Buying a property in Greece is simple and straightforward. Once you have found a property you wish to purchase the process required through to completion is approximately 6 to 8 weeks. Greek property is available to all EU and non-EU citizens. Many different types of property are available, from traditional stone houses to chic new apartments. Prices depend on condition and location.
Property in Greece is at present relatively undervalued, there is excellent potential for capital growth. Some areas of the mainland are seeing appreciation of up to 25 per cent per annum.
Properties in Greece are freehold and they are all registered with the national Land Registry and/or the national Registry of Mortgages. Property in Greece is under the protection of the State (Greek Constitution: Article 17, paragraph 1); all property owners in the country have equal rights and responsibilities.
All buildings in Greece are designed in accordance with Greek and European design codes and are constructed to European building standards. Buildings are compliant with the design Eurocodes and the European building regulations.
Step by Step Buying Guide
Once you have found the property of your liking, and you decide to proceed with a purchase, you will then need to follow these basic steps:
1. Appoint a Lawyer
The Buyer must appoint a lawyer to assist him with and represent him in the process. LG Properties can either provide you with a list of reputable real estate lawyers in Greece (English, German, French or Russian speaking), or immediately assign one for you, subject to your approval.
The lawyer’s fee is 1.0% on a property value of up to € 44.020 and 0.5% on any value above that, plus any expenses for legal research or any other legal services offered to the client.
2. Appoint a Public Notary
A notary public must be appointed since any property purchase agreement, in order to be valid, must be written by a notary public and signed in his presence.
The notary public’s fee is generally around 1.0% of the property value, plus a fixed fee of € 500 for the drafting of the contract.
3. Get a copy of the title deed and perform a title search at the Registry of Mortgages
The buyer must obtain the contract deed (title) held by the seller. It is then the lawyer's obligation to search the title deed at the registry of mortgages. The search must be carried out in order to secure that:
- The vendor holds the absolute deed of the property.
- The property is unencumbered.
- All property taxes burdening the seller have been paid.
- The construction was completed in accordance to all planning and building permissions.
Thus, only if the title deed is secure should the buyer proceed to contract.
4. Issue a tax registry number
A tax registry number must be issued for the buyer, in order to proceed with any transactions. The tax registry number is applied for and issued by the local tax authority. The lawyer normally does this for you.
5. Pay the transfer and municipality tax
The buyer, prior to signing the contract, must pay the transfer tax to the local tax authority. This is done with the aid of the lawyer.
The transfer tax ranges between 7 to 9 % on the objective value, but, if the commercial value is higher than the objective value, then the tax authorities could decide to calculate the tax on that value. If planning permission for the building is granted after 31/12/2005, then the transfer tax is replaced by 19% V.A.T. on an assessed and approved by the tax authority value.
The Municipality tax is 3% on the amount of the transfer tax.
6. Signing the contract
In order to have a valid contract, it must be signed in the presence of a public notary and a lawyer. When the contract is signed, the notary registers the transaction at the local registry of mortgages.
7. Effect transfer at the Registry of Mortgages
The buyer's lawyer makes sure that the title is transferred to the buyer's name, by obtaining the relevant certificate from the Registry of Mortgages.
The registration fee at the Register of Mortgages is 0,5% on the objective price.
8. Notify the Land Registry for the transfer
A copy of the title and the certificate from the Registry of Mortgages, of the property needs to be registered under the buyer's name at the Land registry. However, not all regions of the country have such a registry, as Greece is currently undergoing the process of establishing its Land Registry. In areas that do not yet have a Land Registry, ownership of property is based on and secured by the local Registry of Mortgages.
Financing your purchase
When deciding how to finance your Greek property purchase, consider all of the following options:
- Paying cash, if you can afford to, is the simplest way.
- Re-mortgaging your UK home
- Arranging a mortgage on your new property through a UK or Greek lender.
Re-mortgaging generally offers the easier solution. Releasing equity in a UK home means that your Greek property can be purchased for cash, without the need for another mortgage. However, this may only be feasible if you own your UK home outright.
Greek banks offer loans to EU citizens for buying, building or renovating property, reaching up to 80% of the commercial value of the property and at interest rates that lie in the range of 3,5% – 5,0%. LG Properties can help you arrange loans to cover 100% of the commercial value of the property through our extensive network.
Euro mortgages, which are tied to the rate set by the European Central Bank (ECB), currently lower than the Bank of England base rate, may seem an attractive option, and several UK lenders offer them.
Remember! The LG Properties team will be more than happy to assist you in the purchase of your property in Greece, and will ensure that you are provided with the best market deals and the most professional service and advise.