Buying a house in Poland

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Buying a House in Poland

buying house poland
step by step house purchase

Step-by-Step guide to buying your house

This step-by-step guide to the order in which to progress towards your house purchase in Poland will hopefully be useful to you.

It took us over a year to complete our purchase of a house in Poland (because I had to obtain Polish citizenship to do so) but now that it is finalised and written into the land registry we can theoretically relax.. .

We have encountered some problems - most of them down to beaurocracy and lack of communication.

An early problem was the attempt to transfer the gas billing for the house to our name.

The estate agent informed me that he had arranged for the bill to be transferred and sent all required documents to our local gas office. On arrival, the man behind the counter didn't know anything about these documents and since I didn't have any of the house purchase legal documents with me, could not transfer the bill to my name. Logically, who on earth would be prepared to pay anyone else's bill?

Anyway, there was a gap of 2 months until our next visit because of prior commitments. Before our return, the gas company was threatening to cut off the supply. We later found out that a record had already been created at the gas board office but the man behind the counter knew nothing about it because it was his female co-worker who had arranged it and she was on holiday when we called. The record was on computer - we'll leave it up to you to decide what the problem could have been...

Similar problems involving the telephone .... at least I was able to solve these problems because I speak some Polish but God help those who cannot! I would strongly recommend that any non Polish native who cannot speak Polish very well, pays an English/Polish speaker to help arrange all bill payments at the front end to make life easy. You don't require a sworn translator, just someone who can understand and speak both language well. These people do not cost a fortune and are worth their weight in gold. You may find that your estate agent will be able to provide such a person if you ask. There is always someone in the family with a good knowledge of English. Many young Poles have experience of working in the UK, Ireland or the United States and like to demonstrate their language skills.

Do please share your experiences and any words of warning if you have already completed on a purchase.

One step at a time

  1. Find suitable properties - use the Polish search engines and Polish vocabulary to help you. Maps of Poland by region are also useful
  2. Make a short list of properties
  3. Book your flights in advance to view properties - various airlines from the UK
  4. Contact estate agents in question and arrange convenient times to meet. We found that some estate agents would only take us seriously if we were willing to appear in person to register our interest with them and some were not willing to show people around who did not have Polish citizenship. In fact - some were downright rude - it did not seem to occur to them that the very people they were being rude to today may be potential customers in the future. The phrase 'customer service' does not mean anything to most Poles as yet. This is especially helpful or useful to people from abroad.
  5. View properties
  6. Open a Bank account in Poland and transfer funds to ensure that you have the money in place. Possibly raise a mortgage to pay the balance when purchase is completed. Various account options including Euro accounts are available in Poland.
  7. Make your offer, and once accepted sign agreement with notary. Please note that your estate agent will arrange this and all final steps for you.
  8. If your offer is accepted prepare documents for your permit (only if you do not have a Polish passport and are buying a house rather than an apartment). The rules regarding permits vary depending on which part of Poland you wish to buy in, the type of property and whether it is going to be your main residence or not, whether you're investing through a business, or for tourism purposes.
  9. Arrange for payment of balance and final signing at Notary.*A 2% purchase tax on houses is payable to the Polish Government via the notary.

* Our notary warned us that the Tax Department could theoretically challenge the amount of tax paid and demand more if they thought there was an underpayment. I understand this regarding a plot of land we looked at; the estate agent selling that particular plot explained that although the actual price for the plot of land was 150,000 zloty, the owner wanted the agreement at the notary to be made for 50,000 zloty and the rest to be paid in cash. This they explained was because the land had only recently been given building permission and had changed from a 'rolna' or green field plot to a 'budowlana' building plot, and they wanted to sell before the 5 year period after which tax is not paid. They reckoned that it would not be worth selling if they had to pay 40% tax due on that purchase. I could understand that in this case the unsuspecting foreigner could find that they are saddled with the tax bill themselves. I would recommend that you do everything legally, stricly by the book, and use professional estate agents.

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