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Housing in Slovakia

Buying a Property

There are no legal restrictions on foreigners buying buildings in Slovakia. Unlike the Czech Republic, foreign nationals are permitted (and encouraged) to purchase property in Slovakia directly and in their own names. It is not necessary to establish a corporate entity in order to do so. As of May 2004 virtually all restrictions to the purchase of property by foreigners were abolished, with the exception of agricultural land and forest land.
Bratislava's real estate costs are still among the lowest in Europe but are increasing. Since it joined the European Union, Slovakia has seen a marked increase in the commute-to-work population as nearby Vienna is just 40 miles away. It is possible to buy a relatively inexpensive property in Bratislava while maintaining well-paid (by comparison) employment in Austria, and this trend is likely to increase substantially when border controls are relaxed as proposed in 2007 or 2008.

Some recent estimates (May 2005) suggest that property values are on the increase more rapidly than previously expected, at about €1,400 per square meter, with yearly advances of almost 20%. A standard one-bedroom flat in a nicer Bratislava neighbourhood can be in the range of €70,000, but they rarely make it to the market before being snapped up by investors. Returns on rentals can be as much as 10%. Financing is readily available through the larger Slovak banks, which are quite eager to lend foreigners money for real estate mortgages.

It is important to consult a reputable local attorney with experience in foreign real estate transactions in order to get all necessary documentation, surveys and government registrations completed properly. Once a property has been chosen, the buyer is expected to pay a 10% of the purchase price as deposit to secure the property and for the legal processes to commence. At this time, the pre-purchase agreement is signed between parties.

In case the buyer changed his mind after making the deposit, he is then responsible to pay for any expenses incurred by the agent. This is done by deducting the expenses incurred by the agent from the deposit and the balance is given back to the buyer. In the case the seller changed his mind, he is responsible to pay any expenses incurred by the agent and the deposit is fully returned to the buyer.

Next step of the process is the preparation of the property report by a surveyor, who then furnishes a copy to the solicitor so that the latter can now prepare the final contract. The contract is then signed by both parties, and the buyer now pays the balance to the seller.

The Cadastral Register (kataster nehnutelnosti) discloses the property owner, and indicates the extent to which the land is encumbered with mortgages and other forms of legal servitudes. Currently, all Slovak agencies require the seller to provide a Kataster paper that contains the legal state of the property before selling.

The paper cannot be older than three months to safeguard the buyer from any legal disputes. It is advisable that the buyer requests a copy of this paper before paying the rest of the balance. The title deeds are then transferred to the buyer's name after a period of four weeks.

Notaries are not necessary before registry.

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