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How to buy a Property in:

Buying a Property in France

A Czech or Slovak citizen is not limited in the purchase of a property in France, which may be owned by a physical person or legal entity.

Purchase Procedure

Sale of Sales

A notary is an essential helper in the purchase of a property, who is responsible for finding and preparing all the documents necessary for the sale of the property and to determine if any debts are attached to the property. The first step in buying a property is to sign the Compromis de Vente contract, which is prepared by a notary and binds both parties. The buyer pays notaries 5-10% of the price of the property.

Act of Sale

The buyer has 7 days to withdraw from the contract without loss of deposit. After seven days of withdrawal from the contract, he loses the right to an advance payment, unless otherwise specified in the contract. Upon signing the final Acte de Vente contract with a notary, the remainder of the purchase price, including notarial fees, is payable.

Costs

The estimated cost of buying a property in France is:

  • Notary fees (approx. 6-14%, including real estate transfer tax, mortgage fee)
  • Commissions to local real estate agency (3-7%)

Costs related to the operation of the property in France:

  • Taxe Fonciere – determined by the municipality, usually ranges between 1.2-1.7% for the second housing, the tax base is determined by the theoretical value of the lease, the base is further reduced by up to 50% with regard to maintenance and insurance, does not pay for two years for new real estate and outbuildings.
  • Taxe d´habitation – tax base according to 1970 tables, usually between 1.2-1.7% for second housing, tax base is determined according to the theoretical value of rental as Taxe Fonciere, deductions can be applied to children.
  • Impôt de solidarité sur la fortune (ISF) property tax – paying residents on assets in France and abroad, new residents have been exempted from inclusion of foreign assets in the tax assessment since 2008 – non-residents only on assets in France.
Property PriceTax rate
Under 800,0000%
From 800’000 to 1’300’0000.5%
From 1’300’000 to 2’570’0000.7%
From 2’570’000 to 5’000’0001%
From 5’000’000 to 10’000’0001.25%
Over 10’000’0001.5%

 

Buying a Property in Croatia

The Czech or Slovak citizen is not limited in the purchase of real estate in Croatia and can be owned as a natural or legal person. This does not only apply to agricultural and forest land, which foreigners or foreign legal entities cannot buy.

Purchase Procedure

Rezervační smlouva (rezervacejski ugovor) / Future Purchase Agreement (predugovor)

A person interested in buying a property, as an expression of will and genuine interest in the purchase, concludes a reservation contract (rezervjski ugovor) or a straightforward future purchase contract (predugovor). A reservation contract is now concluded practically only when the seller is a foreigner living outside Croatia, or a Croatian emigrant also living outside Croatia, and it is not possible to sign a future purchase agreement directly with the seller or agent. The reservation contract is concluded with a Croatian real estate agency authorized to do so by the seller and usually receives a small deposit of approximately EUR 5,000 in cash. The reservation contract anticipates the conclusion of a future purchase contract, exceptionally equal to the purchase contract.

The future purchase agreement deals with the exact purchase conditions, including the method of payment of the purchase price. When signing this agreement, the agreed first installment of the purchase price of the property, usually 10% of the price, shall be made directly to the seller, unless both parties agree otherwise. If the buyer withdraws from the pre-contract, the deposit is usually forfeited unless the reason for the withdrawal is a legal defect. If the seller withdraws, he is obliged to return to the buyer up to twice the amount paid by the buyer. This contract is not usually signed with verified signatures.

OIB (personal identification number)

For the purchase of real estate it is necessary that the buyer, natural or legal person, has an OIB – personal identification number, which is necessary for communication with the authorities, at the time of buying the property primarily with the tax office and department of the relevant district court and land registry. The OIB is processed while you wait (forms available online can also be sent in advance by mail and the OIB can be picked up at the counter of the relevant tax office), usually just before signing the purchase contract. Without the OIB, it cannot be registered as a new owner and the OIB must therefore be part of the sales contract.

Purchase contract (kupoprodajni ugovor), declaration of payment of the purchase price (tabular statement)

The purchase contract is concluded after the purchase has been formally approved by the buyer’s lawyer, who checks the necessary documentation for the property. By signing the purchase order, either the purchase price already paid is confirmed, or the purchase contract stipulates by which the rest of the purchase price must be paid. In the first case, the tabularna izjava (declaration of payment of the purchase price) is part of the contract; in the second case, this declaration is only signed after the actual payment of the purchase price. By paying the purchase price, the buyer becomes full owner in accordance with the provisions of the purchase contract.

Depositing, tax office

After its conclusion or payment of the purchase price, the purchase contract is handed over for deposit at the Land Register Department of the competent court (this department is similar to the Czech Land Register). Deployment takes from a few weeks to several months (normally more than half a year), depending on the speed and modern equipment of a particular department. Usually, urgency is given several times during this process. After depositing, either by filling in a special form or in more modern options, automatically by an in-house process, a formal notification of the change of owner to the respective land register (similar to the Czech Land Survey Office) is submitted.

No later than thirty days after the signing of the purchase contract and, where applicable, the declaration of payment of the purchase price, a real estate transfer tax return must be filed. The assessment and taxation have no causal link and the payment of the tax does not therefore depend on the completion of the taxation. Then within 90 days of filing the tax will be assessed by the Office (this is not the rule, but sometimes it will be inspected, usually the older property, inspection commission, which determines the tax base). The tax can be levied on land and apartments on agreement, while waiting at the counter, especially if it is a foreign buyer. The tax notice is sent to the buyer to the address of permanent residence or registered office.

Costs

The estimated cost of buying a property in Croatia is:

  • real estate transfer tax (3%) – only for „second-hand“ real estate, for new buildings (not older than 2 years from final building approval and is not used yet) buyer does not pay tax-
  • Legal fees and other fees associated with the purchase (approx. 1% + VAT on the price of real estate legal services + hundreds of HRK for stamps and verified notary signatures)
  • provision 3% of the purchase price as a rule (at least 2000 EUR, VAT is not charged when using a Czech office)
  • optionally translations by a sworn interpreter
  • exchange differences, if the seller is a Croatian citizen (ie not a foreigner or a Croatian immigrant with dual citizenship), the purchase price, usually in EUR (formally expressed in HRK according to the central rate of the HNB) is paid to his account in Croatia, EUR, because it is the purchase of real estate will be forced exchange, when the incoming payment in EUR is transferred first to HRK and then back to EUR, the seller may demand a cash balance of the resulting exchange rate difference
  • notarial custody is rarely used in Croatia, it is important to know that if the buyer insists on it, the buyer pays it (the price depends on the amount and time of custody) and also pays the exchange rate differences, because it is necessary to know that any amount sent to the notary’s account is always exchanged automatically to HRK and the notary sends the seller the amount in HRK

Costs related to the operation of the property in Croatia:

  • property tax to local government
  • municipal fees (0.5-2.5 EUR / m2 of usable area / year)
  • service costs (electricity, water, telephone, cleaning, etc.)
  • real estate insurance

Buying a property in Italy

The Czech or Slovak citizen is not limited in the purchase of a property in Italy and can be owned by both natural and legal persons.

Purchase procedure

Reservation of property (Proposta d´acquisto or Offer)

The person interested in the property will give a written offer to the owner through the intermediary. If the owner accepts the offer, the buyer will deposit a reservation deposit called “Caparra Confirmatoria”, usually EUR 10,000-20,000. The execution of this transaction will result in a legally binding act, so that if either party withdraws from the reservation, either party may enforce the sale / purchase or return of the deposit to the buyer / forfeiture of the deposit to the seller and damages if the transaction does not take place due to the seller, the buyer may require payment of up to twice the deposit.

Future contract (Compromise or Preliminary contract respectively Preliminary advice)

Usually from a few days to three months, after the reservation deposit is signed a future contract. When signing this contract, 10-20% of the price of the property consists of a future purchase contract solves the conditions of sale, precise cadastral description of the property, at this stage the commission is paid to the broker „Provvigione“.

Notary property transfer record (Rogito or Atto Notarile)

Within 30-45 days after the conclusion of the future purchase contract, the property is valued by an estimate, while the notary examines all legal and property documentation for the property. This is followed by a notarial deed on the transfer of real estate (purchase is possible only by a notarial deed). The notary also verifies the documentation for the disposal in the local land register and in the cadastre „Conservatoria dei Registri Immobiliari“. The buyer pays the rest of the purchase price, receives a copy of the purchase contract and keys. The notary will also provide a purchase announcement form for the local quest.

Costs

The estimated cost of buying a property in Italy is:

  • Real estate transfer tax 9% for so-called second housing, or VAT for new buildings of 10% on property price
  • Notary fees usually 1.5-2% of the value of the property plus the registration fee in the land register and in the land register (eg in Liguria EUR 168 each)
  • Legal fees usually 1-2% of the purchase price or hourly rate

Costs related to the operation of the property in Italy:

  • IMU (real estate tax): 0.76% of the cadastral value of the property
  • TASI (tax on maintenance of roads, sidewalks, street lights ..): 0.1-0.33% of the cadastral value of the property
  • TARI (garbage collection tax): calculated from square meters. If your property is part of a complex or community, you pay a municipal fee. Furthermore, common charges for water, electricity, gas, or property insurance.

Buying a property in Portugal

A Czech or Slovak citizen is not limited in the purchase of a property in Portugal, and may be owned by a natural or legal person. One of the specifics of the Portuguese market is that many properties are owned by off-shore companies, which affects, for example, the amount of real estate tax.

Purchase process

As a future owner of a property in Portugal, the buyer must be assigned a tax identification number. A pre-purchase contract is usually signed prior to the purchase and the buyer pays a deposit of usually 10% (if the buyer withdraws from the contract, the deposit is forfeited, if the seller withdraws from the contract, compensates the buyer for its losses twice the deposit). If a candidate buys a property during the construction phase, it usually pays in installments according to the construction process.

The notary does not act in the interest of the buyer or the seller, his main mission is to ensure that the whole legal process of sale and purchase is correct. Company Mediterránea REI advises the buyer of a local independent lawyer who will take care of a number of issues related to the purchase, such as:

  • verify the accuracy of all documents relating to the property,
  • verify that the seller is the real owner of the property,
  • find out whether the property is not subject to easements or outstanding obligations of the original owner,
  • verify that all necessary building permits have been issued for the property,
  • ensure that the purchase contract is not disadvantageous for the buyer,
  • prepare the documents necessary to transfer the property to a new owner and register in the land register
  • prepare documents that determine the amount of taxes and fees related to real estate

The entire property purchase procedure can take several weeks to months. In some cases, the buyer must be present directly in Portugal in order to be able to make payments and take part in negotiations with a notary. A legal representative may be empowered for such matters, subject to the agreement of the other interested parties.

Costs

Costs related to the operation of the property in Portugal:

  • local real estate tax ranging 0.4% -0.8% of the cadastral value
  • service costs (electricity, water, telephone, gas, cleaning, etc.)
  • real estate insurance
  • accounting costs

The estimated cost of buying a property in Portugal is:

  • property transfer tax, which depends on buyer status and property price
  • legal services fees (usually 1-2% of the purchase price of the property)
  • notary fees (approx. 0.5% of the purchase price of the property)
  • for individuals, the real estate transfer tax is calculated according to the following table:
Property price (EUR)Tax rate (%)Deductible amount (EUR)
Below 81,6000%0
From 81.600 to 112.2002%1,632 th most common
From 112.200 to 153.0005%4,998 th most common
From 153,000 to 255,0007%8,058 th most common
From 255,000 to 510,0008%10,608 th most common
Above 510,0006%not deducted

legal services fees (usually 1-2% of the purchase price of the property)

Notary fees (approx. 0.5% of the purchase price of the property)

Buying a Property in Greece

A Czech or Slovak citizen is not limited in the purchase of a property in Greece, and may be owned by a natural or legal person. Only on the island of Rhodes requires (formal for EU citizens) the consent of local authorities (due to the proximity of Turkey).

Purchase Procedure

Tax identification number, bank account

The first step in the process of buying a property is to set up a tax identification number and then open an account with a Greek bank.

Reservation agreement 

The selection of the property is usually followed by a reservation contract, in which the client pays a deposit of 10% of the price of the property (if the buyer withdraws from the contract, the deposit is forfeited.

Future sales contract  , sales contract

The future purchase contract is compiled when purchasing a property under construction. Purchase contract for completed property. The purchase contract is concluded with a notary in the presence of lawyers of both parties and a court interpreter, while the buyer’s lawyer checks the property documentation before buying the property.

Immediately before signing the contract, real estate transfer tax is due, the amount of which will be determined by the notary on the basis of the fair value of the property. The notary will not allow the transfer of the property if the ownership certificate is not correct, as well as, for example, if the seller fails to submit a confirmation that all liabilities to the state have been paid. Immediately after signing the purchase contract, the notary will ensure registration in the land register.

Costs

The estimated cost of buying a property in Greece is:

  • real estate transfer tax (3%)
  • VAT on new buildings (24%) – only on new properties
  • notary fees (1.2%) of the value of the property plus the registration fee
  • legal services fee (approx. 1-2%) of the purchase price
  • local tax (3%) on transfer tax
  • commission for local real estate agency (3% + VAT)

Costs related to the operation of the property in Greece:

  • local property tax 0.25-0.35 per fair value
  • property tax (luxury property)
  • service costs (electricity, water, telephone, gas, cleaning, etc.)
  • real estate insurance

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Buying a property in Spain

A Czech or Slovak citizen is not limited in the purchase of a property in Spain and can be owned by both natural and legal persons.

Purchase procedure

NO, bank account

The first step in the process of buying a property is to process the NIE and opening a bank account, as the buyer can only pay the purchase price through his account with a Spanish bank.

Reservation agreement

The selection of the property is usually followed by a reservation contract, in which the buyer pays a deposit of usually 5-10% of the price of the property (if the buyer withdraws from the contract, the deposit is forfeited). The reservation contract itself deals with the method of payment, including payment of taxes and fees associated with the purchase of real estate. The Bank will issue an Initial Banking Certificate to the Buyer, which proves that you have deposited the money necessary to pay the purchase price, taxes and fees, or that you are preparing a mortgage contract with the Bank.

Notarial deed of property transfer (Escritura de compraventa)

The seller of the property, together with an authorized representative of Mediterránea REI prepare a notarial deed of ownership of the property, Escritura de compraventa, which is the only contractual form of acquisition of the property, and is drawn up by a notary. The deadlines and amount of individual installments of the purchase price of the property are included in these minutes. The actual signature of the registration, or at the same time a mortgage contract is also signed. From that moment on, the property becomes the property of the client, who can dispose of it freely. Immediately after making a notarial deed on the ownership of a property, the notary applies for registration of a change of owner in the land register, which usually takes place within 4-6 months (up to 20 months for development projects under construction). However, the signed Escritura de compraventa itself is proof of ownership. Notary fees and taxes associated with the transfer of property are paid by the notary and are always paid by the buyer.

Costs

The estimated cost of buying a property in Spain is:

  • real estate transfer tax (8-10%) – only for „second-hand“ real estate, the amount depends on the province and in some provinces also onthe price, or VAT of 10% of the price of real estate for residential housing and 21% of real estate prices for commercial real estate
  • costs of notary fees and other fees associated with the purchase (approx. 3%)

Costs related to the operation of the property in Spain:

  • property income tax
  • local property tax
  • property tax
  • community fees (150-250 EUR / year)
  • service costs (electricity, water, telephone, gas, cleaning, etc.)
  • real estate insurance
  • The fee for the insertion of the purchase contract into the real estate register – is scaled according to the price of the property.
  • State tax (so-called stamp) amounting to 0.5% of the purchase price.
  • Notary fees around 1% of the purchase price.
  • Legal fees (no lawyer required) 0.5 – 1% of the purchase price.
  • Real estate agency commission 0% – 3% (including VAT) of the purchase price.
  • Taxes and deposit fees are calculated by the notary when drawing up the purchase contract (Escritury).

Buying a property in Florida

A Czech or Slovak citizen is not limited in buying a property in Florida, and can be owned as a natural or legal person.

Purchase procedure

Escrow account

The first step in the process of buying a property is to open a bank account with a US bank. When investing or buying an off-plan property (in the design phase), the first step is a booking agreement where the buyer pays a deposit (typically $ 2,000 – $ 20,000). The deposit is payable to the escrow account (similar to a notarial deposit) and is fully refundable. The purchase contract is prepared within 1-6 months and includes complete documentation for the future property. When signing the contract, 10% of the purchase price of the property is usually payable (minus the reservation deposit paid), also to the escrow account.

Closing

The deposit is fully refundable within 14 days of signing the contract. The contract also stipulates payment terms – usually the second 10% of the purchase price of the property is payable within 3-6 months, the remainder of the purchase price is payable only at the closing – transfer of the property to ownership (similar to the notarial record of the property transfer). At closing, the buyer may be represented by an authorized person.

On closing day, the buyer becomes the owner of the property. It is necessary to apply for a mortgage loan about 1 month before the expected closing date.
Registration in the Land Register is usually done within 1-3 months after closing.

When buying a second-hand property, after opening a bank account and selecting a property, the first step is to inspect and professionally estimate the price of the property. A mortgage loan is applied for and closing is being prepared.

Costs

The estimated cost of buying a property in Florida is:

  • Closing costs (approx. 1-3% including mortgage loan processing

Costs associated with running a property in Florida:

  • local property tax (2-3% of the cadastral value of the property per year)
  • service costs (electricity, water, telephone, gas, cleaning, etc.)
  • real estate insurance
  • Property income tax (in case of rental)

Costs associated with selling a property in Florida:

  • Closing costs (approx. 0.5-1% of the selling price of the property)
  • Commission (approx. 6-7% of the selling price of the property)
  • Income tax
  • FIRTPA tax (withholding of 10% of the price of the property – the balance is refunded after paying the income tax)

Mediterránea guides clients through the entire process of buying a property, from opening a bank account to closing and possibly other services (bookkeeping, tax consultancy, etc.). The purchase or investment property can be made through Mediterránea without the buyer’s personal presence in Florida.

We currently do not recommend short-term investment in real estate due to excess supply over demand.

The decline in property prices in the USA in the last year has made the purchase of real estate more attractive for Czech and Slovak citizens. A very interesting investment opportunity is the so-called „short sales“ and „foreclosure“, which are recently very often declensioned terms in the language of real estate brokers or investors. A short sale occurs when the owner is unable to repay the bank’s mortgage loan and agrees with the bank on the possibility of selling at a price lower than the outstanding debt. The process of approving a bank’s sale is not easy and may take more than 2 months. „Foreclosure“ is the sale of a property already owned by the Bank. Selling such a property can be very fast, often approved by the bank within 2 days of the offer.
The prices of properties sold in this way are around 30-50% of the peak prices (2007-2008).