Overseas property

How to buy 3 apartments in Greece and get a residence permit in the middle of pandemic: Alex's case

1,382 views · Updated on

In 2021, Alex and his family bought three apartments in Athens and applied for residence permits in Greece. Due to the pandemic, the entire purchase process took place remotely, and the Greece borders opened just in time for Alex and his family to travel to Athens to apply for a residence permit. 

Alex can now travel around the world visa-free and plans to spend his time at the seaside after retirement.

Photo of Athens Oleksii Khodakivskiy / unsplash

Why property in Greece

The investor was considering the purchase of income-producing property in the EU in order to have a constant rental income in euros. Eventually, he decided on Greece: Athens has a high potential for real estate price growth, and prices there are lower compared to other European capitals.

Another important factor was that Greece grants a residence permit to investors who have bought real estate in the country. The investment threshold for obtaining a residence permit in Greece is lower than in other countries with similar programmes: you must buy real estate worth at least 250K euros. At the same time, in Cyprus, this threshold is 300K euros, and in Portugal and Spain – 500K euros.

“Greece suited me in many ways all at once: adequate prices, a growing market, lots of tourists, who are potential tenants. And the residence permit was a significant advantage.”

Alex, Tranio’s client

Alex approached Tranio to get legal assistance with the purchase and documentation, including the Greek residence permit for the whole family. Tranio's specialists proposed several options for Alex, and he chose a seven-storey historic building with a garden near the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.

Alex paid 270K euros for the three apartments in Athens under renovation.

How Alex bought the apartments online

In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic resulted in restrictions on international flights, and Alex took the opportunity to buy remotely. As he chose apartments in the building under renovation, he only needed a detailed project plan and photos and videos of the construction site to make the buying decision. He also looked through the photos of apartments in other buildings that have already been renovated by Tranio.

Previous project of Tranio in Athens: renovated and furnished apartment.

Tranio’s lawyer in Athens handled the transaction remotely. He gathered the necessary documents and made translations into Greek. Alex prepared a power of attorney for the lawyer, who signed the sale-purchase agreement in his name.

“Tranio’s managers provided support throughout the transaction, keeping me informed about the renovation. Special thanks to Tranio’s lawyer in Athens.”

Alex, Tranio’s client

Alex also monitored the renovation process online. Once a month he received a detailed report on how the renovation was progressing, including photos and videos. Tranio was in full control over the contractors, and the managers were always available to answer Alex's questions.

Tranio’s project in Athens before renovation.
Tranio’s project in Athens after renovation.

Despite the strict quarantine in Athens, Tranio completed the renovations on time. To this end, the company's managers gave the builders a special work permit, which allowed the renovations to continue during the lockdown.


The investor only needs to be present in person in order to open an account in a Greek bank, into which the rental income is then conveniently deposited. Fingerprints are also required to obtain a residence permit. So after Greece opened its borders, Alex and his family flew to Athens.

Advantages of the apartment undergoing renovation

The house where Alex bought the apartments is Tranio's own project. The company completely renovated the building, including the façade, entrance and staircases, installed a lift and replaced the utilities in the entire building. Tranio also altered the layout of the building, making 11 small apartments out of several larger ones. Before that, the building had both apartments and commercial premises: offices, a karate hall and an atelier.

Alex paid 90% of the price in advance, so Tranio gave him a discount: furniture and appliances were included in the price. This was agreed upon instead of a discount on the property. It was decided to keep up the price of the apartment, otherwise, it would fall below 250K euros, and Alex would not be able to get a residence permit.

Apartment in Athens renovated by Tranio

After the renovation, Alex will be able to sell his apartments in the renovated building at a higher price and earn on the difference in value. Prices in Athens are projected to rise 10-15% a year, so after a while, Alex will be able to benefit from the capital gains.

At present, though, Alex has chosen a different option: he is renting out apartments on a long-term basis.

Tranio guarantees Alex a constant yield of 3%

The highest yield from overseas property can be obtained by renting it out all year round. That is why Alex and his family do not plan to live in their Athenian apartments or spend holidays there, at least not in the near future.

Tranio has assumed all the obligations related to the lease. The company is in charge of finding tenants to occupy the apartments and guarantees Alex a constant yield of 3%.

View of St Panteleimon's church in Athens from the yard of the building where Alex's apartments are located

Alex plans to travel around the world

Alex and his family do not intend to live in Athens now. However, with the Greek residence permit they can travel freely around the European Union and Schengen area without a visa.

In Greece, Alex and his family are going to apply for a tourist visa to the US, which is much easier to do in Europe than through the American embassy in Moscow. The investor’s family also plan to visit Australia and the UK. Although Greek residents require visas to these countries, the application process is much easier than that in non-EU countries.

The Greek residence permit does not oblige Alex to reside in Greece, pass a Greek language test or renounce his citizenship. It does, however, give him freedom to move around Europe and new opportunities to travel.

Athens Florian GIORGIO / unsplash

Alex and his wife want to move to Greece for their retirement. They like the warm climate, clean beaches and delicious and fresh food.

How to obtain Golden Visa in Greece in 2021

Investors obtain the Greek “Golden Visa” when they buy a property worth at least 250K euros. A buyer can purchase several properties, as Alex did by purchasing a package of 3 apartments.

The investor's spouse, children under the age of 21 and parents of both spouses can also obtain the Greek residence permit.

After the purchase of the property, the investor and his family apply for a residence permit. Immediately after submitting the documents, the investor receives a certificate of acceptance, which allows the investor to stay in Greece for one year. The applicants then have to submit their fingerprints to the Greek Immigration Service, and in a few weeks, the investor and his family will receive the residence permit.

The residence permit must be renewed every five years. If desired, the investor and his family can obtain Greek citizenship provided they have lived in Greece for at least 7 years and have passed a Greek language test.

Learn more about the application procedure for the residence permit in Greece

Share the article
Subscribe not to miss new articles

We will send you a content digest not more than once a week

    I confirm that I have read and accept the Privacy Policy and Personal Data Processing Guidelines.

    Tranio’s managers offer advice on buying real estate in Greece
    Yulia Belousova
    Yulia Belousova
    Real Estate Expert Tranio Europe
    +44 17 4822 0039
    Send a request
      I confirm that I have read and accept the Privacy Policy and Personal Data Processing Guidelines.
      • Residence permit support
      • Mortgage rates from 3.5%