Buying and registering property in Latvia
The Baltic state of Latvia is popular with foreign buyers for its low prices, historic atmosphere and quiet appeal. Citizens of other countries are welcome to purchase property in nearly any location excluding border areas, the protective belt of the Gulf of Riga and the Baltic Sea as well as sheltering lines of other bodies of water, farmland and forests. Foreigners can, however, lease this land for up to 99 years.
How it works in Latvia:
1. Find a property. A local real estate agency offers properties that match your preferences as a buyer. The city, district and your budget are the main things to take into account. Once you have found one or more options that interest you, the agency will arrange viewings. Don’t hesitate to ask your real estate agent any questions about the property, payment procedures or potential discounts.
If you are looking to obtain a residence permit, you will need to spend at least €250,000 on your property. Your real estate agent can help you set up an investment plan and do the necessary legal checks if you are looking to obtain residency in Latvia.
2. Check the property. Your real estate agent will conduct the necessary checks regarding potential encumbrances, tax and mortgage arrears on the property.
3. Open a bank account. As a buyer, you will have to open a bank account which costs about €500. You may also be eligible for a mortgage in Latvia.
4. Sign the preliminary sales contract and pay the deposit. Now that you have a bank account, it’s time to sign the preliminary sales contract and make a down payment amounting to 10% of the purchase price.
5. Apply to buy the land (if applicable). As a foreign citizen, you may need to apply to the local authorities for the right to purchase the land in certain cases which will take up to 2 weeks. Your real estate agent will let you know if this is necessary.
6. Do the due diligence. The local Land Registry (Zemesgrāmata) needs to be checked for records proving your property is registered. You can get this information from one of the 28 Land Registry offices in Latvia or online at Zemesgramata.lv. Any property up for sale must be registered with the Land Registry office.
7. Sign the final sales contract. The sales contract will be drawn up by a lawyer, then you and the seller will be asked to sign it before a notary. You will be charged a notary fee of
8. Register with the Land Registry. This takes quite a few documents but only 10 days to process and a total of just 14 days to receive excerpts confirming your ownership. In order to register the property in your name, you will need the following paperwork:
- notarised application;
- sales contract;
- proof of the seller's sole ownership or spouse's sales consent;
- acquisition approval delivered by the local authorities for property subject to restrictions under the laws: On Land Privatisation in Rural Areas and On Land Reform in the Cities of the Republic of Latvia, or a document proving that you are exempt from any restrictions on land acquisitions;
- receipt proving payment of the stamp duty charged for registering your transaction;
- receipt proving payment of the clerk’s charge;
- power of attorney: original or certified copy if you have acted by proxy.
The stamp duty is 2% of the largest sum paid; this can be either the value recorded on the land register or the purchase price specified in the contract. The clerk’s charge for formalising the property rights is only €15 and the fee for a certificate of ownership from the Land Registry is €7. A lawyer or your agent will be able to advise you further on this.