Buying real estate in Finland?

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

Understand the title deed when buying a property in Finland

Last updated on 

All sources have been thoroughly verified for credibility. Furthermore, a local real estate expert has reviewed and approved the final article.

risks pitfalls buying real estate Finland

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

Investing in property in Finland is an attractive prospect. Options include picturesque lakeside cottages, modern city apartments, and countryside estates for potential investors.

However, international buyers may find it challenging to navigate the Finnish real estate market, particularly when verifying the authenticity and legality of the "Kiinteistökauppakirja," which serves as the official title deed in Finland.

We have actually covered this specific document (among others, like the sales contract) in our property pack for Finland.

In this article, we will give some insight to ensure a smooth and legally compliant property transaction in Finland.

However, please do not forget that this blog post is for informational purposes only and that we are not legal experts. It's always advisable to consult with one. They can indeed thoroughly examine your specific situation and provide you with the most appropriate and tailored advice.

What is the Kiinteistökauppakirja in Finland?

The 'Kiinteistökauppakirja,' or Real Estate Purchase Deed, is a crucial document in real estate transactions in Finland.

It's distinct from other property documents, such as the title or mortgage documents, primarily in its purpose and legal implications.

This document is essentially a contract between the seller and the buyer of a property. It outlines the terms and conditions of the sale, including the price, payment terms, and any other agreed-upon conditions.

Unlike a title, which merely states who owns the property, the Real Estate Purchase Deed is about the transfer of ownership. It is the official record of the transaction and signifies that the seller has agreed to transfer the property to the buyer under specified conditions.

Legally, the Kiinteistökauppakirja is significant because it establishes the buyer's right to obtain the title to the property.

Once this deed is signed and the necessary payments are made, the buyer has the legal right to be registered as the new owner in the Land Register. This registration is crucial because, in Finland, the right of ownership is not fully recognized until it is registered.

However, the Real Estate Purchase Deed does not, by itself, confer all rights. For instance, it doesn't automatically clear any existing mortgages or liens on the property; these must be dealt with separately.

Also, the deed doesn't necessarily include rights to use the property in all possible ways, such as mineral rights, unless specifically stated.

When it comes to resale and inheritance, the Real Estate Purchase Deed plays a foundational role. For resale, the document serves as a historical record of the property's transaction history, impacting its marketability and value.

For inheritance, it helps in establishing the chain of ownership, which is essential for legal succession.

For foreign investors, understanding the implications of the Kiinteistökauppakirja is vital. Finland's real estate market is open to foreign buyers, but they must navigate the same legal requirements as Finnish citizens. This includes the necessity of understanding the Real Estate Purchase

Deed, ensuring all conditions are met, and getting the property duly registered. The deed itself is a reliable document as it is a formal contract governed by Finnish property law, but like any legal document, its reliability and effectiveness depend on the accuracy and completeness of the information it contains and adherence to legal procedures.

Get the full checklist for your due diligence in Finland

Don't repeat the same mistakes others have made before you. Make sure everything is in order before signing your sales contract.

buying property foreigner Finland

How to verify a title deed in Finland?

The process

Verifying the authenticity of a 'Kiinteistökauppakirja' or Real Estate Purchase Deed in Finland involves a few specific steps and the involvement of certain government bodies and professionals.

Firstly, the primary government body responsible for property records in Finland is the National Land Survey of Finland ('Maanmittauslaitos'). They maintain the official property and land registry, which includes records of ownership, mortgages, and other encumbrances.

To verify a Kiinteistökauppakirja, you should check that the details on the deed match the records in this registry. If there's a discrepancy, it's a red flag.

Notaries in Finland also play a crucial role in real estate transactions. While not mandatory, their involvement adds a layer of authenticity as they certify the signatures and ensure that the parties understand the contract.

They can also assist in verifying that the deed is properly executed and in line with Finnish law.

Lawyers are another valuable resource. A lawyer specializing in real estate can help verify the authenticity of the deed, offer legal advice, and ensure that the transaction complies with Finnish law. They can also perform due diligence, such as checking for any outstanding legal issues with the property.

Real estate agents, while not legal experts, can provide assistance too. They are familiar with the property market and its processes and can offer guidance on standard practices.

However, their ability to authenticate legal documents like a Kiinteistökauppakirja is limited compared to lawyers or notaries.

As for the process, it involves checking the deed against the official records at the National Land Survey, possibly getting it reviewed by a notary or lawyer, and confirming that all details are consistent and accurate.

Ensure that the names, property details, and other essential information in the deed match what's recorded officially.

In terms of avoiding scams, be wary of any discrepancies in the document, such as mismatched details or irregularities in signatures. If the seller pressures you to skip legal checks or rushes the process, it's a red flag.

Always insist on verifying the deed through official channels and seek professional advice if you're unsure.

Remember, in real estate transactions, due diligence is key. It's better to take the time to verify everything thoroughly than to deal with potential legal problems later.

What to check

Understanding the history of a property in Finland, especially when considering the 'Kiinteistökauppakirja' or Real Estate Purchase Deed, involves several steps.

To access and trace the property's history, you'll need to consult the National Land Survey of Finland ('Maanmittauslaitos'). They maintain detailed records of all real estate transactions, including past ownerships and transactions.

This is important because it helps you understand the property's transaction history and any potential issues that might not be immediately apparent. A property with a complex history of ownership or frequent transactions might indicate potential problems.

To check for any outstanding debts or liens against the property, you can request a certificate of encumbrances from the National Land Survey. This document will list any mortgages, liens, or other encumbrances registered against the property.

Understanding these is crucial because, in Finland, these encumbrances often remain attached to the property, not the owner. This means that if you purchase a property with existing debts or liens, you could become responsible for them.

Verifying the accuracy of the property's measurements and boundaries as stated in the title deed is also key. For this, you should refer to the property map and detailed descriptions provided by the National Land Survey.

If there are discrepancies between what's in the title deed and the official records, this needs to be resolved before proceeding with the transaction. Resolving such issues might involve surveying the property to establish accurate boundaries.

Additionally, understanding zoning laws and land use restrictions is crucial. For this information, you should contact the local municipality ('kunta') where the property is located.

Municipalities in Finland regulate land use and zoning laws, and they can provide detailed information about what is and isn't allowed on a particular piece of property.

This is vital as zoning laws and land use restrictions can significantly impact your ability to use or develop the property as you wish.

After our research and the feedback collected from our local real estate partners, we have written an article about the risks and pitfalls when buying a property in Finland, you might want to check it out.

Don't sign a Finnish document you don't understand

Buying a property in Finland? We have reviewed all the documents you need to know. Stay out of trouble - grab our comprehensive guide.

buying property foreigner Finland

How to update the title deed after the property transaction in Finland?

When you purchase real estate in Finland, the process of updating the title deed, known in Finnish as 'Kiinteistökauppakirja' or Real Estate Purchase Deed, is a crucial step.

After the property transaction is completed, the new ownership must be legally registered to reflect the change. This is done by applying for a registration of title at the National Land Survey of Finland (Maanmittauslaitos).

It’s important to do this promptly, as the registration secures your legal rights as the new owner.

To register, you'll need to submit the signed deed of sale and proof of payment of the purchase price. If a real estate agent was involved, they often handle this paperwork.

Once the application is submitted, the National Land Survey processes it and officially updates the title deed with your name. This process can take a few weeks to a couple of months.

Regarding insurance, once you own the property, it's wise to have comprehensive home insurance. This covers not just the building itself but also personal property inside it against various risks like fire, theft, and water damage.

Liability insurance is also recommended as it protects you against claims if someone is injured on your property.

In terms of inheritance, the Finnish legal system has clear laws, but things can get complex, especially for foreign owners.

Finnish law generally applies to property located in Finland, regardless of the owner's nationality. In case of the owner's death, Finnish inheritance law will typically govern who inherits the property.

However, if you're not a Finnish citizen, it might be prudent to consult with a legal expert to understand how your home country’s laws interact with Finnish laws, especially regarding inheritance tax implications.

Remember, dealing with property and inheritance laws can be complex, and each situation is unique.

It's often beneficial to consult with a legal professional in Finland to navigate these matters, ensuring your rights are protected and everything is in compliance with local regulations.

Make a profitable investment in Finland

Better information leads to better decisions. Save time and money. Download our guide.

buying property foreigner Finland

This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered financial advice. Readers are advised to consult with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions. We do not assume any liability for actions taken based on the information provided.