Poland has become an attractive destination for foreigners to buy property due to its stable economy, growing real estate market, and relatively low prices compared to other European countries. However, buying property in Poland can be daunting, especially if you are not familiar with the local legal and administrative procedures. In this article, we will provide a guide for buying property in Poland as a foreigner.
I personally bought a building plot in Gdansk and it took me about 2 years to find it, check it, sign a preliminary contract, and then the final one. But don’t worry, it doesn’t usually take that long – I was just very fussy and cautious. I learned a lot during this time and that’s what I want to share with you here.
Overview of the property market in Poland
Poland has a thriving property market, with many new developments and affordable prices compared to other European countries. Warsaw and Krakow are the most popular destinations for foreigners looking to buy property. The average price per square meter of a new apartment in Warsaw is around 13,600 PLN (approximately 2,900 EUR), while in Krakow, it is around 12,000 PLN (approximately 2,600 EUR). The average building plot price in Warsaw and Krakow is about 2000 PLN per square meter. The recent inflation caused the prices to fall a bit or at least stagnate, but as the interest rates stopped rising, the expectations are that property prices will rise again. Therefore, buying property in Poland may be a good investment.
Legal requirements for buying property in Poland as a foreigner
Since Poland joined the EU the answer to the question “Can foreigners buy property in Poland?” should be divided into two parts.
For foreigners from EU Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland
Foreigners based in EU countries have no limitations in buying property in Poland. They have exactly the same opportunities as Polish citizens. Buying property in Poland as a foreigner based in EU involves the same activities as for the locals. Just be prepared to translate your documents others than ID that you need to present to the notary.
For foreigners from outside the EU
Foreigners other than above are allowed to buy property in Poland after they obtain a permit from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration. The permit is usually granted within 2-3 months and is valid for 12 months.
To get a permit, prove your ties to Poland. You can indicate that:
- you have Polish nationality or origin;
- you have a wife or husband who are Polish citizen;
- you have a residence permit, either temporary (this does not apply to a temporary residence permit for victims of human trafficking or due to circumstances requiring a short-term stay of a foreigner in Poland), or permanent, or as a long-term EU resident;
- you are a member of the management board of a controlled commercial company;
- you are engaged in business or agricultural activity in Poland, in accordance with the provisions of Polish law.
You don’t need a permit if you want to buy
- An apartment that consists of rooms and auxiliary rooms (e.g., kitchen, bathroom) and provides you with adequate housing. Such an apartment may also include, among other things: a basement or an attic, even if they are not located directly next to it;
- a building intended for a garage – if you, as a buyer or owner of real estate or an apartment, want a garage to provide you with adequate housing;
- real estate – if you have lived in Poland for at least 5 years after obtaining a permanent residence permit or a long-term EU resident permit;
- real estate that will become part of a community of property – this is the case if you have a wife or husband with Polish citizenship and have lived in Poland for at least 2 years since obtaining a permanent residence permit or a long-term EU resident’s residence permit;
- real estate from a person who has owned or perpetually used it for at least 5 years and you are, on the date of acquisition, entitled to inherit from that person (e.g., a daughter, son or grandson acquires real estate from his mother, father or grandparents);
- property as a mortgagor (bank) – when you take ownership of the property after an unsuccessful auction in foreclosure proceedings.
A permit may be obtained by visiting the Ministry or sending request by post.
Finding the right property in Poland
There are many ways to find the right property in Poland, including online portals, real estate agents, and property exhibitions. It is important to do thorough research and inspect the property before making an offer. If you are not fluent in Polish, it is recommended to hire a translator or an attorney who can help you with the paperwork and negotiations.
Online portals with property offers in Poland
There are many online portals, either dedicated to selling properties, or with universal ads. The most popular are:
Otodom is dedicated to properties of any kind – plots, apartments. It is free for those who intend to buy, but you need to pay if you want to put an ad there. You may set up e-mail notifications on new ads that fulfill your criteria. Otodom is widely used by real estate agents. It is in Polish only.
Just like Otodom, Domiporta is dedicated to real estate ads. It is free for buyers.
Morizon is another portal with ads, just like the two mentioned above.
Olx is a big portal with ads in every category, not only real estate. There are ads put by agents, but also a lot from direct sellers.
Skaner is a portal that aggregates notifications about debt collectors’ auctions. This may allow you to buy property at a discounted price, but sometimes bids go higher than you would expect.
How to check the property before buying it
You should know, that some agents are really unprofessional. They may give you misleading information, either because they don’t check the property, or they just want you to close the deal for which they are paid. They are supposed to help you with the deal, but sometimes they just do nothing. If you contact an agent about the property and then buy it even without his help, he’ll still get his fee paid by the seller.
How to check an apartment
It is easier if you buy it from a developer and it is brand new. If you buy it when it’s already built – have someone with experience check it. If the walls and floor are straight if the windows have no scratches. If it’s not OK, wait until the seller deals with it.
However, it is very popular to buy an apartment before it is built. The money you pay should be paid to a deposit account and the seller can’t get this money unless you agree that the apartment is OK – it is worth having it checked by someone once it’s built. You should have some delay fine in your contract, in case the apartment is ready later than promised.
If you buy an apartment from somebody, make sure nobody is living there at the moment of transaction, or if there is someone living, make sure to have it in the contract, that they leave at the specified time. Making someone leave your apartment is difficult in Poland and takes time.
How to check a building plot of land
Check our article on how to buy land in Poland.
Need help in buying plot of land in Poland?
If you found an ad for an interesting plot and you are thinking about buying land in Poland, we may help you.
Why you might be interested in our help if the ad is put up by a real estate agency?
A real estate agent, if professional, will be of great help. He should have checked the property, and if something goes wrong, he should be insured to compensate you for the loss. In fact, they often haven’t ever seen the plot they are advertising, and take photos from the seller or from Google. They also check nothing else than the registry.
Usually, their salary (3% of the price) is paid by the seller. But of course – the seller has already included that commission in the price. Contacting the seller directly may save you up to 3% of the property price.
If you contact the agent, he will take note of your name – after that, even if you contact the seller directly, he has to pay a commission if you buy from him within 1-3 years.
The agent earns only if you buy the property, so he has an interest in talking you into making an offer. We have no interest in that.
What can we do for you?
- If you don’t know exactly which plot it is in the ad, we’ll try to find it based on the information given. We will then try to find contact info to the owner
- If you provide us with the registry number, we’ll investigate the registry to see if there’s anything you should worry about.
- If you don’t know the registry number, we’ll try to find out what it is.
- We’ll check the whereabouts to see if there is anything that may influence the value of the plot
- We’ll check the information about new buildings/roads that were announced to be built in the nearest area
- We’ll check if the plot is equipped with utilities, and if it’s not, where the closest utilities you may use are.
- We’ll check the development plan for the plot and neighborhood, to see what may be built on the plot.
- If the plot is close to Gdansk, we will visit it to see if there is anything that is not mentioned in the ad. We will send you detailed pictures.
- We may check visually the quality of the ground to see if there are any obvious risks. We’ll ask the neighbours about their experience when they were constructing their houses
- We’ll verify all the data in the ad.
- We’ll check if there are any data of drills in the neighbourhood to make sure that it is safe to build here
- We will check anything else that you might need.
If you want us to help you, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call or Whatsapp at +48 798 897 017
Financing Your Property Purchase in Poland
Foreigners can obtain a mortgage from Polish banks, subject to certain conditions. Typically, banks require a minimum down payment of 20-30% of the property value and proof of income. It is recommended to shop around and compare mortgage rates from different banks to find the best deal.
Closing the Deal and Transferring Ownership
The only way to buy property in Poland is to sign a notary act in the notary office.
Transaction often includes a preliminary contract and paying a non-refundable deposit (zadatek). This gives you time to prepare the money, at the seller has time to prepare the necessary documents. Once the preliminary contract is signed and the deposit is paid, the buyer and seller need to sign the final sales contract (umowa sprzedazy) at the notary notary. If the seller refuses to sign the final contract, he needs to give back twice the value of the deposit. The buyer then needs to pay the remaining amount and the notary fee (usually around 1-2% of the property value). The property ownership is transferred to the buyer once the transaction is registered in the Land and Mortgage Register.