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Useful Information

  • Non-Russian nationals have every legal right to purchase property in St. Petersburg. While foreign corporations also may legally purchase property, registration is more complex for corporations than for individuals, particularly in terms of services.
  • Property taxes are minimal and are not paid for immediately by the buyer. However, tax issues do enter in for long term ownership and sale, as capital gains are heavily taxed, especially for absentee owners (30%) versus "tax residents" who reside more than 6 months of the year in St. Petersburg.
  • Broker fees are paid by both seller and buyer to their broker, usually as a percentage of the sale price. This fee for a buyer's broker includes crucial services such as finding properties, tracking down documents, arranging for closing, transfer of property, and other legal issues. The seller's broker fee includes assessment, marketing, arranging for showing the property, negotiating with potential buyers and preparing the final set of documents.
  • The key service which a real estate agent provides for a buyer includes the assessment of public information concerning apartments for sale, selecting attractive properties and arranging with their owner for showing, and making sure that all documents are in order, including registration and final transfer of clean and empty property.
  • If you require assistance for checking legal history and making final arrangements for a purchase of a property which you have already located, we can provide this for roughly half of our usual fee.
  • Checking the history of a property is crucial prior to any purchase since laws have changed several times over the past twenty years. All property need to be clear of any legal challenges by previous owners.
  • In addition to broker's fees, the buyer ordinarily covers the final closing costs, which include notary fees, registration and bank expenses. Your agent will give you an estimate of these costs in advance. Notarizing of the sale-purchase agreement is not required by law but is highly recommended, providing essential insurance since by law a notary must check the precision of all documents notarized and will bear the financial cost for any errors. Notary fees range from .7% to 1.5% of the sale value of a property.
  • Registration of the sale of a property must be completed with the Federal Registration Service in St. Petersburg within 30 days ( plus fees for courier) with expedited registration in seven days time for .
  • Bank fees are required for the rental of safe deposit boxes in banks for the deposit of escrow funds of the buyer, even though most purchases are done in cash. Such funds are released to the seller upon completion of required registered documents. Although some high-end apartments are sold through wire transfers of funds, the use of cash and safe deposit boxes is safer and more customary.
  • The key steps for negotiating a sale in St. Petersburg include securing a property, negotiation of purchase price, signing of preliminary agreement, researching the property history and preparation of documents, closing of purchase including payment, registration, and transfer of property.
  • A preliminary agreement is necessary because any real estate transaction requires a complete set of documents concerning the property, its value, its previous registration and taxation. Thus a preliminary agreement is signed which indicates a promise to purchase subject to the provision of the documents.
  • An agreed upon price may be changed during the period before a final agreement is signed, since by law in Russia there is no requirement for the seller to finalize a sale based upon the listed price, and considerable time sometimes elapses between preliminary agreement and final sale. Deposit in cash is made by the buyer to the seller, for some percentage of the sale price, after which the seller removes the property from the market. Legally in the Russian Federation there are two possible deposits: advance payment (Avans) and property deposit (Zadatok). STN Ltd. will help you determine which is most appropriate in your case.
  • Closing takes place after the full amount of sale is deposited in a bank safe deposit box, the sale purchase agreement is signed either at the bank or at a notary. The signed agreement is then submitted for registration, after which the actual transfer of ownership takes place. Once the actual transfer is accomplished, a final "acceptance act" is signed by both parties certifying that the property has changed hands in acceptable condition.
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