Choosing the agency
As exclusive contracting is not common practice in this part of Europe, many agencies share up to 90% of the property on their books with other agencies. Experience has shown us that working with multiple agencies often results in visiting a particular property more than once, which means time and money wasted. In view of this fact, it is advisable to remain with a single quality agency, such as At Home, for the entire home search process.
Choosing the area
Before choosing your neighbourhood, we strongly recommend you to consider your family′s future requirements. Important factors such as office location, proximity to schools, local amenities, as well as unpredictable elements - like a continental climate - may largely determine your choice of location. Do not hesitate to ask for advice from your At Home agent.
Visiting the property
When visiting a property we recommend you to remain neutral and avoid sharing personal opinions or other information regarding the property with the owner as this may reduce your chances of a positive outcome. It is generally recommend that you leave all negotiations to your agent.
Purchasing a property in Hungary
The first step to be taken when you decide upon a property, is to make a written bid to the owner. The answer should come within about a week. If the offer is accepted, you will need a lawyer to check the status of ownership with the Land Registry Office and guide you through the process of purchase. Perhaps your agent may recommend one. When the ownership status has been clarified, a 10-20% deposit should be paid and the Contract of Purchase signed. The solicitor will then send the contract to the Land Registry Office where your name will be registered on the index attached to the title. This is done to prevent selling the property to further parties or acquiring a mortgage covered on it. In case of inability to be present during the purchase process, it is possible to authorize someone to act on your behalf. This authorization must be signed by a notary. After the agreed price has been fully paid, the authorized person may then take possession of the property.
Formal requirements of a sale contract
- The contract shall be in a written format
- All contracts shall be signed by an attorney, a legal counsel, or a public notary
Without the above mentioned the land registry office will not register the acquisition of property.
Obligatory contents of a sale contract
The provisions prescribing the obligatory content of contracts are the same in all cases, from among which we outline only the most important elements. These elements shall be complied with by the proceeding attorney, legal counsel or public notary.
- Personal details regarding both parties (the forename and family name, date of birth, mother's maiden name, residential address, as well as personal identification number of the concerned natural person; the name, registered seat, statistical number and registration number of an organization having statistical identification number);
- the particular and specific details of the property concerned (name of the settlement, topographical lot number);
- the declaration of the parties concerning nationality;
- the date and place of execution;
- initials of all parties in contact with the contract (including witnesses) on each page, in case of documents consisting of several pages
Other important matters to be included in the contract
- Schedule of payment
- Possible mortgage
- Name of the bank issuing possible mortgage
- Time of acquisition
- Movables to be left in the property
Matters to be considered
- Buying a property as a private person requires an authorization from the Public Administration Office. This costs approximately 200 Euros and takes 30-60 days to process.
Buying a property as a company requires the establishing of a company in the country in question.
- Companies may be established by local or foreign nationals or legal entities.
- Headquarters must be located in the country in question.
- The articles of incorporation and the deed of foundation must be signed by each registered member of the company.
The articles of incorporation must specify;
- Company name
- Location of headquarters
- Names and addresses of members
- Business activities of the company
- Amount of equity capital and its availability
- Method of company registration
- Names and addresses of officers
- Cessation of the company (if established for a fixed period of time)
- Solicitor fee (approximately 0.75% of purchase price)
- Acquisition duty (depending on purchase price)
- Quite probably the best route is to form a Limited Liability Company. Establishing a Limited Liability Company requires a minimum amount to be deposited in a local bank.
- Fees to be paid by the buyer;
Some important advice
Important rules – minimizing fraud
- choose a reliable legal representative
- read every document
- act with due care and prudence
Choosing the legal representative
It is of great importance to choose a reliable legal representative. The appropriate legal representative, due to his/her reliability and professional knowledge, enhances the smooth transfer of the property's the title of ownership.
The buyer should have a contract drafted by their own legal representative, if the parties chose to use the legal representative of the seller, the buyer should ask his/her own legal representative to review the draft contract before execution and conciliate regarding any changes of the draft. Even a single word may fundamentally change the meaning of the text.
It is advisable to choose a legal representative to oversee all land registry procedures as well as drafting the contract, in order to eliminate further problems.
Reading and interpreting the documents
Reading and interpreting documents commences with the property′s title deed, containing the name of the owner, the identification of the property, the main data, encumbrances, etc. The title deed must not be older than 30 days. (This is important, since changes of the property's conditions may be effected even on the day of executing the sale contract, excluding the acquisition of ownership or cause long litigation). A competent lawyer will check the title deed on the day the contract is concluded or before payment of the purchase price.
In addition to the title deed, the deed of foundation also contains important data in a property sale. The deed of foundation clarifies exactly what belongs to the property.
Always make sure to read the final version thoroughly regardless even if it differs little from the original draft, to eliminate later misunderstandings and typing errors. Sparing a few minutes may avoid years of litigation or even the loss of the property.
Acting with due care and prudence
The ownership title may be acquired only from the owner, who in case of properties is the person registered as such in the property register. Although the proceeding attorney at law or public notary is obliged to check the identity of the parties, it is highly recommend to pay close attention to the identification documents of the seller.
Due to the frequent occurrence of fake documents, a few additional questions and perhaps a little additional effort may largely reduce the chance of fraud.
Obligations of the seller
The seller shall inform the buyer about all material features and important circumstances of the property, in particular to occasional rights and encumbrances affecting it. Moreover, the seller shall provide the buyer with the documents concerning such circumstances, rights and encumbrances.
In case the seller fails to fulfill such obligations, the buyer may;
- claim compensation the purchase price
- rescind the contract
- claim compensation damages
The buyer may not claim compensation for damages in case failing to check conditions in the property register.
It is important to read the title deed thoroughly, possibly using professional assistance, since overlooking even one registration may cause significant damages.
The seller shall warrant transfer of the title deeds of ownership and the encumbrance free status. The buyer may claim for freeing the property of encumbrances, or make the property free of encumbrances himself at the cost of the seller.
Encumbrances shown in the property register are:
- right of usufruct
- prohibition against alienation and encumbrance
- easements; rights of execution, mining rights, etc
The right of usufruct
In case the property is encumbered by right of usufruct, usually the person entitled to the usufruct is also a contracting party, waiving his rights in return for a form of compensation. The approval of the person entitled to the right of usufruct is not a condition to the validity of the sale contract, however in case of a life long usufruct the entitled person may use the property until the end of his life. Pay the purchase price or the last part thereof only after the person entitled to usufruct waives that right.
In case the real property is encumbered by mortgage the sale contract may be valid even besides the continuation of the encumbrances. No statement of approval is needed from the person entitled to the mortgage. According to practice, the seller undertakes responsibility to clear the property free of encumbrances within a limited period of time, or the buyer pays the part of the purchase price needed to make the property free of encumbrances to the attorney at law proceeding in the case.
The amount of encumbrances and the person and method of paying them shall always be included in the contract. (This is important because the amount shown in the property register usually shows the amount of the capital debt existing at the time of registration and not at the time of the legal transaction).
Prohibition against alienation and encumbrance
The prohibition against alienation and encumbrance may be found, mainly for the purposes of securing mortgages, on the title deed of the property. A contract concluded during the existence of a registered prohibition against alienation and encumbrance is considered null and void.
In case of a prohibition against alienation and encumbrance securing a contract of inheritance, the future heirs must be in agreement with the contract. Note that the right secured by the prohibition against alienation and encumbrance is always shown in the real property register and that related documents are also available at the land registry offices, where the exact conditions are registered. It is advisable to hire professional legal assistance, since understanding the exact conditions means studying the contracts and various documents basis for the prohibition against alienation and encumbrance.
The expenses of the sale contract
The seller shall bear the expenses in connection with the delivery of the property, the clarification of the status shown in the property register (payment of the debts secured by mortgage, etc.), and possible taxes in connection with the property.
The buyer shall bear the expenses of concluding the contract (lawyer's fee, etc.), the government duty connected to the acquisition of the ownership, as well as the costs related to the registration of the change of the ownership in the property register (the government duty is correlated with the property registration procedure).
The parties are free to divert from the above rules of division of costs and may agree otherwise.
The market price of lawyer's fee is between the 0,5 and 1,5 % of the purchase price of the property. In certain cases where the percentage does not reach a certain amount, a minimum fee could be determined by the lawyer.
The price of services of shall be fixed according to the Ministry of Justice Decree depending on the value of the case.