Foreigners buy property in Estonia under the same conditions as Estonian citizens. To register a real estate transaction, the presence of a seller and a buyer is required and if the seller or the buyer is married, their wife or husband must consent to the transaction. If someone cannot present at the transaction, their representative with notarial power of attorney can act on their behalf.
Sales contract is signed by both parties at the notary office. After a public notary reviews the contract and it is signed, the contract is sent to the Estonian land register for registration. A buyer becomes an owner of the property after changes to the registry are made. The registration process lasts for about one to three months. The procedure of real estate purchase in Estonia is rather simple and can be made directly by a buyer or via real estate agent. Firstly, the parties make up a draft sales agreement which they sign at a notary public. All notary services should be booked in advance. Usually you will have to wait for the appointment for about 2 or 4 weeks. Within 15 days after the transaction is made, the notary must inform the National Register of Buildings.
The principal agreement is signed only in the presence of the buyer and seller. A foreigner must provide ID and a marriage certificate if the person is married. The power of attorney and consent are to be translated to Estonian.
Notary fees depend on the property price. The fee for an average apartment is approximately €150-250. The fee is usually divided between a seller and buyer.
There are several purchase payment options:
In Estonia there is no tax on residential property. And the land tax varies from 0.1 to 2.5% from the taxable value of the real estate, the size of which depends on its location and is determined by the local municipality. Transfer of land involves the payment of a state fee which is 0.2-0.4% of transaction value.
As a rule, the first step to buy real estate in Estonia is a reservation contract. A reservation contract protects from the fact that both parties may reject the transaction during the period when they prepare the documents at the notary's office. The reservation value may vary from 100 to 10 000 euros depending on the real estate price.
It is better to sign a reservation contract at the notary's office. You will have to pay for this service about €150-250, depending on the real estate price.
The contract on property reservation specifying all transaction details including prepayment and the total value of transaction is drawn up by the notary in Estonian. You can ask for contract translation. You should contact a notary in advance, by appointment, in two or three days before the transaction.
In Estonia a notary is fully responsible for the transaction. A notarial deposit is very often used for safety and to avoid paying in cash. The deposit due is usually €2000-3000. If the buyer refuses to buy property after signing a reservation contract, the person has to pay a fine (5-10% of the total price).
After property sales contract is signed, its electronic copy is sent to the Land Registration Department (Kinnisturaamat) - a state register of real estate where new real estate owners are registered. This procedure takes about 5-7 days (the maximum period established by law is 2 weeks).
A buyer is to pay the registration fee of €10 and more, depending on the property price. There is no tax on property sale in Estonia.
After the property is registered, a buyer and seller receive an extract from the land register (usually via e-mail) and a buyer becomes a new owner of real estate.