Sunday, April 18, 2010

10 Top Tips For Buying A Property In Greece

Buying a property in Greece can be one of life's most exciting experiences - and one of the most challenging, so have you really thought about what's involved? Have you done your homework, research and planning? A little forward preparation will help you achieve your goal of successfully living in Greece. It's much better than leaving the purchase of your Greek property to chance.

One of the most common mistake people make when buying a property in Greece is to presume that the laws and property purchase procedures are the same in Greece as they are in their own country.  They most certainly are not!  Many people, who would like to buy a property in Greece, find that the Greek property market appears to be a daunting experience. At first the Greek property purchasing process seems to be a very complicated one, but, approaching the undertaking of buying a property in Greece step by step shows that it is easily achievable.

Purchasing property in Greece is generally safe, although it is wise to obtain legal advice and follow the rules provided for your protection.  People that choose to ignore such procedures often do so at a financial cost.
If you have decided to buy a property in Greece there are a few fact you should know about before you buy your own property in Greece.

1. THE COST OF BUYING PROPERTY IN GREECE: When buying a property in Greece add at least 15 per cent of the purchase price for fees and taxes, including a property-transfer tax of 7 to 11 per cent. Lawyers fees 1-2%, other expenses approximately 1% for notary fees and land registry. Local municipal tax or community tax is currently calculated at 3% of the property purchase tax and is paid together with the property purchase tax. Annual taxes are payable in Greece on properties owned over the value of 200,000 Euros. The valuation of properties is carried out by the government which provides published values, announced for every type of property. This is known as the government objective price.

2. SETTING UP A BANK ACCOUNT: All transactions are conducted 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. To open a bank account you will need your passport and a utility bill with you address on it.

3. THE "PINK SLIP": The all important ‘pink slip' for wire transfers of money from abroad. If the property 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 income tax.

4. THE AFM NUMBER: All buyers of property in Greece must have a Greek tax roll number (AFM) which is issued by the tax offices. It's free and issued on the spot. Greek and EU citizens must show their ID card. Foreigners living in Greece are required to present their passport or another valid document of identification and their residence permit. Greek and foreigners who permanently reside abroad can also apply for an AFM. They must submit the application to a special tax office located at 18 Lykourgou St, Omonia

5. LAWYERS ('DIKIGOROS'): It is essential to get an English-speaking lawyer. The British Consul's provides a list of recommended lawyers, Tel 0030 210 369 2333. Beware of buying a property that belongs to more than three family members. And you will need a substantial file as you need to have photocopies of everything. The lawyer conducts the title search at the relevant land registry.

6. PUBLIC NOTARY (SYMVOLEOGRAPHOS):  The notary public is independent of either the seller or the purchaser. He draws up the contract for transfer of property and the various terms and conditions contained therein. If you do not speak fluent Greek an official translator must be present for the reading and signing of the contracts and a small fee will be paid by you.

7. REAL ESTATE AGENT: The Real Estate Agent's fees are usually paid by the seller and the buyer.  The exact amount of commission is a matter between the agent and the client. All expenses for the conclusion of the final contract, including the tax on property transfer will be borne by the buyer. Each party will pay the fees of their legal representative who must be present at the signing of the contract; this is required by Greek Law.

8. A CIVIL ENGINEER ('POLITIKOS MICHANIKOS'); may be hired to review a specific plot and to ensure the property's boundaries are within the description in a title document. They can also be consulted regarding specific building restrictions in place in your chosen area.

9 HOLIDAY HOMES: A common error made by many people is to over estimate rental potential. Do not count on holiday lettings for your property to tourists during the months you are not there. In the last two years there has been a decline in tourism in most parts of Greece, and income from letting property has declined with it. To let out rooms legally, you must have a license from the Greek Tourism Board.  You must also fulfil fire and safety regulations, and you must pay tax on this income. Authorities are having a clamp down on illegal lets, and fines are enormous!

10. INSURANCE: Whether you intend using your property for holidays or as a permanent residence it is wise to make sure your home is properly insured. You can arrange insurance through a reputable UK broker or your Greek Bank.

Whether you are planning to buy a villa, village house or an apartment, I hope this information will help you avoid some of the pitfall of purchasing a property in Greece and that your path will be smooth, bringing forth many happy years in your new Greek home.
Good luck!
(ArticlesBase SC #804821)

Claire May - About the Author:
Claire May is a recognized author of articles about property in Greece and Messinia. An article of her successful undertaking was published in the Escape property magazine. Her articles aim to help buyers with their research and assist them through the unfamiliar Greek property purchasing procedures. Claire has also designed a website to provide readers with information about properties in Messinia. Happy reading and good luck with your venture, you deserve it!