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Understand the title deed when buying a property in Sweden

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Investing in property in Sweden offers unique opportunities. Choices range from picturesque cottages by the lakes to modern city apartments in Stockholm, making it an appealing market.

However, international buyers may find it difficult to understand the Swedish real estate market, especially when they need to confirm if the "Lantmäteriets Fastighetsöverlåtelseintyg," which is the official title deed in Sweden, is genuine and legal.

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

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

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 Lantmäteriets Fastighetsöverlåtelseintyg in Sweden?

The "Lantmäteriets Fastighetsöverlåtelseintyg," also known as the "Överlåtelseintyg," is a crucial document in real estate transactions in Sweden.

It's essentially a title deed, serving as a formal record of the transfer of property ownership. This document is issued by Lantmäteriet, the Swedish mapping, cadastral, and land registration authority.

What sets the Överlåtelseintyg apart from other property documents is its specific role in confirming the change of ownership.

Unlike a simple contract of sale or a mortgage deed, this document is the definitive proof that ownership of a particular piece of property has legally transferred from one party to another. It's a formal confirmation that the buyer is now the legal owner of the property.

The legal rights conferred by the Överlåtelseintyg are significant. It grants the holder the right to use, enjoy, and dispose of the property. This means that once you have this document in your name, you can live in the property, rent it out, make changes to it (subject to local planning laws), or sell it.

However, it's important to note that this document alone does not guarantee the property is free of mortgages or other encumbrances. For that, you'd need to look at the property's extract from the land registry, which details any liens or legal claims against the property.

In terms of reliability, the Överlåtelseintyg is highly trustworthy. Since it's issued by a government authority, it's an official record that's recognized throughout Sweden. However, it's always wise to verify the details and ensure that there are no outstanding legal issues associated with the property.

Regarding what the Överlåtelseintyg does not confer, it's important to understand that it doesn't provide a warranty on the property's condition. It simply records ownership.

It's up to the buyer to conduct due diligence on the property's physical and legal state before purchasing.

For resale and inheritance, the Överlåtelseintyg plays a central role. When you sell the property, a new Överlåtelseintyg will be issued to the new owner. In terms of inheritance, ownership passes to the heirs, and the Överlåtelseintyg will be reissued in their names, ensuring clear and legal transfer of ownership.

Foreign investors should pay particular attention to this document. It's the key to establishing legal ownership in Sweden.

However, they should also be aware of any additional regulations or restrictions that might apply to foreign property ownership in Sweden, which could impact their ability to resell or manage the property.

Always consult with a local legal expert to navigate these complexities.

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How to verify a title deed in Sweden?

The process

Verifying the authenticity of a "Lantmäteriets Fastighetsöverlåtelseintyg" (Property Transfer Certificate) in Sweden is an essential step in ensuring a secure real estate transaction. Here's how you can go about it:

Firstly, the primary government body responsible for land registration and property deeds in Sweden is Lantmäteriet, the Swedish mapping, cadastral, and land registration authority.

To verify a Fastighetsöverlåtelseintyg, you should contact Lantmäteriet. They maintain records of all registered property transactions in Sweden and can confirm whether the document you have is genuine and accurately reflects the current legal status of the property.

Notaries and lawyers can indeed assist in this process. In Sweden, notaries public play a role in verifying signatures and ensuring that documents are legally binding, but they are not responsible for land registration.

For a more comprehensive verification, involving a lawyer specialized in real estate law is prudent. They can help interpret the information on the title deed, verify its authenticity, and check for any legal issues related to the property.

Real estate agents, while not directly involved in the legal verification of property documents, can still be of assistance. They often have experience in the process and can guide you on the steps to take.

However, their role is more about facilitating the transaction rather than verifying legal documents.

The exact process for verifying a Fastighetsöverlåtelseintyg involves contacting Lantmäteriet and requesting a verification of the document.

You may need to provide them with a copy of the title deed and any related transaction details. The verification process will confirm whether the document matches the official records and whether there are any discrepancies.

Ensure that all property details on the title deed match other documents and the property itself. Discrepancies in addresses, property descriptions, or owner names are major red flags.

Also, be wary of title deeds obtained through unofficial channels. Always use recognized legal or real estate professionals and avoid transactions that bypass standard procedures.

Be cautious of anyone pushing you to act quickly without proper verification. Scammers often use urgency to prevent thorough checks.

Remember, in real estate transactions, due diligence is key. Always take the time to verify every aspect, consult professionals, and trust your instincts if something feels off.

What to check

Understanding a property's history in Sweden, including past ownerships and transactions, is crucial for several reasons.

It helps in assessing the property's value, understanding any potential legal issues, and gaining insight into the property's maintenance and development over time.

To access and trace a property's history, including its past ownership and transactions, you can request a historical extract from Lantmäteriet, the Swedish mapping, cadastral, and land registration authority. This extract will provide a detailed record of all previous transactions and ownership changes.

Interpreting these records might require some assistance from a legal professional, especially to understand the implications of past transactions.

Checking for outstanding debts or liens against the property is also vital. In Sweden, this information can be found in the property's extract from the land registry, which is also maintained by Lantmäteriet. This document will list any mortgages or liens against the property.

It's important to check this because as a new owner, you may be responsible for any outstanding debts attached to the property. If these debts are not settled, the creditors may have legal rights to the property, which can lead to complicated legal situations.

Verifying the accuracy of the property's measurements and boundaries as stated in the title deed is another critical step. Discrepancies in property boundaries can lead to disputes with neighbors or legal issues.

To verify this, you can refer to the property's cadastral map, available from Lantmäteriet. If you find discrepancies between the title deed and the actual property measurements or boundaries, these issues can usually be resolved through a new survey conducted by Lantmäteriet. They can update the official records to reflect the accurate measurements and boundaries.

Lastly, understanding zoning laws and land use restrictions is essential before purchasing a property. These laws determine what you can and cannot do with the property.

For instance, they can restrict the types of buildings you can construct or how you can use the land. To find out about these laws and restrictions, you should contact the local municipality where the property is located.

The municipal planning office can provide information on zoning laws and any specific land use restrictions for the property in question.

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 Sweden, you might want to check it out.

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

After purchasing a property in Sweden, updating the title deed, known as the "Lantmäteriets Fastighetsöverlåtelseintyg" or "Överlåtelseintyg," is a vital step.

The process involves registering the change of ownership with Lantmäteriet, the Swedish mapping, cadastral, and land registration authority. To do this, you need to submit an application for registration of title, typically handled by your legal representative or real estate agent during the purchase process.

This application includes the contract of sale, proof of payment, and any other necessary legal documents. Lantmäteriet then reviews the application, and upon approval, updates the title deed to reflect the new ownership.

Once the title deed is verified and the property is under your name, considering various types of insurance and additional protections is advisable. Firstly, property insurance is essential to protect against damage, theft, and other risks.

Additionally, legal expense insurance can be beneficial, offering protection against potential legal costs associated with property disputes. It's also wise to consider life insurance, especially if the property purchase involves a mortgage that would need to be covered in case of unforeseen circumstances.

For foreign owners, understanding how the title deed plays into inheritance laws is critical.

In Sweden, the property is generally inherited according to Swedish law if the owner is a resident, but for non-residents, the laws of their home country often apply. This can get complicated, especially if the inheritance laws in the owner's home country are significantly different from those in Sweden.

In such cases, setting up a will or estate plan in accordance with both Swedish law and the law of the owner's home country is crucial. This helps ensure that the property is inherited as intended.

Additionally, foreign owners should be aware of any tax implications both in Sweden and their home country when inheriting or bequeathing property.

Consulting with a legal professional experienced in international estate law can provide clarity and help navigate these complexities.

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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.