Insider Tips for Expats on the 2023 Czech Real Estate Market

You’re in a different country, with a culture you may not be overly familiar with, a language you don’t fully understand, and levels of bureaucracy that can be a nightmare to navigate. Is it really worth buying a property?

This is a thought I hear from many clients and while buying property, especially your first property, can be an incredibly daunting task, it’s not so complicated as it might seem. After all, even Mount Everest can be conquered, all it takes is one step at a time.

In this article, I will give you a quick overview of the steps involved in purchasing a property in the Czech Republic to help you navigate the process.

Step One: Knowing what you want

An obvious starting point maybe, but taking the time to figure out want you want can help make the rest of the process much more efficient.

By this, I mean where you want to live, what kind of local amenities are important to you, whether a development project with a long lead time is right, or whether you want to buy an existing property.

At the same time, it’s important to be considering your financing options and talking with a mortgage broker about what you can realistically afford, and get from the bank. Obtaining mortgage offers and ultimately deciding which one to go for can seem like a lot of work but the good news is that professional mortgage advice is free, so make the most of it!

Be sure to check the current state of the market too – check online to see if your desired properties are in your budget. It’s common at the moment that it might be cheaper to rent for awhile longer, rather than buying.

Step Two: Property hunting

For more people I speak with, this is probably the most daunting step of the process, locating the right property.

It’s true that many deals are still done offline and some of the best properties aren’t even advertised, other than by word of mouth, which is why I always advise my clients who love the property they are renting to check in with their landlord to see if they are considering selling – you never know!

Other than that, there are some websites such as sreality and Idnes that allow you to apply filters to your search to make it easier, you can add watchdogs and set yourself notifications.

Once you have found something you like, I would advise you to consider a professional building inspection to help avoid nasty surprises later in the process, and to involve a lawyer who can conduct proper due diligence and review contracts.

Step Three: Closing the deal

If you’ve completed the previous two steps, you’re now in a position to start negotiating the final wording of the contract and finalizing all the other paperwork such as the mortgage agreement with the bank.

It would always advise seeking legal advice at this stage, if not earlier, to make sure you agreed with the seller what remains in the property and when to expect the keys and handover.

Pro tip: triple-check the spelling of your name and anyone else’s name on these official documents. It’s the number one cause of delay at this stage of buying a property.

Another pro tip: check the property with the bank valuer prior to signing. This is important to make sure the bank will give you the necessary amount for the mortgage as it could be that they value the property differently to the price you have negotiated. More information here.

Once these things are done, it’s time to sign the paperwork, transfer the money, and ensure you are fulfilling the mortgage drawdown conditions.

Step Four: Finalising the paperwork

Another step that at first seems daunting for non-Czech-speaking expats given the bureaucratic nature of this step, but it’s easier than it sounds.

All you need to do now is…

  • Register the change of ownership with the land registry and wait for 20 days in case of other claims to the property (which are not common),
  • Change all the utilities into your name,
  • Register your new address (if you plan to live there) with the foreign police and maybe your own country’s embassy,
  • Register at the tax office to pay property tax and then…
  • Celebrate! You’re now a property owner in the Czech Republic.

So while it might seem like a long and complicated process, navigating the real estate market in the Czech Republic can really be boiled down to four steps, and I hope this clarification has made it easier for your readers, and perhaps encouraged some of you to seek out property ownership.

A final thought about navigating the market: is now the right time to buy?

As I wrote in my last article, it’s true the market is changing and even if mortgage interest rates are higher now than they have been in the last few years, property prices seem to be decreasing, at least in the case that properties are sitting on the market longer than before and therefore, sellers are willing to negotiate on prices.

If you want to discuss the current state of the market, or you’d like a digital copy of my full guide to buying a property in the Czech Republic as an Expert, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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