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How to get a TAPU in Turkey

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Istanbul
View of Istanbul Seqoya / Shutterstock

What is a TAPU in Turkey

A TAPU or a Turkish title deed is a certificate of ownership of property. In Turkey, a signed contract of sale is not a confirmation of the transfer of ownership; such a right is guaranteed only by a TAPU issued by the cadastral office.

This method of transferring ownership guarantees perpetual and undivided ownership of the land, residential and commercial facilities. In the future, no one can challenge this right, even in court.

What a TAPU looks like in Turkey — this is a document with a photograph and personal data of the owner, which includes information about the property, its area size, location, cost and previous owners.

Building title certificate
Building title certificate

The benefits of a TAPU

Ownership covers the building and the land. A TAPU in Turkey establishes the ownership of the building and the land to which it is attached. Therefore, the certificate indicates the cadastral number of the land plot and data on its area size, not the exact address of the object.

Up to 10 people can be co-owners. The list of property owners can include spouses, children, parents, friends and acquaintances without age restrictions. The document can also indicate how much of the land belongs to each of the co-owners.

A TAPU gives the right to obtain a residence permit. Foreign citizens with completed title deeds (TAPU) have the right to obtain a Turkish residence permit, provided that the value of the purchased property exceeds 75 thousand US dollars in the capital municipalities’ provinces and 50 thousand US dollars in other provinces. This minimum value threshold rule applies to foreigners' transactions with Turkish real estate concluded after 26 April 2022. 

If the property was purchased prior to this date, a property appraisal is not required to obtain a residence permit based on the property owned. A short-term residence permit in Turkey is issued for 1–2 years, but it can be extended as long as the property remains in ownership. Spouses and minor children can apply for a family residence permit together with the owner, to whom a TAPU is issued. 

A TAPU for property with a cadastral value of 400,000 US dollars or more allows applying for citizenship. If the TAPU property value exceeds 400,000 US dollars then the owner can apply for Turkish citizenship. Under the simplified investment citizenship program, you can get a passport of the Turkish Republic in 4–6 months.

TAPU for legal entities. Not only foreign individuals, but also foreign legal entities can acquire real estate in Turkey. This is based on the principle of reciprocity: Turkish real estate can be bought by residents of those countries whose legislation allows residents of Turkey to purchase real estate. Currently, Turkey observes the principle of reciprocity with 112 countries, including Russia.

What types of TAPU certificates are there?

There are two types of TAPU certificates in Turkey:

  • the red TAPU is a certificate of ownership of a property with residential or commercial buildings: apartments, cottages, private houses or commercial premises;
  • the blue TAPU is a proof of ownership of the land.

Foreigners who purchase undeveloped land must submit a development plan within two years and implement it within five years. 

If the project is not submitted or implemented within the agreed timeframe, then, at the initiative of the municipal authorities, the property can be sold through an auction at market value, and the title to the property is revoked.

TAPU certificates
What a TAPU looks like in Turkey: on the left is a certificate of the right to the building, on the right — to the land

Since 2021, Turkey has been issuing a new type of TAPU certificates with QR codes. The Turkish government is gradually introducing an electronic TAPU registration system. The new forms include a property identification number and a QR code with a link to the information about the property and its owner.

The appearance of the form has changed: detailed information about the property and its previous owners has been removed, while the net and gross areas of the property have been added, along with the information about owners and their shares.

Building title certificate.
A new TAPU in Turkey

The new owner can choose whether he wants to receive an old or a new TAPU.

The gross area of an apartment in the apartment building is determined by proportionally dividing the entire floor’s area. The gross area includes the net area of the apartment, external and internal walls, part of the staircase and elevator shaft, as well as part of other common areas on the floor. The idea is that the entire floor area should be distributed among the apartment owners.

The net area is the net square footage inside the apartment.

Reasons for obtaining a certificate of ownership in Turkey

The basis for obtaining a TAPU is a confirmed purchase of property in Turkey. Before applying for a TAPU, the new owner must sign a sales contract, conduct an independent appraisal of the property, complete all settlements with the seller and obtain a Turkish tax number (TIN).

The legal provisions on the purchase of real estate by foreigners are enshrined in the articles 35 and 36 of the Turkish Cadastre Law No. 2644

Obtaining a TAPU by a foreigner

Prior to obtaining a certificate, the buyer must resolve all issues concerning the purchase of real estate: select a property, conduct an independent appraisal of its value, take out insurance, sign a contract of sale and transfer money to the seller.

Only after all that an application for a TAPU can be submitted. Notably, the buyer and seller must come to the cadastral authorities together and sign the absence of claims documents.

Let’s see the steps needed to get a TAPU in Turkey.

Step 1: Choosing a property

First, the buyer has to select a property, taking into account the following restrictions for foreigners: 

  • Foreigners cannot own more than 10% of the area of ​​a district that is in private ownership (districts’ borders are determined by the state).
  • On the territory of administrative entities, it is allowed to purchase land plots with an area of no more than 2.5 hectares.
  • Real estate with a total area of ​​more than 30 hectares in Turkey can only be bought by foreign individuals with permission from the Turkish Cabinet of Ministers. The exception is property acquired by inheritance.
  • Foreigners are not allowed to purchase property in closed military areas and security zones.
  • Russian and Ukrainian citizens cannot buy real estate on the Black Sea coast.

The choice of the property is determined by the location, investor's budget and overall goal: obtaining citizenship or receiving rental income. Istanbul offers the largest selection of properties suitable for the citizenship by investment program.

The property market overview in 10 Turkish cities with the largest number of residential property deals

Sales volume in January 2022

Average price per square metre, in US $

Average property price, in US $

Annual value increase, in US $ terms 

Payback period from rental income, in years

Istanbul

15,110

430

49,511

45%

16

Ankara

8,255

207

26,953

7%

17

Izmir

5,486

376

47,009

10%

21

Antalya

4,295

370

45,506

43%

19

Bursa

3,734

245

31,838

14%

20

Kocaeli

2,801

226

28,256

6%

20

Mersin

2,346

221

33,155

38%

14

Tekirdag

2,215

201

27,083

26%

17

Aydin

2,184

420

60,454

54%

32

Balikesir

1,891

327

39,212

27%

26

* All prices at the beginning of 2022 are shown in US dollars at the rate of 1 USD to 13.48 TRY. The annual increase in prices is calculated against the US dollar exchange rate at the beginning of 2021 (1 USD to 7.45 TRY).

Step 2: Verifying and purchasing the property

Suitable properties should be checked for encumbrances: judicial arrest, collateral obligations, priority right of redemption or right of residence. 

It is worth paying attention to the type of registration specified in TAPU. The Kat Irtifaki mark in TAPU means preliminary registration according to the approved plan of the project under construction and the developer has yet to complete the second stage of registration. The Kat Mulkiyeti mark means that the apartment is finally registered in the housing fund.

Buyers are sometimes offered apartments with Kat Irtifaki in newly built buildings. This may mean that there have been some deviations from the original project’s plan and the facility has not yet received an operating permit from the municipality. Even if the discrepancies with the project’s plan are insignificant, the registration of ownership of such properties may be delayed. The developer must first clear up the questions with the state experts.

In order to avoid unpleasant surprises, we recommend checking the project’s documentation and all types of encumbrances before the deal. A local lawyer can help with this by forwarding inquiries about the property to competent authorities. You can find a reliable lawyer with Tranio’s help — we have been working on the Turkish market with trusted partners for many years.

If the documents are in order and the buyer is satisfied, he opens an account in a Turkish bank, signs a sales contract, pays for the purchase and receives a Turkish TIN.

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Step 3: Conducting an appraisal of the property

To obtain a TAPU in Turkey, an appraisal of the property’s market value is required. It is carried out according to the international standards. This procedure is designed to protect the investors from fraud by showing the property’s real value.

It is allowed to indicate the property’s appraised value (cadastral value) in a TAPU certificate, even if the actual price of the property was higher. This can be beneficial for the owner, because taxes and fees for issuing a TAPU are charged on the appraised value.

In Istanbul’s primary properties, the price and the appraised value of apartments are almost identical. In Alanya, Antalya and other coastal areas, in most cases, the cadastral value in a TAPU is much lower that the market value. 

If an investor plans to apply for Turkish citizenship by investment without noticeably exceeding the limit, he should look for properties in regions where the cadastral value is close to the real market price, for example, in Istanbul.

— Emirhan Kırkıncıoğlu, a Turkish real estate expert

For the property’s appraisal, you must contact a certified expert. His services cost about 200 euro; the assessment is usually ready within 2–3 days. Tranio partners with competent experts and can guarantee that the assessment will be completed on time.

Step 4: Insuring the property

To obtain a TAPU, a policy of compulsory insurance against damage after an earthquake and other acts of nature (DASK) is also required. The cost of insurance depends on many parameters: real estate area, type of construction and seismic activity in the area. For example, insuring a new 100 sq. m apartment in Istanbul will cost about 18 euro per year, while in Alanya, where the seismic activity is lower, the cost will be around 7 euro.

Streets of Istanbul
Streets of Istanbul in February Tekkol / Shutterstock

Step 5: Applying for a TAPU

To apply for a TAPU in Turkey, you need to prepare the following documents:

  • an international passport valid for at least six months;
  • 2 photographs 3x4 cm in size;
  • Turkish TIN;
  • Turkish bank account information;
  • property’s appraisal report;
  • a policy of insurance (DASK);
  • a power of attorney if the owner cannot be present in person.

You can apply for a certificate of ownership in person or through an authorized representative at the General Directorate of Land Registry and Cadastre. After submitting the documents, the applicant must wait for an SMS notification about the appointed date of the visit to sign the documents.

Step 6: Paying duties and taxes

The property’s owner needs to pay a transfer tax, which is 2–4% of the cadastral value of the property.

He also needs to pay the state duty for the paperwork and services of a state interpreter, amounting to 200 euro.

After all taxes and duties are paid, the cadastral department will start processing the documents. The property’s owner will be notified by an SMS message about the appointed date of issuing a TAPU.

Step 7: Signing the paperwork

On the appointed day, the buyer and seller, or their authorized representatives, come to the cadastral office, which is defined by the property’s location. If one of the participants does not speak Turkish, a state interpreter must then be present.

At this meeting, the buyer and seller report they have no claims against each other, afterwards the information about the new owner is entered into the state registry of real estate. The buyer becomes the full owner of the property.

In a few days the TAPU will be issued. On average, the entire process takes up to 3 weeks.

Annual Balloon Festival
Annual Balloon Festival in Cappadocia TravnikovStudio / Shutterstock

The total cost of obtaining a TAPU

The cost of obtaining a TAPU in Turkey includes the following fees:

  • a transfer tax, which is 2–4% of the cadastral value;
  • the state duty for paperwork and services of a state interpreter — about 200 euro.

How a TAPU is filled out

The new TAPU consists of four parts: 

  • part 1 — information about the location and address;
  • part 2 — information about the property;
  • part 3 — information about the owners;
  • part 4 — information from the General Directorate of Land Registry and Cadastre.
Certificate with comments

Part 1 — information about the location and address:

  • 1. İli — province / region;
  • 2. İlçe — district;
  • 3. Mahallesi / Köy — street block, village;
  • 4. Ada No и Parsel No — lot number;
  • 5. Yüz Ölçümü — area size;
  • 6. Niteliği — type of the property (specifications);
  • 7. Fotoğraf — photo of the owner.

Part 2 — information about the property:

  • 8. Niteliği — type of the property;
  • 9. Blok No – Çiriş – Kat No — block number, entrance and floor;
  • 10. Arsa Payi — owner’s share;
  • 11. Bağımsız Bulüm No — number of an independent object (apartment, office, etc.);
  • 12. Proje m² — object’s area size;
  • 13. Cilt / Sayfa No — page and record number.

Part 3 — information about the owner:

  • 14. Adı Soyadu / Baba Adı — name(s) of the owner(s);
  • 15. Hissesi — owner’s share.

Part 4 — information from the General Directorate of Land Registry and Cadastre:

  • 16. Taşınmaz Tipi / No — type of the property and its number;
  • 17. Konum Bilgisi — address information;
  • 18. Edinme Neder — form of ownership (purchase, inheritance or gift);
  • 19. Tescil Tarihi / Yevmiye No — date and registration number;
  • 20. işlem Bedeli — property value.

FAQ

How much does a TAPU cost in Turkey?

The cost depends on the price of the property — a transfer tax of 2–4% of the object’s value plus approximately 620 euro for related costs: property’s appraisal, state fees, translation services and property insurance. 

What documents are required for a TAPU registration?
  • An international passport valid for at least six months;
  • 2 photographs 3x4 cm in size;
  • Turkish TIN;
  • Turkish bank account information;
  • Property’s appraisal report;
  • A policy of insurance, if there is a building;
  • A power of attorney if the owner cannot be present in person.
What is checked when issuing a TAPU?
  • The appraised value of the property.
  • A signed and paid contract of sale.
  • Property’s insurance, if there are buildings.
  • TIN of the buyer and seller.
  • Payment of the state duty and taxes.
How to verify the authenticity of TAPU?

A TAPU can only be issued by a state body. Therefore, through a notary one can request and receive confirmation of the document’s authenticity from a state body. The new TAPU has a QR code leading to a government website with information about the property.

Who can be included in a TAPU?

One can include any person in a TAPU and indicate shares of the property that will belong to each of the co-owners. There are no restrictions on kinship or age of participants. The number of co-owners is limited to 10.

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