The government of Poland has opened its borders to refugees arriving from the ongoing war in Ukraine. So anyone who is escaping from Ukraine and reaches the...
Poland is a popular choice for UK expats and retirees, with nearly 5,000 Brits currently living there¹. If you own a home in Poland, and you’re thinking of moving house or heading back to the UK, read on.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about selling property in Poland. This includes a step-by-step walkthrough of the selling process, plus fees, taxes and other costs you’ll have to pay. Plus, any legal requirements or administrative hoops you’ll need to jump through.
We’ll even throw in a handy tip for transferring the proceeds of your property sale back to the UK. Use Wise and you won’t lose money to high bank fees and unfavourable exchange rates.
Let’s start with a quick look at the state of the Polish property market at the moment.
The coronavirus crisis has had a major impact on economies and housing markets all over the world, and Poland is no different. The country ended 2020 with its economy in recession for the first time in recent history². But despite this, Poland’s housing market has continued to flourish.
Before the pandemic, the country had been experiencing a rapid rise in house prices. There had been concerns that Covid-19 would stop price rises in their tracks, but that proved not to be the case.
In 2020, house prices rose by the second fastest rate in Europe³. And in October 2021, the Central Statistical Office (GUS) reported that residential property prices had increased by a huge 45.5% since 2015⁴.
If you’re selling an apartment in a major Polish city, you’re in luck. The average price per square metre of an apartment in Warsaw is now commanding a higher price than in Brussels or Bologna⁵.
Ultimately though, the decision to sell should be made only after researching the local market, looking at house price growth in your location and demand for your type of property.
While it’s not mandatory to use an estate agent to sell a property in Poland, it could be a smart decision. A good agent knows the local market inside out, and can sell your property faster and at the best price. They can also handle tasks like buyer viewings which may not be possible if you’re outside of the country. Lastly, an agent can help you navigate the legal and administrative paperwork involved with selling a home in Poland. However, you may also want to appoint your own conveyancing solicitor to handle the legal work.
When it comes to choosing an estate agent, be cautious and do your research. To avoid scams, make sure the agent is licensed and has the right insurance. Use a personal recommendation if possible, but otherwise you can find an agent through the Polish Real Estate Federation⁶ - the main association for real estate agents in Poland.
Now it’s time to put your property on the market, and start advertising activity to attract a buyer. If you’re using an estate agent, they should do much of this work for you. But otherwise, make sure you list your property on the most popular real estate websites and portals in Poland⁶:
Once you have a buyer and have accepted an offer, the next step is to draw up and sign an initial contract. This involves the services of a notary, usually paid for by the buyer. Bear in mind that many notaries will only speak Polish, so you may need to ask the buyer to appoint an English-speaking notary or bring in your own translator.
The notarial deed is the only form of contract that is legally binding, and it includes all the details, terms and any conditions of the sale.
With the initial contract signed, the buyer will pay you the deposit to reserve the property. Deposits for residential property purchases in Poland are usually 20%, higher than in some parts of the world. At this point, both parties will agree on a date for completion. The notary will start the necessary work of carrying out the required checks and searches.
You’re nearly there. The final step is to attend a meeting with the buyer, notary and respective conveyancing solicitors to sign the final contract of sale. The balance of the purchase price is paid by the buyer, and you as the seller must also present a document stating that there are no loans secured on the property.
You’ll hand over the keys to the buyer, and the notary will register the sale, which can take up to 33 days.
The time it takes to sell a home in Poland varies depending on where your property is located and demand for your type of property in the market. If there’s a lot of negotiation on the price between buyer and seller, or legal issues that need to be ironed out, it can take longer.
Another thing that can affect how long it takes is who you sell to. Non-EU residents need to apply to the Polish Ministry of the Interior for a permit to buy real estate. This can take anywhere between 2 weeks and 2 months⁸, so it could potentially hold up the sale.
The best way to improve your chances of a quick sale is to get your documentation in order, and appoint a conveyancing solicitor as soon as possible. The following tips can also help you to sell your Polish property faster:
- Take professional quality photos with good lighting
- List your property online in as many places as possible - you can even look into using social media and other digital marketing methods to advertise your property.
- Consider uploading a video or virtual tour of the property - since Covid-19, remote viewings have become more common in many countries
- Deep clean and declutter the property - depersonalise where possible, and take the time to ‘dress’ each room ready for viewings
- Consult local professionals for expert advice, to make sure you set a realistic yet competitive asking price.
Now we come to the most important part - how much it’ll cost you to sell a property in Poland. Let’s run through the main fees and taxes you need to factor into your overall budget.
The good news for sellers is that in Poland, the buyer pays many of the fees⁷. This includes the notary fee, as well as the registration fee.
However, there are still some costs to pay as a seller. These include the following:
- Estate agent fees. If you’re using an estate agent, you can expect to pay around 3% (plus VAT) of the final sale amount in commission⁹. Negotiation is common in Poland¹⁰ though, so feel free to haggle.
- Conveyancing solicitor fees
- One-off fees for an energy performance certificate for the property, plus a certificate proving that no one is registered to live there.
Alongside fees, there are usually taxes related to property sales. This is the case in most countries, but in Poland there is one main property tax affecting sellers. This is capital gains tax, also known as property sales tax.
Capital gains tax (CGT) is only payable if you sell a property within 5 years of buying it. If you sell it after this time, you won’t need to pay CGT or submit a tax return.
If you sell within 5 years, you may have to pay a property sales tax of 19%. There is a possible exemption though, if you spend the proceeds of the sale on the purchase of another property in Poland within three years.
The only other tax to be aware of when selling property in Poland is Value Added Tax (VAT). The buyer pays this on the purchase of the property, but you may also have to pay VAT on some of your costs. For example, the commission charged by your estate agent. At the moment, VAT in Poland is set at 23%.
The last thing to consider when selling property in Poland is how you’ll get the proceeds of the sale into your main bank account. If you don’t actually live in Poland, this’ll mean transferring a large sum to your UK account.
It’s critical to find the most cost-effective way to make this transfer. If you use your bank, you could lose a substantial amount along the way, thanks to high transfer fees and poor exchange rates. Banks tend to add a mark-up to the mid-market rate, which is how they make their profit.
Clever solutions such as Wise don’t do this. Send money from Poland to the UK with Wise and you’ll always get the real, mid-market rate. This is the fairest rate around, the one you’ll find on Google or currency sites like XE.com. What’s more, Wise only charges a small, transparent fee for international transfers.
When sending large amounts across the world, security will always be a concern. You don’t have to worry with Wise, as we useadvanced security and anti-fraud measures to keep your money safe. You can even track your payment as it makes its way from Poland to the UK.
Buying or selling property in another country is always tricky, as there’s a whole new system to get to grips with. There are legal rules to be aware of, plus fees and taxes you need to factor into your plans.
Hopefully after reading this guide, you should have a better understanding of the costs, process and legal aspects of selling property in Poland. Armed with this info, you’re all set to put your Polish property on the market and start attracting those buyers.
Remember to take care when choosing estate agents and other professionals to work with, making sure to look into their backgrounds and ask as many questions as you need to.
Sources used for this article:
- Migracje.gov.pl - demographic info
- CBRE - Polish real estate market
- Notes from Poland - real estate value
- The First News - residential property prices
- Notes from Poland - Polish house prices
- NAR - real estate practices around the world
- Global Property Guide - buying guide Poland
- Krakspire- buying property in Poland
- Simproperty - how to sell a property in Poland
- Bigdoor 24 - property agents
- Podatki.gov.pl - taxes for selling a property
Sources checked on 5-Nov-2021.
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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