When choosing a country for moving to permanent residence or for temporary residence, potential investors in foreign real estate are guided by a number of criteria. In some cases, in addition to the low cost of housing, the geographic location comes to the fore – in particular, the short distance from the “first home”, the absence of a language barrier and a calm political situation. Latvia meets all these requirements, about 35% of whose residents are ethnic Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians, and the majority of indigenous Latvians speak Russian fluently.
In addition, buying real estate in Latvia is much easier than in many other EU countries, if you keep in mind the procedure for conducting a purchase and sale transaction. Suffice it to say that the participation of a translator is extremely rarely required, since sellers, notaries, and employees of real estate agencies speak Russian and have already translated versions of all necessary documents. To this should be added the possibility of purchasing any objects that do not have land plots, without any restrictions. Otherwise, you just need to obtain permission from the authorities, which, in fact, is a formality that takes 2-3 weeks.
The entire process of purchasing real estate in Latvia lasts from one to three months, although if you have a mortgage loan, the time frame may increase. Conventionally, this process can be divided into the following stages:
1. Selecting objects on the Internet.
2. Study tour and viewing of selected objects.
3. Drawing up a preliminary contract indicating the terms and conditions of the transaction.
4. Payment of a deposit in the amount of 5-10% of the value of the property.
5. Opening an account in a Latvian bank.
6. Checking real estate for legal status, absence of debts and encumbrances.
7. Payment of the remaining balance by bank transfer.
8. Preparation of documents necessary for signing the final agreement.
9. Concluding a purchase and sale transaction, receiving keys.
10. Registration of real estate in the Land Register in the name of the new owner.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, this sequence of actions has undergone some changes due to the closure of borders and the reduction of movements between them. Thus, the share of clients making purchases online under a power of attorney for their representative/authorized person has increased significantly. Since viewing directly on the spot became impossible, they usually did without making a deposit and immediately concluded a formal contract. Accordingly, the time period from the moment of selecting an object to receiving the keys was significantly reduced.
Purchasing housing in Latvia also involves additional costs, which include a state fee of 2% of the price specified in the contract, office fees, fees for a lawyer, realtor and notary, as well as a fee of up to 200 euros for opening a bank account. However, if the buyer already has a bank account in any EU country, this can save both time and money. When purchasing a property in a new building, real estate agencies usually charge a fee from the developer and not from the client, although the law does not prohibit charging fees from both parties. In any case, additional costs in total rarely exceed 5% of the cost of the house or apartment, which is much less than in the vast majority of European countries.