Buying real estate in Belarus as a foreigner?

We've created a guide to help you avoid pitfalls, save time, and make the best long-term investment possible.

Buying property in Belarus as a foreigner: a full guide

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Everything you need to know is included in our Belarus Property Pack

Belarus is a popular destination for foreigners who want to invest in real estate.

It has stunning landscapes, a vibrant culture, and welcoming people. But purchasing property in a foreign country can be a daunting task, particularly when it comes to the laws and regulations.

This guide is here to help foreign buyers understand how the property market works in Belarus. It covers all you need to know in a straightforward and easy-to-comprehend manner.

Also, for a more in-depth analysis, you can check our property pack for Belarus.

Can you purchase and own a property in Belarus as a foreigner?

If you are American, we have a dedicated blog post regarding the property buying and owning process in Belarus for US citizens.

Foreigners interested in buying real estate in Belarus should be aware of several key points, which I'll explain in a conversational yet informative manner.

Firstly, it's important to understand that while foreigners can purchase residential properties in Belarus, there are restrictions when it comes to owning land. Generally, foreign nationals are not allowed to own land directly.

However, they can lease it for a long period, often up to 99 years. This means you can own a house or a building, but the land it sits on is typically leased.

Regarding the rights of foreign buyers compared to locals, the main difference lies in land ownership, as I mentioned earlier.

For residential properties like apartments or houses (excluding the land), foreign buyers have rights similar to Belarusian citizens. You can buy, sell, or rent out these properties.

There are no specific rules that vary according to the country you come from. Belarus does not differentiate between foreign buyers based on their nationality when it comes to real estate transactions. This uniform approach simplifies the process for all international buyers.

Living in Belarus is not a prerequisite for buying property there. You can purchase real estate even if you reside outside the country. This is particularly appealing for investors or those looking for a second home.

Regarding visas and permits, you don’t need a specific type of visa or residence permit to buy property.

However, if you plan to stay in Belarus for property-related matters or other reasons, you will need to comply with the country’s visa and immigration policies.

In terms of government authorization, while you don't need a specific authorization to purchase property, all real estate transactions must go through the proper legal and registration processes. This ensures the legality and validity of the transaction.

There isn't a minimum investment threshold for foreign buyers in general.

However, if you're looking into residency by investment or similar programs, different rules and minimums might apply.

Can you become a resident in Belarus by owning a property?

Belarus does not offer a direct residency-by-investment program specifically tied to real estate purchases.

This means that simply buying property in Belarus won't automatically qualify you for residency.

However, there are other pathways to residency that you might explore, and owning property could be a part of your overall profile when applying for residency under different criteria.

The common ways to obtain residency in Belarus involve employment, starting a business, studying, or family reunification.

If you're considering moving to Belarus, you might look into these options. For example, if you start a business in Belarus, owning property could be part of your business plan and investment.

However, the property ownership in itself is not a direct route to residency.

The requirements for residency usually include a valid passport, proof of income or employment, a clean criminal record, and sometimes a health check. The specific requirements can vary depending on the basis of your residency application.

Regarding the duration of residency, initially, you might be granted temporary residency, which typically needs to be renewed annually.

After a certain period, which varies depending on your situation, you might be eligible to apply for permanent residency.

Permanent residency is a step towards citizenship, but it's not automatic. Gaining citizenship would require meeting additional criteria, including a period of continuous residence, language proficiency, and an understanding of the Belarusian constitution.

The process and requirements for citizenship are more stringent and require a long-term commitment to living in Belarus.

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buying property foreigner Belarus

Market data

You can find fresh and updated data in our pack of documents related to the real estate market in Belarus.

If we check the the GDP per capita indicator, it seems that Belarusian people have become 0.8% richer over the course of last 5 years.

As people's wealth increases, their interest in real estate also grows, and that can make prices increase down the road.

If we check the data displayed on Numbeo, we see that residential real estate in Belarus offer gross rental yields between 3.0% and 5.7%.

These values for rental yields can be considered as "moderate", which means they fall within a reasonable range and are neither exceptionally high nor exceptionally low.

To know more, you can also read our dedicated article: is it a good time to buy a property in Belarus?

The life as an expat

Life as an expat in Belarus can be quite an adventure. The country is still relatively unknown to the rest of the world, so it can be an exciting place to explore and learn about. Belarus is a beautiful country, with a diverse culture and plenty of activities to enjoy.

The cost of living in Belarus is generally quite low, so expats can find affordable housing and other necessities. There is also a good selection of international restaurants and supermarkets, so it's easy to find food from all over the world. Public transportation is also reliable and inexpensive, making it easy to get around.

The people of Belarus are generally very welcoming and friendly, and expats should have no problem making friends and integrating into the local community. The language barrier may be a challenge, but there are plenty of language schools and courses available to help expats learn the language.

Overall, life as an expat in Belarus can be a rewarding experience. With its low cost of living, friendly people, and rich culture, it can be a great place to explore and learn about the world.

What are the best places to buy real estate in Belarus?

This table summarizes some of the best places to buy a property in Belarus.

City / Region Population Average Price per sqm (BYN) Strengths
Minsk ≈ 2 million 1,500 - 3,000 Capital city, cultural hub, modern infrastructure, employment opportunities
Gomel ≈ 500,000 900 - 1,800 Industrial center, historic architecture, affordable housing, green spaces
Brest ≈ 350,000 1,000 - 2,000 Border city (Poland), rich history, UNESCO sites, proximity to national parks
Grodno ≈ 350,000 1,100 - 2,200 Historic city, picturesque landscapes, cultural events, close to Lithuania
Vitebsk ≈ 360,000 900 - 1,800 Artistic heritage, Marc Chagall Museum, summer festivals, scenic riverfront
Mogilev ≈ 380,000 800 - 1,500 Industrial and cultural center, spacious parks, historical sites
Grodno ≈ 350,000 1,100 - 2,200 Historic city, picturesque landscapes, cultural events, close to Lithuania

Do you need a lawyer when buying a property in Belarus?

When purchasing a property in Belarus, it is advisable to engage a local lawyer to navigate the legal requirements and ensure a successful transaction.

One crucial document they can assist with is the Sale and Purchase Agreement, which is a legally binding contract between the buyer and seller, outlining the terms and conditions of the sale.

The Belarusian lawyer can also help with conducting a Title Search to verify the property's ownership status and identify any potential legal issues or encumbrances.

Additionally, they can guide you through the process of obtaining necessary permits and approvals from local authorities, such as the State Registration Chamber.

They will ensure that all relevant taxes and fees, such as the Real Estate Transfer Tax and Notary Fees, are paid correctly and in compliance with Belarusian laws and regulations.

What are the risks when buying a property in Belarus?

We've got an article dedicated to the risks associated with purchasing property in Belarus.

When buying a property in Belarus, there are several risks that may not be common in other countries.

Firstly, the Belarusian government has a history of changing its laws and regulations, which can affect the rights of foreign property buyers.

Secondly, the Belarusian legal system can be difficult to navigate, especially for foreigners, and there can be significant delays in the processing of property transfers.

Thirdly, Belarus is still subject to economic sanctions imposed by the international community, which can make it difficult for foreign buyers to access financing.

Finally, the Belarusian currency, the Belarusian Ruble, is not freely convertible, meaning that buyers may need to pay additional fees to convert foreign currency into local currency.

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Everything you need to know is included in our Belarus Property Pack

What are the documents needed for a real estate transaction in Belarus?

The list of documents needed when buying a property in Belarus will depend on whether the buyer is a foreign national or a Belarusian national.

For foreign nationals, the documents needed are: a passport, a visa (if required), a residence permit (if required), a notarized power of attorney (if the buyer is not present in Belarus), and an official certificate of purchase of the property.

For Belarusian nationals, the documents needed are: a passport, a certificate of residence, a certificate of marriage (if applicable), an official certificate of purchase of the property, and a certificate of registration in the local registry office.

We review each of these documents and tell you how to use them in our property pack for Belarus.

What are the tips for negotiating with Belarusian people effectively?

p>When negotiating to buy a property in Belarus, it is crucial to take into consideration key aspects of Belarusian culture that can influence the process.

Establishing personal connections and building trust is highly valued in Belarus. It is important to invest time in developing relationships and demonstrating respect for local customs and traditions. Building rapport can significantly impact the negotiation process.

Hospitality plays a significant role in Belarusian culture. It is customary to offer refreshments or meals during meetings. Accepting these gestures of hospitality with gratitude fosters a positive atmosphere for negotiations.

Patience is important when negotiating in Belarus. Decision-making processes may take time, and it is essential to demonstrate a patient and understanding attitude. Rushing the negotiation process can hinder progress, so maintaining composure is crucial.

Indirect communication and politeness are valued in Belarusian culture. It is customary to use polite language and maintain a respectful tone during negotiations. Being diplomatic, tactful, and avoiding direct confrontations can contribute to a harmonious negotiation environment.

Lastly, understanding the local real estate market, legal regulations, and customs is essential. Conducting thorough research, seeking advice from local experts, and being familiar with legal procedures will empower you during negotiations and ensure a smoother transaction process.

Can foreigners get a mortgage in Belarus?

In theory, foreigners are generally allowed to obtain property loans in Belarus, subject to certain conditions and requirements, although it remains a relatively uncommon practice.

Foreigners looking to obtain a property loan in Belarus generally need a valid residence permit, proof of income or employment, and must meet the specific criteria set by the lending institutions in the country.

Foreigners might try their chance for mortgages with banks such as Priorbank, Belarusbank, and BPS-Sberbank in Belarus.

It's worth noting that mortgage rates in Belarus for a 20-year term range from 17% to 21%, which can pose challenges for borrowers. As a foreigner, it's advisable to explore alternative financing options to overcome these hurdles.

What are the taxes related to a property transaction in Belarus?

Here is a breakdown of taxes related to a property transaction in Belarus.

Tax Description Calculation Who pays
Property Tax An annual tax on real estate property 0.1% of property value for individuals and 1% to 2% for companies Owner
Capital Gains Tax Tax on the profit from the sale of the property 15% on the net capital gain (the difference between sale price and cost) Seller
Rental Income Tax Tax on rental income generated from the property 13% on the rental income Owner
Value Added Tax (VAT) Tax on newly built or reconstructed properties 20% of the property sale price Buyer

What fees are involved in a property transaction in Belarus?

Below is a simple breakdown of fees for a property transaction in Belarus.

Fee Description Calculation Who pays
Real Estate Agent Fee Fee charged by real estate agents for their services Between 3 and 5 % of the property’s selling price Seller
State Duty Fee for the registration of property rights 1% to 10% depending on the property value and location Buyer
Real Estate Registration Fee Fee for registering property transfer with the relevant authorities 1% to 3% of the property value, based on the region Buyer
Notary Fee Fees for notarizing property-related documents Varies typically around 0.5% to 2% of the property value Seller and Buyer
Legal Fee Fees for legal assistance in the property transfer process Varies typically negotiated with the lawyer Seller and Buyer

Buying real estate in Belarus can be risky

An increasing number of foreign investors are showing interest in Belarus. However, 90% of them will make mistakes. Avoid the pitfalls with our comprehensive guide.

buying property foreigner Belarus