+ Buying and registering property in Greece

Santorini might be the mysterious lost city of Atlantis according to some scientists

Foreigners are finding it easier to buy property in Greece since 2008. The process is even quite straightforward but buyers will need a lawyer. In fact, a lawyer is a helpful asset who will take care of most of the paperwork required by the Greek authorities. The buyer only needs to be present in person twice: to choose the property and then to sign the final sales contract; everything else is taken care of by the lawyer, real estate agent and notary. Investors can choose their own legal representative or ask the real estate agency to recommend one.

Citizens of the EU are not subject to any restrictions in Greece. Non-EU citizens must obtain a permit from the Ministry of National Defence if they want to purchase real estate along bordersand on some islands.

How it works in Greece:

1. Find a property. A local real estate agency offers properties that match your preferences as a buyer. The city, district and your budget are the main things to take into account. Once you have found one or more options that interest you, the agency will arrange viewings. Don’t hesitate to ask your real estate agent any questions about the property, payment procedures or potential discounts.

2. Sign the preliminary sales contract and pay the deposit. Now that you have chosen your property, you need to secure it with the help of your real estate agency. They will prepare and oversee the signing of the preliminary sales agreement as well as the down payment. Your deposit is non-refundable and valued at approximately 10% of the property price. If you change your mind and decide not to buy the property, the down payment cannot be used to buy a different property. If the seller cancels the transaction, they must pay twice the amount of the deposit to you.

3. Choose your lawyer. Greek law requires you to get a lawyer to whom you will confer power of attorney during your real estate transaction. You can choose your own legal representative or use one recommended by your agency. The law also states that as buyer, you must instruct the lawyer to open an account with a Greek bank. Doing so, however, does not authorise the lawyer to dispose of the deposited funds without your authorisation.

4. Choose a notary. The notary will review and certify the sales contract.

5. Do the due diligence. At this stage, your lawyer obtains a copy of the ownership certificate for the buyer and checks the Mortgage and Land Registry (Υποθηκοφυλακείο) for the seller’s right to the property, tax arrears and/or encumbrances on the property.

6. Register with the tax authorities. Your lawyer will file the registration application on your behalf directly with the local tax authorities (ΑριθμόςΦορολογικούΜητρώου, ΑΦΜ).

7. Pay the transfer taxes. Yet another task for your lawyer who will arrange this payment. The real estate transfer tax varies depending on when the official permit was delivered for the property you want to purchase. Land and property permits delivered before 1 January 2006 are taxed at 3% of the total sale price. Any property built after this date is taxed at 23% on mainland Greece and Crete and 16% on the other islands. You will also have to pay municipal tax amounting to 3% of the total transfer tax.

8. Make the final payment. Transfer the bulk sum to your Greek account. Greece does not tax money transfers from abroad that are destined to buy property. It’s also possible to get a mortgage in Greece, even if you are not a citizen.

9. Sign the final sales contract. You must provide the notary with a certificate confirming you have no tax arrears as well as a receipt for the payment of the real estate transfer tax. The notary certifies the deed once you and the seller have signed it, then you must issue a cheque to the seller and pay the real estate agency commission, ranging from 1.0 to 2.5% of the transaction value. There is a 1.2% notary's charge and legal fees ranging from 0.25 to 0.50%.

10. Check the Mortgage and Land Registry. Notaries record property transactions with the Mortgage and Land Registry. Ask your lawyer to get a certificate confirming that property rights have been correctly registered to you as new owner.

11. Register with the National Cadastre & Mapping Agency (Κτηματολόγιο). The transfer of ownership is registered upon producing a copy of the property certificate and a certificate issued by the Mortgage and Land Registry. You will need to pay registration tax amounting to 0.475% of the purchase price plus an extra €15.

 
 
Free advice on real estate in Greece
Alexandru-Viorel Hincu
Property Advisor
+44 20 3608 1267
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