Do you live and work in Poland? You’ve decided to buy an apartment or a house and you will need a mortgage? I’m going to show you, step by step, how the whole process looks like.
This post is about buying in the secondary (second-hand) market, that is when you buy a fully finished property which has already been inhabited. If you want to buy property from developer (primary market) go to twin post: New flat from developer & mortgage loan – in 7 steps
1. Check your mortgage affordability
This should be the starting point. Meet with the mortgage broker, you will learn first of all what is your credit affordability, in other words how much credit you can get, so that you know what apartment is within your reach.
You should also know how much of a down payment you have to make and what additional costs you will incur in connection with your credit and purchase. If you already have a credit history in Poland, you should download the BIK (Credit Information Bureau) report and see what your credit score is.
The sooner you check your credit affordability, the better. I once met a client who has already signed a preliminary contract to buy an apartment. This was our first meeting. It turned out that he lacked affordability and had to close the credit card, and the repayment of the card was associated with considerable expenditure, for which he was not prepared. If we had met for example 2 months earlier, he would have had more time to prepare extra cash and would have saved himself the trouble. It’s just one example.
If you do not use mortgage broker services, you will need to single out several banks with the best offers by yourself and then go to each of them for a meeting to check your creditworthiness and get all the information you need.
2. Find your dream apartment / house
Don’t act in haste! The more apartments you see, the better. However, before you set off on apartment tours, you will definitely start by browsing the internet. Otodom.pl, gratka.pl, OLX.pl – are examples of websites with lots of offers.
As you begin to compare the offers, you will soon realize that most of these advertisements are placed by real estate agents. Before the agent shows you the first apartment, he or she will ask you to sign the contract. The agent will also prepare and present you some customized offers tailored to your needs.
The agent will also help you to go through the paperwork related to the purchase transaction and will check the legal status of the property. If you don’t speak Polish and you don’t know the market, it may be of great value to you. How much will it cost to hire an agent? Look for one who doesn’t charge a commission to the buyer. Otherwise, you can expect that the commission will be within the range of 1-3% (remember you can negotiate it).
If you find an offer which doesn’t involve a real estate agent, you should know then how to check the legal status of the property on your own.
If you have already found your dream property, my congratulations. You can go to the next step.
3. Apartment found – sign a preliminary contract
By signing a preliminary contract with you, the seller undertakes to reserve the property for you for a set period, e.g. 2 months. This is the deadline to which you and the seller are obliged to meet at a notary’s office and sign a sales contract.
You agree on the amount of deposit with the seller (customary about 10% of the total price).
The deposit secures the both parties of the transaction. If you do not appear before a notary at the deadline, you will lose the deposit. In case the seller does not fulfill his/her obligation to transfer the real estate to you, you are entitled to a double refund of your deposit.
Two types of preliminary contract can be put in place: in the form of an ordinary civil law agreement or in the form of a notarial deed. An agreement in the form of a notarial deed better protects your interests as a buyer, but you will have to bear the cost of a notary.
4. Apply for a mortgage
Once you hold the signed pre-contract in your hand, you can submit your application for a loan. In fact, applications, because most people apply to more than one bank.
Together with my client I apply simultaneously to three banks. Applying to three banks will protect you against the risk that one of them will reject your application, because according to the Polish banking law, the bank may reject the application in any time without giving any reason.
I also assume that you have already prepared all the additional documents you will need to submit together with your mortgage application. You will receive a list of documents from your mortgage advisor or from the bank if you don’t use mortgage broker services.
Credit applications for a mortgage loan must be submitted immediately after the conclusion of the preliminary contract in order to have the loan completed before the end of the deadline. You do not want to lose your deposit, right?
It shouldn’t take longer than 4-6 weeks to complete the loan application process (from submitting an application to signing an agreement with a bank). With a mortgage agreement in your hand, you can go to the last step, i.e. signing the final notarial deed.
5. You sign a notarial deed and you become the owner of the apartment
On the completion date, you appear in the notary with the mortgage agreement. The notary will tell you what documents to prepare and what fees you will have to pay. The main cost associated with the purchase of real estate is the PCC tax (civil law transactions) of 2% of the purchase price.
The notarial deed must be delivered to the bank, then the bank will transfer the money from the loan to the account number of the seller provided in the act. Once the seller receives the payment, the keys are handed over. Simple, isn’t it? 🙂
In this post I wanted to give you only a general outline of what the whole process of buying an apartment on credit in Poland looks like. I know you have tons of questions on this topic – the answers you will find in other articles on this blog. If you still come up with any questions, feel free to send your emails to: firstname.lastname@example.org – I will surely write back or just leave your question in the comment.
Finally, I would like to ask you for a favor. If you found this post useful, please share it if you know anyone interested in getting a mortgage in Poland as a foreigner. I will be grateful.