Purchase a Property in Georgia - Legal Guidance for Foreigners
Purchase a Property in Georgia
Updated on Thursday 09th November 2023
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Foreigners can purchase a property in Georgia following the same regulations available for the local citizens. There is no distinction between local and foreign persons wanting to acquire a property here; our team of Georgian lawyerscan offer advice and assistance in this sense.
Foreign businessmen can also purchase a property for commercial purposes and it is important to know that the procedure is carried through the Ministry of Finance and Economy.
Where to search for a property to purchase in Georgia
- real estate agents,
- property auctions,
- newspaper/online ads
How can foreigners buy a property in Georgia?
Foreigners can use a power of attorney (POA) to be represented by local specialists, including Georgian lawyers when buying a house in Georgia.
Residence permit required (YES/NO)
Obtaining residency by purchasing a property in Georgia
Foreigners can purchase a property in Georgia with a minimum of $100,000 to qualify for a program that allows them to obtain residency.
- purchase contract, signed by the seller and buyer,
- extract issued by the Georgian Public Registry,
- notary certificates,
- Passport or ID, etc.
Verifying a property in Georgia
- conduct real estate due diligence,
- verify if there are any debts or mortgages related to the property,
- inquire with the Land Register through a law firm in Georgia to obtain necessary information
- perform due diligence to verify if there are any hidden flaws in the property,
- verify relevant information on the property and its owner at the Georgian Public Registry,
- obtain an official translation of the extract issued by the Georgian Public Registry
Commercial real estate in Georgia
Foreign citizens and companies cannot acquire agricultural land, but they can use it under concession agreements for limited periods.
Our attorneys in Georgia can provide guidance through complex procedures related to buying commercial real estate.
Georgian property market characteristics
The property market in Georgia is fast becoming one of Europe's most attractive markets, with some of the lowest real estate prices of any capital city in Europe.
Buying a house in Georgia from developers
There are two main possibilities when buying a house in Georgia from a developer: choosing a property that exists or another one that hasn't been built yet.
Registering with the Ministry of Finance required (YES/NO)
Fees and taxes
- commission fee for real estate agency,
- 1% property tax
Property types in Georgia
- agricultural land - It cannot be purchased by foreigners.
Advantages of purchasing a property in Georgia
- properties are cheaper in Georgia compared to most other countries, especially in Europe,
- affordable properties, even in city centers,
- premium properties can be purchased for a fraction of the cost of similar properties in other countries
Assistance for purchasing a property in Georgia (YES/NO)
Yes, we offer assistance with property registration and legal matters regarding real estate in Georgia.
White frame apartments in Georgia
A property sold with essential infrastructure (doors, windows, lighting, electricity, water, internet, phone cables, heating), but without any finishing touches or interior decorations.
Black frame apartments
Incomplete apartments, with only doors and windows
Green frame aparments
A complete apartment that needs the last finishing touches
Immovable properties in Georgia
Immovable property refers to land along with its natural resources, and any buildings or structures that are permanently located to the land.
Real estate insurance
You can choose insurance for various parts of your property, including the property's frame, interior, specific rooms or parts, integral design elements, building and residential engineering equipment, household items, etc.
Bank loans for buying property in Georgia
Purchasing a property in Georgia through a bank loan is only permitted for residents.
Limit on properties owned (YES/NO)
Finished properties vs. off-plan properties
When comparing off-plan properties to finished properties, it is important to differentiate the nature of purchase agreements, the associated risks involved, and the recourse options available to buyers in case the developer fails to meet its obligations.
Timeframe for buying property in Georgia (approx.)
The purchase process can be finalized within a week.
Steps after buying the property
The last step to get the legal ownership of a property in Georgia is to register it with the Land Registry.
Our Georgian lawyers can help you in this process.
Commercial banks in Georgia have the autonomy to establish their own policies concerning mortgage loans for foreign citizens.
Rental income in Georgia is typically subject to a 20% personal income tax.
However, there is an alternative option available for property owners who rent out their properties solely for residential purposes.
Contact our attorneys in Georgia for more details regarding this option.
Purchasing a property in Georgia in cryptocurrencies
It is possible to buy properties in Georgia using cryptocurrency, but it is recommended to convert your cryptocurrency into fiat currency through a brokerage company and then make the payment for the property from your bank account.
Buying a property in Georgia in foreign currencies
You cannot buy properties in Georgia in other currencies other than Georgian Lari (GEL).
How to find a property to purchase in Georgia
Georgia is a small country with several developed cities that might be first on the list of those who want to buy properties.
The capital, Tbilisi, and the cities Batumi and Kutaisi are among the best-known places; it is also recommended to also check on towns or suburban areas near large cities where the prices are lower. however, the living conditions are just as good.
Foreigners can either check in local papers or on the internet, however, they can also use the services of real estate agencies that can offer valuable information such as price ranges in a specific area and, in some cases, what to look for when interested in a zone or city. In some cases, these can also partially handle the sale-purchase contract.
Finding a property to purchase in Georgia is not difficult if you consider the following:
you have already decided how much you are willing to pay;
you have chosen the type of property you want;
you know the area you want to move to.
These will narrow your searches and will speed up the acquisition procedure.
Ourlawyers in Georgia can handle various legal aspects related to the purchase of real estate and can also represent you in various litigation case, if any.
Types of properties in Georgia
Foreigners can purchase a property for residential or commercial purposes without any types of restrictions. However, purchasing Georgian properties that are included in agricultural land is no longer available for foreigners, this regulation being applicable starting with May 2017.
Persons who are interested in this matter must know that the definition of “agricultural land”, under theGeorgian legislation, defines any type of property that is located outside the local towns.
Thus, purchasing a property in Georgia that is located in the countryside can become an issue, as this type of property is generally considered agricultural land; our team of Georgian lawyers can advise on the latest regulations that refer to the purchase of a local property.
Investors who want to open a Georgian company are also entitled to buy a property for commercial purposes for a company that carries out its operations in various economic sectors, such as tourism or construction. For this, an application with the Ministry of Finance and Economy is required.
Legal entities purchasing properties in Georgia will need to provide information on the company, the company’s directors and the identification code of the business form.
Our lawyers in Georgiacan provide more information on this matter and can assist foreigners with advice on the purchase procedure and the documents that need to be prepared.
How to verify a property to buy in Georgia
Once a person has found a property, the first step is to check if everything is in order with it. This is called real estate due diligence process through it the buyer can find out if there are any inconsistencies related to the documents or even the building.
While for residential properties this is not one of the procedures a person considers at first, it is quite common when it comes to commercial real estate acquisitions that have high values and imply more extensive verifications.
Here are the most important aspects to verify and that can be found during the real estate verification process:
updated information about previous ownership of the property;
information about property rights of third parties, such as unresolved inheritance matters;
other information that can only be found with the Land Register.
Our law firm in Georgia can inquire with the Land Register on your behalf if you have found a property you want to buy.
You can also request technical and architectural real estate due diligence that are made by architects and construction specialists, if you need further reassurance that you have made the right decision.
We invite you to see a video presenting how to buy a property in Georgia:
What should a foreigner know when purchasing a Georgian property?
A foreigner who wants to open a company in Georgia or to relocate there can benefit from a set of legal rights, that are mostly the same as the ones that are offered to Georgian citizens. With regards to the purchase of a residential property, the purchase procedure implies the same steps that would be followed by locals.
Foreigners are not required to provide additional documents, nor do they have to pay additional taxes. Some of the highlights of the purchase procedure available here are the following:
the purchase procedure can be completed relatively fast, and this is also available for the registration of the new ownership;
the purchase procedure does not require the payment of the stamp duty;
the legal system in Georgiaallows a standard registration procedure, which is generally concluded in a period of four days (with the payment of a fee);
however a foreigner can request the express procedure, which can be completed in a single day, through the payment of a higher fee;
foreigners can benefit from full ownership on their properties and this is also available in the case of commercial properties.
Buying real estate in exchange for residency in Georgia
Georgia has aligned with other European countries that have created programs through which foreign citizens can acquire properties and obtain residency. Georgia has a very simple residency program, through which foreigners can purchase a property with $100,000.
As a consequence of this, they are entitled to obtain a residence permit that is valid for a period of 1 year. Considering there are additional requirements concerning this program, it is best to contact our lawyers in Georgia, who can present what other immigration procedures may be involved in this.
What does the purchase procedure imply in Georgia?
During the procedure of purchasing a Georgian property, a foreigner should expect to go through a set of typical steps. The conclusion of the sale is done through apurchase contract, that is signed by the seller and the buyer.
The next step is to make the first payment, as agreed in thepurchase contract – in this case, the buyer will make the respective payment in the seller’s bank account, this being the most common way to conclude this transaction.
After this procedure is completed, the Public Service Hall, working under the Ministry of Justice in Georgia, will register the change of ownership for the respective property. When purchasing a real estate property from a local developer, the payment will be concluded in the national currency.
As we presented above, it is highly recommended to perform the due diligence procedure on a property prior to purchasing it, in order to verify if there are any hidden flaws and to see if the property itself matches with the information provided in the purchase documents.
Thus, persons who are interested in this matter can easily verify at the Georgian Public Registry relevant information on the property and its owner; matters such as debts, litigations, mortgages and any crucial information on the owner of the property can be obtained through an extract issued by the institution.
Still, foreigners must know that this document is issued in the Georgian language, but an official translation can be obtained on request. This service is available for foreigners, who have to pay a small fee (calculated for each page of the translated document, which generally has maximum six pages).
The translated document will then have to be notarized at a public notary in Georgia, a procedure that also imposes the payment of a small fee.
Buying commercial real estate in Georgia
Foreign companies interested in expanding operations in Georgia can acquire industrial sites or commercial spaces for their activities.
They can also takeover companies and the premises and other properties these own, which is why the procedure of buying commercial real estate is more complex, takes longer to complete and must be subject to various formalities.
The only restriction applicable to both foreign citizens and companies is related to the acquisition of agricultural land. This type of properties can be used under concession agreements for limited periods.
If you are in the process of buying commercial real estate from another company, you can rely on ourGeorgian lawyers for guidance through such complex procedures. Also, if the company is undergoing liquidation, you need to make additional verifications.
What are the characteristics of Georgian properties?
One of the things foreigners should expect when buying an apartment in Georgia is to purchase it as “white frame” property.
A white frame real estate refers to a type of property that is sold with just the bare minimum, in the sense that one should expect an apartment to have the following: a metal door at the main entrance, the windows, the lighting system, electricity and water, internet and phone cables and the heating system.
This means that a typical apartment available for sale, which is bought from a developer, will be offered with bare concrete floors and walls. Most of the apartments are delivered as such, due to the characteristics of the local consumer market.
Georgian citizens prefer to design theirapartments or housesfrom scratch and the developers working on the local market respect this wish.
Still, since the Georgian property market is also opened to foreigners, who have different expectations when purchasing a property, developers also offer fully finished apartments.
When purchasing a fully finished property, the minimum price per square meter increases by $150, as a general rule, but the price can increase depending on the types of materials used.
Register with the Ministry of Finance and Economy in Georgia
Foreigners who want are interested in the procedure of opening a company in Georgia will need to provide detailed information on their investments carried out on the respective purchased property.
Our team of attorneys in Georgia can assist with further information on the investment legislation applicable in this country.
They will need to give information on the business activity, the overall value of investments and also on the number of persons who will be employed in the company.
Main scenarios when buying from a developer in Georgia
One can buy a house in Georgia country from a developer or from an individual who currently owns the property. When buying from a developer, there are 2 main possibilities:
buying a property that exists;
buying a property that hasn’t been built yet.
For each of these 2 situations, the buyer will go through different legal procedures. These are very important and all persons who want to purchase a property should be aware of them, in order to avoid any future issues regarding ownership, payments and other legal matters.
The 1st scenario is, of course, simpler for all the parties involved, as the seller has a property to present and the buyer can actually see how the property looks and the conditions in which it is sold.
If the buyer is pleased with the respective property, then the sale procedure will start. Here, there shouldn’t be any complicated issues – the buyer will directly sell the property to the buyer.
This is done through a purchase agreement, a document that must contain specific legal provisions, that can be presented by our team of lawyers in Georgia.
We highly advise you to request for legal advice on any contract that you may need to sign, especially when you are not familiarized with the applicable legislation.
A more complicated scenario is when a person wants to buy house in Georgia country that has not been finished yet. The 2nd scenario is known as plan-off, and it implies one of the following:
the real estate project has not been build (has not even been started);
when the person who wants to buy a house in Georgia country addresses to the developer, the project has been started, but not finished.
Given that the demand for new residential projects is constantly increasing, due to the fact that young people prefer to live in new, modern buildings and homes, it is common to conclude a real estate sale in both situations presented above.
Regardless if you will buy house in Georgia country that has not been built or which is in the process of being built, it is compulsory to sign a pre-purchase agreement, in which both the seller and the buyer will agree on certain terms.
Usually, this document states the obligations of the seller for the following:
to complete the construction by a certain date;
the commitment the seller takes regarding the manner in which the property will be delivered;
the schedule concerning the completion of various construction stages, etc.
It will also include various obligations the buyer has, which are mostly limited to the initial payment, through which the seller obtains a guarantee on the fact that the respective buyer is actually committed to buying the respective property.
There is also the option to buy a house in Georgia country from an individual who owns the property. In this case, a background check on the property is necessary. This is done through due diligence, a procedure that is concluded by lawyers in Georgia through specific methods.
Usually, it involves addressing to all the competent authorities to find out if there are any issues that could harm the new buyer, once he or she becomes the new owner of the property.
Can foreigners be represented through the POA in Georgia?
Yes. Foreigners can be represented through the power of attorney (POA). This document grants the right to be legally represented by local specialists, such as our team of Georgian lawyers. This procedure can also apply in the case you want to buy house in Georgia country, of course.
However, if you want to buy a house in Georgia country for personal use, we recommend you to arrive here and see the property before you make a decision.
But legal matters concerning the purchase of the property can be done by our law firm in Georgia with the POA, after you express in which way our team can represent you.
Steps to complete after buying a property in Georgia
If everything went smoothly and one managed to buy the desired property, he or she must proceed to the registration of the real estate with the Georgian Land Register. The procedure is simple and can be completed with the help of our lawyers.
With respect to the taxes and fees to consider, as well as profits that can be made by owning a property in Georgia, here are the main aspects one needs to know:
if using the services of a real estate agency, the commission does not exceed 2% or 3% of the final price;
the property tax is one of the lowest in Europe – 1%;
property rentals in the country’s capital city can yield a profit ranging between 12% and 18% per year.
Valeri Bendianishvili is a lawyer and managing partner of Business Setup Georgia LLC. He obtained certificates in various branches of law, such as civil and administration law or insurance law; he has also obtained a certificate in international accounting standards and taxation. Valeri is also a member of the Georgian Bar Association. Foreign businessmen can easily address to our lawyer, who is fluent in Russian and English and thus, he can easily represent investors who speak these languages. Contact us for details