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Legal Issues You Might Face When Buying Property in Austria

August 02, 2022
2022-08-02
Who wouldn't want to buy their own a property in Austria? The country is beautiful, largely peaceful, has a rich history, delicious food, and fascinating culture to boot. If you ever choose to settle down here, you won't regret it! Especially if you own a home here. That'll make things a lot easier! Purchasing real estate in Austria isn't as intimidating a process as you might think. It does, however, come with a few legal issues you'll need to deal with. Paying the required costs is pretty common, as are signing the legal documents and facing liabilities on the property. It's better that you know a little about them now.

Legal Issues You Might Face When Buying Property in Austria


Can Foreigners Own Property in Austria?

Before you start purchasing a property in Austria, make sure you can legally do it first. For the most part, foreigners can legally buy real estate in the country. However, it also depends heavily on the district where the property is located. A good example is the Vorarlberg region. You can only buy real estate legally here if you're an EU citizen. In the Vienna area, on the other hand, they're more open to letting foreigners own property here. Especially if you're moving to the city and you plan to use the place as your main residence in the country.


The Real Property Rights in Austria

When you buy a new property in Austria, you have to register which real property right you want to attach it to in the Land Registry. This will let the authorities know how you intend to use the real estate upon purchase. According to Baker McKenzie, there are nine rights to owning real property in Austria. They include ownership, Hypotheken (mortgages), Dienstbarkeiten (easements), Reallasten (land rents), Baurechte (construction rights), Mietrechte (leases), Wiederkaufsrecht (right to purchase), Vorkaufsrecht (pre-emption right), and Veräußerungs-und Belastungsverbote (prohibitions of sale and encumbrance). You need to know which of these you plan to register the new property under.

Legal Issues You Might Face When Buying Property in Austria



The Ownership Structures in Austria

Here in Austria, there are three types of ownership structures you need to know about. The first is full ownership, wherein the listed homeowner gets all the rights regarding the real estate. They can use the property however they choose as long as it doesn't break any laws. Miteigentum, or co-ownership, is when the rights are equally-distributed between two or more people who retain ownership of the property. This is more common among married couples and family members. And third, there's Wohnungseigentum, which is all about owning an apartment in a building. In this structure, the ownership is divided between the homeowner and the building's owner/s.


Pay The Required Costs

Purchasing real estate in Austria requires you to pay a few important costs. Some of them include taxes and fees while others are commissions for the people you hired to help you. Also, some of them are taken from the final price you pay for the property while others are costs you have to pay even before you start the process. All in all, they include the property transfer tax, the VAT, notary fees, property registration, stamp duty, your real estate agent's commission, and mortgage fees. As long as you pay all of these, you won't face any legal trouble.

Legal Issues You Might Face When Buying Property in Austria



Drawing Up The Kaufanbot

Once you and the seller have agreed on a final price of the property, the next step is to sign the Kaufanbot, also known as the 'Offer to Purchase.' This is a legal document that details the info on the property, including both parties of the transaction, the agreed price, and the payment schedule. Although there's payment involved, it's nevertheless a binding contract. On your part, the kaufanbot serves as your 'reservation' of the property. Not only will it legally require you to commit to the purchase, but it will also let the seller take the property off the market.


Signing The Kaufvertrag

Two to four weeks after signing the kaufanbot—and when everything is ready on your end—it's time to sign the Kaufvertrag, which is the actual deed of sale. This is the final contract that essentially solidifies the transaction between you, the buyer, and the seller. It's also where you'll have to pay the deposit and start the mortgage on your new property. But do note that if for any reason, you can't be in Austria to sign the document yourself, you can authorize your lawyer to sign it in your place. This is why it's important to hire a trustworthy solicitor/notary!


Do Buyers Face Liabilities on The Property?

Needless to say, you need to read the contracts carefully before signing any of them. Especially when it comes to the info on the property. Why? Because if you sign the documents where any problems in the place are listed, it means you're aware of them upon purchase. And if any of these problems carry the risk of contamination and other effects outside of the home, you'll be liable to fix those problems as the new owner. This is despite the fact that these defects may have existed or possibly even been caused by the previous homeowner (the seller).

Legal Issues You Might Face When Buying Property in Austria


The process of purchasing real estate in Austria is no joke! It comes with a few legal issues that you'll have to deal with. As long as you know about them and understand what to do when you face them, you'll do just fine!




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