Estonia is a small Baltic country that has many opportunities to purchase real estate in rural and urban areas. Though a mostly straightforward process, foreign investors are required to overcome a few bureaucratic measures before they can purchase real estate in this country.
Attorneys and Real Estate Agents
It is recommended to hire a real estate attorney who is fluent in Estonian and in your native language.
A good real estate agent can help research ideal properties for the buyer, but is not necessary.
Rules, Regulations and Restrictions
There are a few legal restrictions that foreign investors must overcome to purchase property in Estonia.
Foreign individuals must be granted permission to buy property from the local authorities. There are also restrictions on foreigners buying over 10 hectares of woodland or agricultural property, in which they must ask the local governor in that given region. Foreign individuals may not purchase real estate anywhere on the Russian border, or on smaller islands off the coast.
First, the foreign buyer must get permission and make sure that all clears with the local government.
Next, this individual must make an offer to the seller. Upon acceptance of this price, a pre-purchase protocol document must be drawn up, either by the buyer, seller or notary public. This acts as a sales contract; the buyer should then put down a deposit, which is generally 10% of the final purchase price. This document must then be notarized; it is an official document in which neither party can back out of its requirements.
After the pre-purchase protocol is signed by the buyer and seller, the notary public must prepare the Transfer of Ownership of Real Estate. Both parties must sign this document at the notary’s office. The buyer must then pay the stamp duty for this transfer at an Estonian bank.
The buyer must then submit a notarized application to the Land Register to transfer the property title. The property can then be recorded, and the title is legally transferred into the name of the buyer (there are no deeds in Estonia). This transaction will be forwarded to the Official State Gazette.