Using brokerage services

The easiest way to buy and sell real estate is via a broker; properties can also be rented out by using the help of a broker.

Choose a broker who is a member of the Estonian Chamber of Real Estate Brokers and/or holds a certificate of professional competence. A certified broker has proved his skills and knowledge during an attestation exam; having passed it, he is allowed to use the professional title of a real estate broker.

The commission fee of a broker is usually already included in the sale price of the property. When renting, you will likely have to pay the commission fee to the broker.

According to the EU Standard of Real Estate Broker’s Services, which came to force in Estonia in November 2012, a broker is required to sign a written contract with you.

Among other things, the contract should include:
  • data of the Parties;
  • work tasks/tasks;
  • fees payable, expenses, conditions of payment;
  • whether the agreement is a sole representative agreement or not, and what are the conditions of a sole representative contract;
  • whether subcontracting is allowed;
  • the date of signing the agreement, term of validity of the contract and conditions of termination.

A broker is not allowed to begin selling the property that belongs to you as a potential client before you have signed an agreement with the broker. The broker is required to notify you of a possible obligation to pay a double fee in the case they have signed an agreement with another real estate broker to sell the property in question.

A real estate broker is obliged to explain your rights and obligations as a buyer or seller of real estate, and give you appropriate information that may affect decisions relating to the transaction (price of the property, likely expenses).

As a buyer you should receive from the broker the property description, a document certifying the seller’s right of ownership, documents related to the cadastral unit, information about the structure of public utilities and their description, a contract of agency that demonstrates the real estate broker’s right to receive payments on behalf of the entitled person in relation to the transaction. The broker is also required to notify you of the current state of plans and development plans, and the shortcomings of the property on sale that are known to them.

As a seller, you should receive information from the broker concerning marketing strategies, ways in which to increase the value of the property, the implementation of local laws and documents that are necessary for the transaction

The real estate is also required to do the following: 
  • examine the property that is offered on location;
  • recommend and enable you as a buyer or lessee to get acquainted with the property on location before the conclusion of a transaction;
  • help the Parties prepare documents that are necessary to conclude the transaction;
  • discuss with you as a seller or lessor in advance before showing the property;
  • coordinate in advance with you as a seller or lessor on matters concerning the selling or leasing sign or board;
  • keep your money in their possession only is it is covered with a financial guarantee or sufficient insurance.
  • Make sure that everything the broker has promised would also be included in the contract, so that it would be possible for you to demand fulfilment of commitments from the broker.
  • It will not make it a void transaction if the real estate broker does not base their actions on the standard, however, such activities may be treated as an unfair commercial practice. Using unfair commercial practices is prohibited and punishable.
  • Consumer Protection Board can evaluate the use of unfair commercial practices on the basis of the standard, concerning only the information that the broker is obliged to provide to you as a consumer and the practices they should adhere to when providing services to you. The Board cannot provide supervision on qualifications and competences.