Overseas property
How to buy property in Greece: a step-by-step guide
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How to buy property in Greece: a step-by-step guide

Owning a home on the Aegean coast is a dream shared by many. But it's not far fetched because property in Greece is on average several times cheaper than in most other European countries. Secondly, the transaction is fairly straightforward with only six easy steps, as international property broker Tranio explains.

How to buy property in Greece
This villa on the island of Corfu is on sale for €2.3 million Photo: Tranio

Step 1. Choose a property

Foreign nationals can buy Greek property without any restrictions. Flats, detached homes, villas, townhouses, city, countryside and island apartments are equally available to non-residents. When choosing a property, one should pay special attention to its accessibility to public transport, as well as its proximity to shopping malls, restaurants, airports and hospitals.

When choosing a property in Greece, rely on your own sources for funds, as Greek banks are unwilling to lend to foreign buyers. Your budget must include funds for the property itself, taxes and agent fees, which in total make up 7–10% of the property cost.

Step 2. Due diligence

The legal audit of property includes verifying the authenticity of the seller's title deed and checking the Mortgage and Land Registry for any encumbrances or debts associated with the property. This takes about a month. Although a lawyer's assistance at this stage is not legally obligatory, Tranio recommends seeking such services as legal due diligence requires proficiency in the Greek language. In addition, a lawyer's assistance will be necessary later on. At the same time, you will have to sign a preliminary sales agreement and make a down payment of approximately 10% of the property price.

Step 3. Open a bank account

You will need a local bank account to pay the seller for the property as well as to pay taxes and utility bills in the future. However, the first thing you need to do is to get a Tax Identification Number, which is a simple procedure that only takes a few hours. At the same time, you will most probably need legal assistance, as the application to the local tax authority is to be submitted in Greek. You will need to present your passport and a passport copy.

Opening a bank account is slightly more complex and takes 1 to 2 days. You must personally submit the application documents to the bank. Your lawyer will thoroughly review the set of documents, which includes:

  • passport and passport copy;
  • tax return copy, tax residence certificate or personal income tax forms for the three previous years (apostilled and translated into Greek or English by an authorised translator);
  • employment certificate (translated into Greek or English);
  • copy of your utilities bill (translated into Greek or English); and
  • phone number ownership certificate (translated into Greek or English).
How to buy property in Greece
The buyer of such an apartment in Athens can obtain a Greek residence permit as under the country’s residence-for-investment programme, investors can get a residence permit when buying property from €250,000. Photo: Tranio

Step 4. Transfer money and pay taxes

You transfer money from the bank account in your home country to your account in Greece so you can pay the seller. You will also have to pay any associated property transfer taxes. Buyers pay a 24% VAT on new-builds with permits issued after 1 January 2006. For properties built before 2006 only the title deed transfer tax — 3.09% of the property value — applies.

Step 5. Sign the agreement

Signing the sales agreement can be done in person or via your lawyer if he or she is given power of attorney in advance. The agreement is always signed in the presence of a notary, who charges 1.2% of the transaction value as a service fee. You can negotiate with the seller if you should transfer the money before or after signing the agreement.

Step 6. Register the property and the agreement

The notary registers the transaction with the Mortgage and Land Registry, while the lawyer registers the property with the National Cadastre & Mapping Agency. The registration tax ranges between 0.475% and 0.775%, and the procedure takes 4 to 6 weeks. After that, the transaction is complete and you are officially the owner of the property.

In summary:

  • Buying expenses constitute 7–10% of the property cost (if the property is built before 2006).
  • The purchasing process takes 1 to 3 months.
  • Buyers will have to visit the country at least once (to open a local bank account).

Olga Anisimova, Tranio

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