What is the ski property purchase process like in Austria?
The purchase process in Austria is relatively straightforward and streamlined. It usually follows these steps:
- Your offer: The first step is usually to sign an Offer to Purchase for the property ("Kaufanbot"). This is a brief document that sets out the details of the property, the agreed price and payment schedule, as well as all ancillary taxes and fees related to the purchase. The property is then taken off the market.
There is no deposit payable on signing of this document, but it is nevertheless a binding agreement, so you should have all your finances prepared (make sure you have a valid mortgage offer in hand or funds ready to access in case you pay in cash). The Offer to Purchase is prepared by Domus Global in collaboration with the vendor.
- The documentation: Once the Offer is signed by both parties, the notary will start preparation of the Deed of Sale ("Kaufvertrag") and all ancillary documentation. This usually takes between 2 and 4 weeks. The Deed of Sale will typically include an extract from the Land Registry, all details of the property and the mechanism of the escrow account ("treunhandkonto").
The escrow account is a secure payment mechanism often used in property purchases which ensures that buyer's money is safely held in the lawyer´s/notary's account controlled by the relevant chamber and only reach the vendor once the property is fully transferred.
Other documentation will include KYC ("know-your-client) confirmations, PEP ("politically exposed person") form and other documents that may be required regionally. If you are purchasing a "Tourist Residence", you will also need to sign the "Operating Agreement" ("Betreibervertrag") with the professional management agency which will set out the terms and conditions of their services and the use of the property (incl. the agency's commission, duration of the contract, restrictions on private use, etc.). Usually, there is also the "Building Management Agreement" ("Verwaltungsvertrag") with the building manager / caretaker which outlines operational matters in the building (e.g. management of communal spaces, utilities, owners' meetings etc.) and in apartment buildings a contract that sets up the condominium (Wohnungseigentumvertrag). Domus Global will assist you in getting through the documents answering any queries. We will also arrange for translations in English or your language.
- The signing: Only the Deed of Sale requires a certified signature by the buyer. This means you can either come to Austria and sign at the notary's office or; at the Austrian Embassy / Consulate where officials have the required authority to certify your signature.
- Payment: After both parties have signed the Deed of Sale, the owner usually has about 2 weeks to transfer the funds (including fees and taxes) into the escrow account held with the lawyer/notary. For off-plan properties where there is a progressive payment schedule, escrow account is used as well and at each payment date you will be notified. The lawyer/notary will then proceed with the registration at the Land Registry - the timeline can vary between 2 weeks up to 3 months. There is just one original of the Deed of Sale which the Notary will send to the Buyer after the registration is completed.
- Property Handover: Buyers can usually arrange a formal handover of the property once payment is completed / once notified by the notary. This is an important moment to learn everything about the day-to-day functioning of the property, utilities, booking of private stay etc.