must apply to the Ministry of Defence for a permit to buy property. (A permit is not required to buy housing shares.) Information must be provided about the buyer and seller, along with the intended use of the property. The fee is 150 euros ($175), and processing takes anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

Real estate agents, not lawyers, commonly handle property transactions. “We are required to have legal knowledge and to pass an exam organized by the Central Chamber of Commerce in order to work as a real estate agent,” Mr. Marttonen said.

The agent’s commission in the Helsinki metropolitan area is between 2 and 5 percent, depending on the property, Mr. Marttonen said.

Mortgages are available to foreign buyers, but most banks in Finland have strict qualification requirements.

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