Buying property in Austria
Are you a fan of skiing in the Alps? Do you love the Imperial history of Austria with its wonderful baroque architecture? Have you always dreamt of living close to the roots of Mozart? Centrally located in Europe, but with a rather moderate climate, Austria offers you both thriving urban cities like its capital Vienna or Innsbruck and serene countryside and beautiful lakes near Salzburg, or famous ski resorts like Kitzbühel in the mountains. Highly secure and idyllic at the same time, it’s a wonderful place in which to spend holidays and a lifetime. Austria’s solid real estate market offers you the possibility to buy a property there rather easily. We invite you to view how buying a property in Austria works in the following guideline.
Buying property in Austria as a foreigner
There are no restrictions to EU citizens. Non-EU foreigners need to go through approval procedures that differ depending on the state where the property is located. There are also specific restrictions for buyers regardless of their nationality for the purchase of a second home in Austria. Please note that these restrictions may vary in each state. Non-EU citizens need to go through an approval process for the purchase of a property in Austria. In order to reach the approval, applicants need to fill out a form, hold a valid passport and present a declaration of intended usage. Additionally, a draft of the contract, a current land registry record and a site map will have to be provided. It’s advisable to check with the local authorities before applying.
How it works with real estate agents in Austria
In Austria real estate agents need a licence in order to be able to work in their profession. To achieve the required certificate, real estate agents have to pass a qualifying exam. Austrian brokers work for both buyer and seller, and are therefore also paid by both parties. This means the broker has responsibilities concerning both parties and has to make sure to preserve the interests of both parties and remain neutral.
How to buy property in Austria
Potential buyers should be careful to express possible uncertainties in their intention to purchase, as an oral contract - even concluding behaviour - can be binding.
A preliminary agreement is not common in Austria as an oral contract based on consensuality is already binding. If a preliminary agreement is made, the buyer keeps his claim on contracting only for a year.
In order to officialise the purchase of a property in Austria, there are two steps. One is the buying contract, called “Titel”. The second part is the entry into the land register which is known as "Modus". This is also the point when the payment for the transaction is usually due. Therefore, a written contract with verified signatures is necessary. A Notary will draw up the sales contract on behalf of both parties. Please note, it is usual practice in Austria that the Notary acts for both parties and is seen legally as an intermediary for both buyer and seller. It is advised for a foreign investor to hand over the payment to either a lawyer who is a member of the Treuhandbuch, cooperation of Austrian lawyers, or to the custody account of a notary. The money will be handed over to the seller once the entry into the land registry has been made. Please note that the cancellation of a deal without any costs often is not possible in Austria. If investors need the option to redecide, this possibility of cancellation or precedent conditions should be included in the buying contract.
The whole purchase process may take several months until the property is legally transferred to the new owner.
Closing Costs in Austria
Property Taxes in Austria
Annual property taxes are calculated as of the tax unit value of a property, which is usually ⅕ of the market value of a property. However, it’s highly advisable to ask your local tax accountant for detailed advice.
How to get a mortgage in Austria
Foreigners may obtain a loan in Austria. Usually loans are taken out to finance up to a maximum of 70% of the property. Certain documentation may be required to apply for a loan, thus it is best to consult your local bank for further information.