Comprehensive Guide to Purchase Property in Hungary for Golden Visa Program 

Planning to apply for Golden Visa in Hungary by investment in residental property? As a forward-thinking investor, you would like to secure your investment. Successful investors habitually seek due diligence services to ensure they remain on track with legalities. At the same time, it’s imperative to assess your ROI and secure your property at the lowest cost. 

When buying real estate in Hungary, there are three main pieces of legislation: Act V of 2013 on the Civil Code, Act CXLI of 1997 on the Real Estate Register, and Act LXXVIII of 1993 on certain rules for the rental and disposal of apartments and premises. 

For non-EU citizens, to buy property safely in Hungary, you should be aware of the following steps.  

Pre-selection of the property 

This step can be done from abroad using Hungarian online property advertising sites, or by hiring a Hungarian real estate agency to select properties that meet the criteria which have been specified by the buyer, who will be able to choose more easily.  

Hungarian real estate agencies include large networks, small agencies and agencies specialising in specific types of property (e.g. luxury properties, properties in the centre of Budapest, properties near to the Lake Balaton, etc.).  

If you hire a real estate agent, it is worth clarifying the arrangements in advance, because although the seller usually pays the agent’s fee, there are now also types of contract where the seller (owner) and the prospective buyer share the agent’s fee.  The average intermediary fee is around 3% of the value of the property (+ VAT).  

Legal due diligence of the property 

The Hungarian Land Registry registers and records all basic information about each property (location, floor area, owners, encumbrances, etc.). Knowing the address or the parcel number of the property, the prospective buyer can request all this information in the form of a so-called title deed. Since the land register is a certified public register in Hungary, the authenticity of the data it contains must be accepted by everyone.  

If the buyer does not obtain the title deed himself, but the seller or estate agent issues it to him, it is advisable to ensure that the document is up-to-date or no more than 30 days old.  

At this point, it will be worthwhile to involve legal expertise, as in Hungary, real estate sales contracts must be countersigned by a lawyer/legal adviser or notarised in order to be valid. Because of the responsibility involved in countersigning and notarisation, the sale and purchase contracts themselves are drawn up by lawyers, legal advisers or notaries. The cost of drawing up the contract of sale is borne by the buyer and is usually around 1-1.5% of the market value of the property. 

Usually, the lawyer who countersigns the deed examines the title deed and the legal status of the property. The property is then examined as follows. 

– Whether there is a mortgage or other encumbrance and, if so, how this will be settled in the sale, as the aim is for the buyer to acquire ownership of the property free of encumbrances.  

– Are the other details on the property (m2, seller’s details) correct? 

– Does the property have any other features that may affect the buyer’s position (e.g. legal status of the condominium, does the condominium have insurance, etc.)  

– whether there are any other obstacles to the conclusion of the contract (e.g. a seller is deceased, absent or in guardianship, etc.) 

Once all the issues have been satisfactorily clarified, the countersigning lawyer will draw up the contract of sale and the related documents (e.g. land registry application for registration of ownership) and sign it in the presence of the parties. Thanks to technological developments, it is now possible for a remote party to sign the contract in front of the lawyer but via an online video connection. 

Once the contract has been concluded, the process before the land registry should be part of the lawyer’s mandate. 

Permission for a foreign non-EU national to acquire real estate 

As the acquisition of real estate in Hungary by non-EU nationals is subject to the authorisation of the Government Office, the existence of a Government Office authorisation must be mentioned in the terms of the contract for these sales contracts.  

This is a separate authorisation procedure, which must precede and be a condition for registration of ownership with the Land Registry.

The procedure is subject to a fee, the procedural fee is HUF 50,000 per property.   

A foreign natural person who has the right of free movement and residence, or a person with settled status AND who has initiated the acquisition of Hungarian citizenship, pays a reduced fee (HUF 10,000) for the acquisition of residential property.  

The average duration of the procedure is between 45 and 90 days, which should be taken into account in the event of a purchase contract, as the permit is usually a condition of effectiveness of the sale, without which the title cannot be registered with the Land Registry.  

The application must also be accompanied by the following:   

– the preliminary contract or agreement for the purchase of the property  

– a certified title deed for the property to be acquired, not more than 21 days old  

– where the applicant is not acting in person, one original copy of the power of attorney given to the legal representative or other natural person acting on his/her behalf  

– an official certificate of good repute attesting to a clean criminal record   

– in case of minor applicants, a certified copy of the birth certificate (translated by OFFI – National Centre of Translation and Translation Validation of Hungary )  

– in the case of natural persons, a certified copy of the applicant’s valid travel document or other means of identification  

– proof of payment of the procedural fee 

Generally speaking, the lawyer who drafts and countersigns the sales contract will also represent the foreign buyer in this procedure. 

Special rules for buying property by guest investors 

Pursuant to the provisions of Act XC of 2023 on the General Rules for the Entry and Residence of Third-Country Nationals, the status of a guest investor is created by the purchase of real estate if the foreign  national private individual acquires ownership of a residential property, with a value of at least EUR 500,000, located in the geographical territory of Hungary, registered in the land register under the parcel number, free of legal title, encumbrances and claims.  

The same legislation also provides that, at the same time as a third-country national acquires ownership of the residential property, a prohibition on alienation and encumbrance of the residential property must be entered in the Land Register for a period of 5 years from the date of conclusion of the sale and purchase contract. This clause must already be included in the contract of sale. 

Registration of ownership of the property 

If the duly signed and countersigned sales contract and the Government Office’s decision authorizing the acquisition of the property have been submitted to the competent land registry office and the fee for the land registration procedure (6.600,-Ft/property) has been paid, the land registry office will register the ownership of the buyer and, in the case of a guest investor, the aforementioned 5-year ban on alienation and encumbrance within 30 days after the documents have been entered. 

The property acquisition fee 

Registration of ownership completes the transfer of ownership of the property, but there is still the payment of the fee payable to the state. This is levied within 3-6 months of the sale of the property and, in the case of foreign nationals, is 4% of the value of the property. 

Seeking professional support for legal due diligence 

For prospective investors and applicants, it’s imperative to understand the norms Hungarian laws The AIRON continues to be one of the leading partners for Golden Visa applicants and investors offering legal due diligence services. If you are interested in our services in relation to the Golden Visa Program, please visit our thematic website and contact us. 

Learn more about

our Services related