It is possible for foreigners to buy real estate in Latvia, and the process is not overly complicated. There are a few restrictions when foreigners want to buy land, but they are nothing majorly hindering.
Foreigners should be aware that the initial selling price for a given property will likely be the price they will end up paying, and bargaining is not usually executed. This is generally the same in the other Baltic states.
Attorneys and Real Estate Agents
In Latvia, it is customary for the notary to deal with most of the real estate procedure. The notary is the person responsible for holding deposited money, making sure that everything is right with the property title and making sure that there are no hidden fees that have to do with the real estate.
A good real estate agent can be helpful when researching properties in Latvia, but is not necessary.
Rules, Regulations and Restrictions
There are a few restrictions on foreign ownership of property in Latvia, but it is overall an easy process. If a foreigner wishes to purchase land in Latvia, the local municipality is required to approve this action. Non-residents of Latvia cannot buy land within state boundary areas, land that is along the Riga, land that is along the dunes of the Baltic Sea, land in the protective zones of public reservoirs and rivers, or land in restricted agricultural or forest zones.
First, the foreign buyer must settle on a piece of property and let the seller know this decision. Then the initial contract for sale should be drawn up and signed by both parties. Upon these signatures, it is customary for the buyer to put down a deposit, typically 10% of the selling price, to the notary.
After this, the buyer should have engineers inspect the property to make sure that there are no potential problems. The notary will also research the property’s title and see if there are any confusions associated with it.
Once everything clears, the final contract of purchase should be drawn up, and the buyer and seller should sign this in presence of the notary. The title of the property will then be transferred to the buyer. This title must then be filed with the land registery bureau. Foreign property buyers are also responsible for paying the State duty and notary fees.