Buying property in any foreign country can be a nightmare and there are many frequently asked questions about buying property in Greece. This list of questions and answers has been compiled to give you a starting point and aims to help you with the necessary research that is involved when buying a property in Greece.
What types of properties are available to buy in Greece?
There are many different types of properties available to buy in Greece: Cottages, villas, village houses, town houses and apartments. There are old properties to renovate or you can buy a plot of land and design and build a new home. There is usually something for everyone’s tastes and budget.
Can I buy a property in the Peloponnese?
Yes, there are no restrictions for foreigners wishing to buy property in the Peloponnese.
Are foreigners welcome in Greece?
Yes, the Greek people are among the friendliest in Europe. There is now a large number of citizens from all nationalities living in Greece.
Do I have to have my finance in place before my inspection visit?
It’s advisable to have your finances in place before your inspection visit. If you see your dream home you will be able to purchase it without any delays. This way you will not miss out.
I’ve found the house I wish to purchase in Greece – now what happens?
Choose an English-speaking lawyer. The British Consul’s provide lists of recommended lawyers. Tel: 0030 210 369 2333.
You can sign a proxy in order that your lawyer can represent you; obtain your tax number (AFM). You need this to complete your purchase; check title deeds and ensure there are no problems; and to sign the contract on your behalf. In this way the property can be signed over to you and it is not necessary for you to make extra visits. Your lawyer will also deal with the Public Notary on your behalf. The Public Notary is responsible for drawing up your contracts, witnessing the signatures / payments and registering the new ownership of your property. When this process is complete the lawyer will provide you with a copy of the deeds. The original is placed with the land registry department.
All transactions are in Euros. You will need to set up a Greek bank account to pay for your legal advice, transfer money and pay bills. There are foreign exchange brokers that can transfer large amounts to Greece according to the business rate. Payment of utility bills can be set up very easily by direct debit via the bank, and money can be transferred online. The Leki Bank is connected to the HSBC and accounts may be opened in the UK.
The ‘PINK SLIP’ for wire transfers of money from abroad. If the buyer cannot justify the amount of money they have spent, the Greek tax authorities will assign it as unreported income and the buyer will be assessed for income tax.
Do I have to pay a deposit?
Yes, it is normal to pay a deposit of 10 / 20% of the agreed purchase price. This seals the contact between the seller and the buyer.
If the seller pulls out (which is unlikely) he must return the money plus the same amount again. If the buyer pulls out the deposit is forfeit. However, if previously known problems are revealed the deposit will automatically be returned.
How long does the purchase process take?
Property purchase is generally completed in a short period. It can take as little as 48 hours to 2 weeks. However, if the seller has not collected all the necessary documents for the transaction, it can take up to 3 months.
Will I have to pay tax on the property that I purchased?
Yes. The custom in Greece is to keep down the declared value of the property to reduce legal fees and property taxes. The one time purchase tax (which is the Greek equivalent of our stamp duty) is calculated at between 9% and 11% of the assessed property value for plots of land. For apartments and houses the charge is between 11% and 13%. The Inland Revenue will base their assessment on special tables issued by the Greek Ministry of Finance. The tables help determine the value of the property according to its merits, ie location, nature, quality of construction etc. The assessed value will usually amount to around two thirds of the true purchase price.
What other costs can I expect?
Other costs include the following:
Union fees: 1% of the taxable price of the property up to EUR44,000 and then 0.5% on the remaining taxable property price.
Lawyer’s fees: Lawyers charge between 1% and 2% of the assessed value as recorded on the contract of sale.
Public Notary fees and registration charges: The Notary Public fee is between 1% and 2% of the assessed property value
To the above cost of purchasing your property you should make an allowance for either buying furniture or appliances in Greece or transporting your furniture and household effects from the UK.
Do I have to pay a fee for finding a property?
Yes, commission is usually paid by the seller and the buyer in Greece. Fees and are normally 2% – 5%. After sales services are often available and will also incur an additional charge. Fees are generally fixed in accordance to the services that you require.
If something happens to me will the property automatically go to my next of kin?
Yes it will go to next of kin. Death duties are payable on property up to £100,000. This can be avoided if the property is made a “Parental Gift” to children. If there are no children a will should be made.
Now, enjoy your new home in Greece, you deserve it!
This information is provided in good faith and believed to be correct at the time of writing. However, its accuracy cannot be guaranteed.