I’ve already covered this topic to some extent in my previous post: Buying property in Poland step by step. And while we have to admit the purchase process looks more or less the same, there are some differences between primary and secondary market and it’s good for you to know what you sign up for when you decide to buy your own property.
It starts the same.
First you need to find out if there are any restrictions for you when buying a property in Kraków, or the whole country for that matter, but let’s concentrate on this beautiful city :). If there are none you can go ahead and search for properties (if there are restrictions remember that you need to obtain a permit to purchase – but this can be done only once you’ve chosen a property that you want to get). It’s great if you can buy one with your own funds, if not I recommend checking your creditworthiness first – this will let you determine your budget and focus on properties that you actually might be able to get.
Searching for a perfect place might take a while. New developments in the city centre are usually insanely expensive. Unsurprisingly the more affordable ones are outside of the centre. Go around the city and check for yourself which localisation works best for you.
There are basically two options when it comes to new developments: buying a finished property or buying something that we call a dziura w ziemi – a hole in the ground 🙂 What’s that you might ask? It’s buying a property that hasn’t been built yet. As compared with a finished property where you can go and see for yourself how it looks like on the outside, go inside and try to picture yourself living between those walls, with the second option you have to make the decision to buy based on the plans to build a building. You can imagine how it will look like, but you’ve got years to wait before you will get the keys.
You might ask why would anyone buy a property they haven’t even seen yet? The answer is easy: money. When buying at the early stages you can count on a lot lower price per square meter and that’s what a lot of people want.
Is it safe? Not really, if you make an uninformed decision. But here is a few things you should do when buying a new development (and frankly speaking you should do all those things whether your property is already finished or is still just a drawing on a map).
According to the Property Act from 2012 any customer may require a developer to provide them with information prospectus regarding the development. You can find there information about:
- developer’s previous investments
- court execution proceedings against the developer, if any
- legal status of the land the building has been / will be built on
- area development plan
- if the investment in question has got all necessary permissions
- what is the investment realisation date
- who is funding the investment (e.g. is there a trust account? which bank?)
This information will give you an idea of the potential risk you’re taking. Just to give you an example: if the development has a trust account, even if the developer goes bankrupt you will still get your money back. You should also ask about building permit and access to the Land Register, not to mention all information about the property you are especially interested in, like for example the finishing standard.
If this is done, you chose your property and you feel pretty safe about it, you can go ahead and sign the preliminary contract. Mind you, it might take months before you can actually get the keys to your place.
When it comes to the contract itself, what to look out for? Apart from the standard and rather obvious things like the address of the property or its price, you should take special note on the deadlines (like e.g. when are you supposed to make the wkład własny payment – own financial contribution, when will you get the keys, what are the consequences if this deadline is not met by the developer, what happens if the property is not entirely the same as planned – different size? this one is important when you’re buying that hole in the ground kind of property).
Once the building is finished and you get the keys you need to sign a delivery protocol. It’s a super important step – you need to check the property against what you read in the information prospectus. Pay attention to the finishing and whether it’s up to the standard agreed on in the preliminary contract, check the size of the rooms and quality of installations, doors, and windows. It would be best if you could get some technician to go there with you!
What’s next? If the credit process has finished as well, you can go ahead and sign the final contract – and finally start decorating 🙂