Selling a used apartment

When you are selling an apartment, you must give the buyer all information about the apartment that may affect the sale. You should tell the buyer or the estate agent about the faults and defects of the apartment as well as any renovations the condominium has decided to carry out or is planning.

When you have accepted an offer for the apartment, you can usually no longer cancel the sale without paying a contract penalty.

When you are selling an apartment in a housing company, you sell not only the apartment but also a share in the housing company. That’s why you must obtain up-to-date information about the housing company’s financial situation.

You should obtain the following documents of the housing company

  • A housing manager’s certificate with information about repair needs. Check that the information on the certificate is up to date and correct. The vendor is liable for any false information on the housing manager’s certificate. However, if there is an error in the house manager’s certificate and this causes losses to the vendor, the vendor may claim compensation from the housing management.
  • the housing company’s articles of association
  • the minutes of the most recent shareholders’ meeting and the financial documents discussed at this meeting, including financial statements, the balance sheet and a financial plan.

The vendor must know about the matters discussed at the shareholders’ meeting even if they do not participate in them personally. The parties to a sale often dispute over whether the buyer has been informed at all, or clearly enough, about the future renovations, including plumbing or roofing repairs.

Remember to tell the buyer about

  • any renovations that have already been decided by the housing company, or ones that you know the housing company is planning
  • any information concerning the apartment, services in the area and its surroundings that may affect the sale
  • any faults and defects in the apartment
  • the planning situation in the area.

If the building is several decades old and its plumbing has not been renovated, such work can usually be expected. If this matter has not yet been discussed in the housing company or it has only been considered in general terms, you do not need to mention it specifically to the buyer.

Advertising and showing the apartment

If you are selling the apartment yourself, stick to the facts in the advertisement and brochures and when showing the apartment.

  • Advertise the apartment, for example in newspapers and online sales forums.
  • Prepare a brochure for the showing that also contains the floor plan of the apartment.
  • When people come to see the apartment, also show them the documents of the housing company.

When showing the apartment, let people look around at their own pace, just like estate agents do. Check the prices of apartments in your area and estimate the apartment’s value realistically.

For price data concerning apartments, visit the website of the Central Federation of Finnish Real Estate Agencies


If you are selling the apartment yourself, offers may be made verbally or in writing. An offer to an estate agent is always made in writing. Written offers are also better when you are selling the apartment yourself. This way both parties know their rights and obligations.

You can include clauses in the offer that determine how binding it is:

  • you should include in the offer a clause on cancelling an accepted offer. In this case, the party that cancels the offer has to pay the contract penalty specified in the offer or lose their deposit. These amounts may not be more than 4% of the sale price of the apartment.
  • The buyer may wish to include in the offer a co-called resolutive condition which states clearly the situations in which the offer is not binding. For example, this condition can be used if the buyer is not sure that they can get a mortgage.

If you do not like the first offer, which may be lower than your asking price

  • you do not have to respond to it, in which case it becomes void
  • you can make a counteroffer, and the initial offer becomes void.

The potential buyer must respond to the counteroffer within the time limit you have given. You should not make this time period too long. A couple of days is usually enough.

You should complete all stages of the offer in writing, or at least using e-mail. This avoids the situation where you have no proof of what you have agreed on the price, the payment schedule or the day on which the sale is concluded.

The vendor decides to whom they wish to sell the apartment

You have the right to decide which and what kind of offer you will accept. You never have an obligation to sell the flat, even if you have made a brokerage contract with an estate agent. However, you should note that there is a standard condition in brokerage contracts, under which the estate agent already has the right to their commission when a so-called full price offer has been made for the apartment, and the price and other conditions agreed in the brokerage contract are occurred.

If you withdraw of an offer that you have already accepted, you must pay the buyer the contract penalty that may have been agreed in the offer.

The deed of sale should be made in writing

You should always make the deed of sale for a share in a housing company in writing and in at least in two copies, one for the buyer and the other for the vendor.

You can find templates for deeds of sale on the Internet. Writing out the deed is a service that you can also purchase from an estate agent, a bank or a law firm.

The deed of sale must include all the agreed terms and conditions, including

  • the vendor’s and the buyer’s information
  • name and address of the housing company
  • the numbers and quantity of shares and the apartment number
  • information about the apartment (building, entrance, apartment number, number of rooms and area)
  • price and terms of payment
  • date on which the share certificates will be handed over
  • the dates on which the ownership and possession of the apartment will be transferred and the date from which the buyer starts paying the maintenance charge
  • a note on paying the transfer tax.

You should mention any defects and future renovations in the deed of sale. Always include any obvious defects in the flat in the deed of sale, rather than only telling the buyer about them verbally.

In the deed you should

  • mention any major defects in the apartment of which you have informed the buyer
    list the housing company’s documents that the buyer has seen before the sale
  • describe any large renovations the housing company has decided on or is planning.

For example: “The buyer knows that water from the dishwasher has leaked into the floor structures of the kitchen and the moisture damage was repaired in (year). The buyer also knows that the housing company has decided at its shareholder’s meeting (date) to commission an engineer to plan repairs to the roof…”.