska — Ustawa o ochronie praw nabywcy lokalu mieszkalnego lub domu jednorodzinnegoz dnia 16 września 2011 r. (Dz. U. Nr 232, poz. 1377) tekst jednolity z dnia 7 lipca 2017 r. (Dz.U. z 2017 r. poz. 1468).
According to the above law, the buyer never transfers money to the developer's bank account directly. The payment for an apartment is divided into 8-10 parts, this way you get an interest-free installment plan from the developer for the entire construction period (~2 years).
The buyer transfers money for each stage of construction to a special trust bank account. After each stage of construction, the bank goes to the site to check whether the stage is actually completed and then transfers the money to the developer's account. This law also provides for the obligation of the developer to insure their civil liability and the procedure of a buyout / crediting such unfinished construction.
In reality, developers in Poland fund their construction either with their own money or credit money, which is also transferred to the developer stage by stage, eliminating the developer's risk of not being able to finish the construction. For our part, we recommend dealing with proven developers who already have successful long-term construction experience.
What should I do in case of finding hidden shortcomings of the property during its use?
According to the law Ustawa deweloperska-Ustawa o ochronie praw nabywcy lokalu mieszkalnego lub domu jednorodzinnego z dnia 16 września 2011 r. (Dz. U. Nr 232, poz. 1377) tekst jednolity z dnia 7 lipca 2017 r. (Dz.U. z 2017 r. poz. 1468), the buyer receives a guarantee for five years from the developer in case of any defects. The developer is obliged to eliminate the shortcomings identified during the operation of the object. In the secondary market, if the purchased apartment reveals any disadvantages in the future that could not be identified when signing the purchase agreement, there is a mandatory insurance policy of the real estate agency that accompanies your transaction.
Who will keep the keys to my new apartment before I arrive? How do I know that no one lives in the apartment in my absence?
The keys are kept at the real estate agency before your arrival. In the primary market, it is enough not to sign a contract with utility providers (electricity, gas, etc.). When transferring keys, a protocol indicating the information of the meters is also signed between the developer and the buyer. In addition, apartments from the developer in the primary market are rented in standard developer's finish. In the secondary market, when transferring keys between the seller and the buyer, a protocol indicating the information of the meters is always signed. Later after making the purchase, you can ask your agent to go to the object and show the numbers on the meter online.
How can I get the keys to the apartment from the developer if I can't come to the country?
Your representative can also get the keys from the developer on the basis of a power of attorney. Most often, it is enough to issue such a power of attorney in writing.
- Video about buying real estate in Poland on the primary market: https://youtu.be/5gEXhRYNLwA
- Video about buying real estate in Poland on the secondary market: https://youtu.be/O07w0yNQ36o
- Video about the remote purchase of real estate in Poland: https://youtu.be/6lrQ1RElLjI and https://youtu.be/HfZY1ArHNhY
- Video about buying a house in Poland: https://youtu.be/k5n74pG-fno
- The law regarding the developers Ustawa Deweloperska — Ustawa o ochronie praw nabywcy lokalu mieszkalnego lub domu jednorodzinnego z dnia 16 września 2011 r.: http://isap.sejm.gov.pl/isap.nsf/download.xsp/WDU20112321377/T/D20111377L.pdf