Nov 29, 2023

TOP 3 Mistakes Made When Buying a Property in Czechia

Robin Petrasek

Robin Petrasek

Buying a property in another country is simply not as easy as ordering food delivery through a phone app. That is a fact.

The Czech Republic might not be the simplest when it comes to bureaucracy, language, and banking so today I want to share the three biggest mistakes I see expats (but also Czechs) make when buying a property, so you do not have to go through the same again!

Oh – and one really, really bad idea to end with, something you should NEVER EVER do…

Mistake Number 1: Not using a lawyer when buying a property.

This is something I cannot get my head around and usually Czechs are worse at this than expats. The story goes like: “No, why should I need the lawyer, I think the contract looks OK. I asked my friend who works in…”

I am not speaking just of purchase contracts either, but even the first reservation contract, which you sign when you want to take the property off the market.

Recently I heard a story “I need a lawyer, I signed a contract and now there is a problem since the seller is doing XYZ”. Better late than never, however, if the contract is already signed, there is very little you can do.

Long story short, use a lawyer and let them revise the contract before you sign anything!

Mistake Number 2: Trusting the agent on the property size (m2) without verification and valuation.

The flat is 60m2 is what you see on sreality.cz or similar websites. But somehow, it feels smaller. And then you realize that it is actually including 5m2 of cellar. And it was 59.1 m2, it just looked better on sreality.cz as it was rounded up to 60.

This information you should request to see in an official document from the seller, such as a utility bill from the SVJ (Home owner’s association of the building), original purchase contract, or founding document of the building itself.

A similar option would be to have the bank valuation done if you buy using the mortgage before you sign a reservation contract.

For purchases for my clients in Prague, most often we do online valuation which takes only one to two days. If in person, then it’s about one week. The agent might be pushing for the reservation but I simply call them and explain we’re not comfortable signing upfront because there’s a risk we will get a lower valuation later. Since it’s only a matter of a few days, give us the necessary documents, we’ll check with the bank, and then we can move forward.
Works like a charm!

Mistake Number 3: Trusting your own bank is the best for a mortgage.

I have heard too many times that people think they cannot get 90% financing without permanent residency or because they are older than 36. Other common things include that people think banks don’t accept income from overseas or that they cannot get 90% financing if they are not EU citizens.

Over the last 10 years of working with expats, I heard most of these stories and my comment is very simple: did you check with all the banks?
Of course not. Who would want to spend their time finding English-speaking mortgage bankers and explaining their situation over and over again? This is the job of mortgage advisors which is why I like to say that speaking to a mortgage advisor is like speaking to all the banks at once.

My last comment on this mistake: Loyalty in terms of banking is hardly appreciated. If you are with the bank for 10 years, do not expect any better conditions than anyone else would get. Very often we just go to different banks since they are cheaper than our home bank.

And the last thing… the thing to NEVER EVER do:

Never send the money directly to the seller’s account when you buy a property (unless it’s a developer).

If you are using a lawyer, then they would not allow that for sure. For this reason, there is an escrow account in place, which makes sure the seller gets the money only when you are the rightful owner.

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