In my previous post Buying a property in Poland step by step I have already provided you with an overview of how the process looks like. It was more of a general overview though; as you can imagine there are differences between buying a new development and buying a second hand property. In this post I will elaborate a bit more on how you buy from secondary market.
For both primary and secondary market the process starts exactly the same.
Being a foreigner you need to first check whether or not you can get a property in Krakow / Poland, as there might be some restrictions (e.g. for non-EU citizens its ok to buy a flat, but if they want to get a house they need to obtain a permit to purchase). Once that part is off your chest you should check your financial ability – great if you can buy a place with your own funds, if you need to take a loan though I highly recommend checking your credit worthiness before you start looking for a property.
The search process might take a while as Krakow offers a huge range of secondary market flats and houses. But once you choose the one you like… here is what you need to do.
Technical state of the property
The old buildings, you might imagine, have old gas installations and plumbing system. Check with the owner if the installations have been fixed or exchanged, if so ask them to show you a document as a confirmation of when and what exactly has been done.
It might be that the staircase or the facade are in a very bad condition. If it’s a kamienica or an old block of flats, check with administration whether they are planning to do any repairs. The same goes for the roof. If you’re buying a house, a leaking roof will be a huge problem. But when you’re buying an apartment, even if it’s on the ground floor, all the tenants in the building will chip in when the time comes for the roof repair.
The owner & the Land and Mortgage Register
Check if the person who you’ve been dealing with has got the rights to the property and indeed can legally sell it. Ask for a notarial document confirming the ownership.
Ask for a copy of the registration of ownership right in the Land and Mortgage Register. If you have the number of the księga wieczysta (register) you can go ahead and check it under this link. You will find all necessary information about the property in that document: the address, size, number of rooms, but also who is the legal owner of the property. You can also see if the current owner took a mortgage to buy that place and if so, from which bank.
Well, watch out for that.
You will see some listings that will sound like real bargain to you. Great flat, perfect location, and this price… usually 20-30% lower than other properties in the same area and same size. What’s the trick?
Personal easement is when there is a tenant in the property (unfortunately very often it’s a grandmother or grandfather of the seller) who has been guaranteed a right to live in that property for the rest of their life. They will be paying their bills of course, but you cannot remove them.
Such information should be included in the listing. Quite often though it will be conveniently omitted in order to attract potential buyers. If you have the kw number (księga wieczysta) you can check if there are any easements registered (chapter III).
You can ask in the administration for information about any planned repairs in the building. Also check with them if the current owner isn’t late with any payments. If they are, well, after a few months it will be a lot more difficult to get them to pay whatever needs to be paid.
Everything checked? You still want to buy that property? Go ahead and sign the preliminary contract. Make sure all important information is there: the address, size and price of the property, a list of items the current owner leaves for you. The amount of the zadatek (advance payment). The date when the current owner needs to leave the flat and hand you the keys. Also, they need to deregister whoever was registered in the property.
Then you are ready to sign the final contract in the form of a notary act – and you can enjoy moving in! 🙂