EU and EEC nationals are now allowed to buy property in Austria on the same basis as Austrian nationals, without seeking permission from the local authority. However, property purchases by nationals of other countries still have to be approved by the local authority, although the eligibility criteria have been eased in recent years. There are controls on house prices in Austria which mean that that there are no rapid price fluctuations.
Typical property prices in Austria range from around EUR90,000 for a studio apartment to around EUR150,000 for a larger apartment, and in the region of EUR350,000 upwards for a detached family house.
The normal procedure for buying property in Austria is as follow:
- Find a suitable property, usually with the assistance of a real estate agent, and arrange finance.
- Make a formal offer in writing via the estate agent. Attached to the offer document will be an itemised list “Kostenaufstellung" of all the purchase costs such as the purchase such as legal fees, estate agent fees, land registry costs and stamp duty, which usually total around 10% of the purchase price. Estate agency fees are set by law at 3% of the sale price, and are payable by both the buyer and the seller.
- The seller is required to accept or decline the offer within a specified period of time.
- Once the seller accepts the offer in writing by signing the document, it becomes legally binding and a completion date is agreed.
- At this stage, the buyer may be asked for a refundable deposit of 10% of the purchase price.
- Appoint a lawyer to conduct legal checks, draw up the sale contract and record your ownership of the property in the government land register. (n. b. it is uncommon to have a structural survey or valuation carried out in Austria, where properties are built to very high standards).
- The balance of payment for the property must be paid to your solicitor to be transferred to the seller, around 10 days prior to completion.
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Jamie Morris is the author of The Expat Focus Guide to Moving Abroad ; 130 pages of advice covering all the main issues which anyone moving abroad must consider before, during and after relocation to another country.
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