Tips to buy property in Finland

Sure, Finland features as the fourth best countries to live in. interestingly, if you remember, Finnish policy even reduces barriers to employment by ensuring all families with young children have access to a subsidised childcare place. Attractive, isn’t it?

A lot of European citizens invest in a holiday home in Finland, but living there permanently may need some adjustments to do — for example, the extreme winters and days at length of ‘no sun’ or nights on only the white sun! But then I am sure you are already aware of all that, and are prepared to make that move.

So here you are, a few top tips to buying property in Finland

  1. Location. The most popular locations to buy property are in its major cities, Helsinki, Tempere and Turku. Lapland, at the northern part of the country is also popular with a lot of foreigners, due to it’s vast expanses of green forests and for being renowned as the home of Santa Claus!
  2. Solicitor/Lawyer. It is advisable to make to of the services of a lawyer or solicitor who can go through the sale agreement or read survey reports and sign for completion of contracts.
  3. Fees. Transfer tax must be paid and is at the rate of 4 per cent, and is paid at the time of registering the deed.
  4. Tax. In Finland, you are required to pay taxes on several heads, so it’s advisable to check where taxes are applicable. For example, there is a separate municipal tax on real estate, and so on.
  5. Foreign nationalities. Though there are no restriction anymore on foreigners buying property in Finland, they are restricted from acquiring property from the Province of Aland. Even this can be one, with a writ permission from the Finns to buy property in  this province!
  6. Days taken. You may be pleasantly surprised to note that it take 14 days to complete all the required procedures to register a property in Finland.

Best wishes from this side of the world.

Be sure to visit us to get a peek at homes across the world.

Much Love and happy house hunting,


P.S: Follow me to my next post: Property Buying tips in Netherlands.

Tips to buy property in Belgium

Interested in Belgium, are you? Go for it, I would say. Buying a property is straightforward, more than anything. But be warned, it can be laborious!

Living in Belgium is not an easy thing, say some of my friends in Brussels! The one thing that I heard most from those who I asked about life in Belgium, si ‘Be prepared to face bureaucracy!”

There are three local languages — French, Dutch (Flemish) and German, and it’s important that you do not speak the wrong language to the wrong people. Relax, the good news is that,  English is widely accepted and used.

Ready to make that move?

Now for the tips

  1. Choose and sign. Once you have selected the property, it is important to sign an agreement to commit to purchasing the house. A final contract is signed a few months later, once the legal work and mortgage issues are done.
  2. Notaire.  All of the above happen via notaries, known as notaire. both the seller and the buyer have a notaire, each. Pick a notaire on recommendation and ensure that s/he is conveniently located. Also, find a notaire, before you find a house.
  3. Price. Assuming that you will do all the necessary research involved in buying a house, remember that the price that you agree with the seller and the price you finally end up paying will differ hugely. There are several factors contributing to this — huge property taxes, notary fee, taxes on loans and so on.
  4. Structural Surveys. These are not a legal part for getting a mortgage. You must do it for your own benefit. A must do before you sign up on that agreement.
  5. Property Insurance. You are liable for it from the minute you sign on that dotted line of that agreement. Be aware of thse implications and stay alert.
  6. Mortgages. You have a whole plethora of choices in Belgium. make a wise one. What might help you is the services of a mortgage broker. typically a  mortgage broker helps you find the best deal, the best source for a loan, etc.

Now, what you need, I am sure, is loads of luck! 

Be sure to visit us to get a peek at homes across the world.

Much Love and happy house hunting,


P.S: Follow me to my next post: Property Buying tips in Finland.

Tips to buy property in Switzerland

Here is something you simply must know before you start property search in Switzerland — the costs involved with property buying in Switzerland is higher than anywhere else in Europe. Not just that, general cost of living is also higher in Switzerland than in any other country in Europe. But then I assume you already know that, right? So here goes, some great tips to get that house you so want!

Property SearchSome hot tips

  1. Laws: Non Swiss citizen have several laws to abide by before a property is bought. You must obtain an authorisation from the Cantonal Authorities and from the Federal Department of Justice and Police, through a notary. This is because there is an annual quota for sale to non-Swiss citizens. Also, it’s worth knowing that if either you or your spouse is an EU citizen, Swiss residency is most likely to give you almost all rights as a Swiss citizen.
  2. Holiday home or permanent house?  It is very imperative that you decide what you are planning on buying. If it’s a holiday home, where you will stay on for a few months in a year, there are rules, and quotas. If it’s a permanent house, you will definitely have to show your stay permit, especially if you do not hold an EU/EFTA passport. However, this may lead you to a wild goose chase. Be warned.
  3. Price payable: This is usually done in stages, which is specified in the purchase agreement. Do go through it thoroughly.
  4. Location dependant. Remember the price you will have to pay depends on the location of your house. Of course, this is true in any part of the world.In Switzerland, the property market being small, the location of the property assumes greater importance.
  5. Loans: Do remember that local banks can loan up to two-thirds of the purchase price.
  6. Agent: A pice of good advice — identify and pick a good, trustworthy and experienced real estate agent early in this process. It eases out a lot of hassles and quickens the process, too.
  7. Taxes and rates. It is important to do a thorough research on the property taxes applicable in each town/ canton.. It may serve you well to know that the Canton of Zug, for example, has the lowest tax, and therefore, highest property price in all of Switzerland!

Property Portal

Hope this has helped you in some way. Do drop in a line if you need to know more.. or simply visit our website

Much Love and happy house hunting,


P.S: Follow me to my next post: Property Buying tips in Belgium.

The Kitchen: Before


So due to the closing date and very unsympathetic landlords, our lease on our apartment goes until the end of April. In some ways, this is annoying ($$$$), but in other ways it is nice, namely so that we can take our sweet time moving.

Of course we do want to get in there soon because new!house! and to be rid of the small dog symphony* that happens every morning.

But there were a few rooms I wanted to paint before we got in there because I figured that would be easier. First room: the kitchen.




First things first, the wallpaper. I actually wouldn’t mind the weird hippie-flowery print if it wasn’t everywhere. It would have been okay on one wall, but more than one makes it start to hurt. Also the gingham pattern just adds to the…charm. 

Secondly, no, your monitor/eyes are not deceiving you, the cabinets are…

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Creating your home sanctuary: What’s your design personality?

Aloha from Maine

The fun thing about making a sanctuary at home is that you get to create the type of space that is right for you. The drawback is that, most of the time, our interior decorating happens more by default than by conscious design.

For example, when my husband and I were newlyweds, our loveseat came as a hand-me-down from a friend who no longer wanted it, because (I kid you not) it fell off the truck on the highway and the corner broke. The bed had no headboard (we propped up our pillows and “pretended”), and our dining room table was a family antique that I was always terrified to spill anything on.

As we “grew up”, our style became an odd mixture of family pieces and things we’d chosen ourselves. We chose the family heirlooms in our home specifically because they truly fit our personalities. Likewise, the items…

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How Do Dumb People Survive?

lonny mag

lonny magazine is a home decor magazine that can be read entirely online! below are some of my favorite photos from the magazine.


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The Most Controversial Room in the House

The Caterpillar's Tooth

Finally!  A successful day in the kitchen!  My experiences with this section of the house have been less than encouraging, so today’s victory really is something to brag about.  I lack the patience and forethought of a decent cook, so I avoid this room as much as possible and generally put up a fight when anyone asks me to do something there; it’s pretty controversial for my mom and me.  However, today it was unavoidable.  My mother asked me to bake some fudge brownies for a gathering tonight (no pressure), so I did.  She brought the leftovers home and I have to say I did a pretty good job, even if the second batch was a little gooey at the bottom.  Still, I am of the opinion that brownies are very difficult to ruin, since I hear Chocolate is delightful in all its forms.  Lucky for me!  😉

Following is a…

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Tips to buy property in Sweden

Here are some good news if you’re planning to buy property in Sweden:

  • There are no restrictions on foreigners buying property in Sweden.
  • House prices have fallen considerably in 2011.
  • The real estate transfer process is easy, swift and quick.

So, looks like it’s the right thing to  buy property in the biggest Scandinavian Nation. However, you could visit there on a holiday and check out… After all it has been reported as the 7th best country to live in!

Here goes my tips for you…

  1. Agent. Most house hunting, negotiations and preparing relevant papers are managed by real estate agents. It’s best you appoint one for your self.
  2. Deposit. In Sweden, there is a norm that the buyer places 20% of the property price as deposit, as soon as the buying price is agreed upon.
  3. Conduct a survey. It’s a common practise in Sweden. A friend who had recently moved to Sweden recommends that it’s best to hire the services of an independent surveyor, who will do a profession job of it.
  4. Hire a solicitor. Though it;s is not a must, it’s definitely advisable to hire a legal person to carry out all your legal work. It eases your work and helps a great deal to have a professional work at legal issues.
  5. Deeds of Title. You have to apply for this within three months of the sale transfer. the deeds of Title will need to be submitted for registration.
  6. Charges and fee: Stamp duty is charged on the registration of Deeds of Title at about 1% of the purchase price. Agent fees are approx. 3.5 % and are usually payable by the seller. You also have to pay the property tax, wealth tax and so on. Do find out and be prepared.
  7. All the best

Hey, by the way, I assume you will follow my standard instructions diligently — RESEARCH. It’s a must.

Much Love and happy house hunting,


P.S: Follow me to my next post: Property Buying tips in Switzerland

Hot tips to buy property in Germany

I have decided not to give you ‘top ten tips’ to buy property. Simply because, in some countries the process is rather simple and there may be less than ten important tips to give you. While in some countries, there are so many things one has to keep in mind, that my top ten may well spread across to top twenty!

Let’s see what Germany has to offer…

  1. Research. This is not a new tip, by any means. But, I will keep reiterating the same thing. Reasearch, reasearch and more research. First of the location — find out as much as you can about your neighbourhood, how far it is from your basic requirements. for e.g., houses in Berlin offer great value for money. Homes in Munich are most expensive, while Frankfurt, being a financial center, offers a large choice. Next – a value estimate. Research on the price of the property for. It would be best to have it verified through a surveyor or an estimator. Decide between urban and rural property.
  2. Inspect the property. This is a must. Get it inspected thoroughly. This can be done by the real estate agent or broker you wish to appoint. Any renovations, damages, etc., need to be looked for. Check the heating systems, and make sure they adhere to the standards set out by the government.
  3. Annual Meeting Minutes. Get hold of some of the minutes of annual meetings between owners/ members in an apartment. Study them. It may sound a bit odd, but this gives a peek into the real situation at the apartment. You’d probably get to know some details that you might otherwise not know. All problems related to the apartment or the house itself will definitely be reflected in these reports and you will be aware of any future expenses, repairs or other work that need to be done.
  4. Employ a solicitor.  You will need one for several processes through the buying stages.  First, a contract will have to be drawn up, once a price has been agreed upon, by the solicitor. You can request that the contract be translated, in case you are not 100%  fluent in German. Furthermore, remember that all terms in the contract are variable, so you need your independent solicitior to negotiate well. Once the initial contract has been drawn up, there is no cooling off period, like in many countries.
  5. Multiple Agents. It’s definitely better not to sign an exclusivity contract with any one real estate agent. (This is an important advice, as read on another website). Also, a friend recently shifted to Germany and said that she found more options for apartments to choose from when she engaged different agents. Not only that, she strongly recommended that it’s bets to figure out the commission to be paid — how much and who pays! Of course, this also means you have to be alert as to pay only that agent that got you the house first!
  6. Costs. Remember that apart from the price for the property, you will have to pay the Notary fee, registration fee, taxes as applicable, and the administrative fees, etc. So be prepared.
  7. Down payments and loans. Some websites advice that you keep 20 per cent of the total costs aside as down payment. Do check with you banks regarding finances, interest rates and repayment terms.
  8. My best wishes to you.

That does it. Important tips in seven points! Do remember that these are just my tips. You have to however, follow the systems in place in the country you wish to buy property in!

Love Always


P.S: My Next Post: Property Buying tips in Sweden