A Guide to Buying Property in Greece
Many people dream of moving and living in the Hellenic lands and islands.
With a warm climate, abundance of beaches and a relaxed lifestyle, Greece is an extremely appealing destination to reside in.
Since you’ve come to this article, we’re assuming that you’re considering purchasing a residence on a Greek island or mainland.
You may therefore be wondering what the process is of buying a residence in Greece.
This quick guide will provide some answers and guidance.
Is a property in Greece a Good Investment?
Although the market in Greece is now steadily growing, Greek properties are still only around 60% of their peak value before the recession of 2008.
This makes it an extremely affordable country to relocate to and thus making the dream of living near idyllic beaches in the warm Mediterranean weather much more attainable.
The year on year increase in tourism also makes a villa in or near tourist hotspots a lucrative investment.
Purchasing in Greece as a Foreigner
As an EU national, it is a fairly straightforward process to purchasing a residence in Greece, as outlined this guide.
For non-EU nationals, the process becomes slightly more complex.
Along with proving a connection to the country, a non-EU national will have to apply through the Ministry of National Defense providing their intent of use for purchasing.
It should also be noted, in order to buy residence in Greece, you must prove to the Greek government that you have a monthly income of at least 2,000 Euros.
Required Parties For Purchasing Property in Greece
There are various parties required to purchase property in Greece.
For example, a lawyer is required in the buying process if the total value is over 12,000 Euros in rural areas and over 30,000 Euros in built up areas.
Lawyer – A lawyer is required to check the titles of the building to determine various points. These include whether the building is protected under Hellenic Constitution, how much land is included in the sale, if any debts will be inherited with the sale and if it is a legal sale. A lawyer will also assist in the contract of sale.
Notary – A notary will work alongside the lawyer. The notary will check and register the property with the land registry to provide you with the relevant titles.
Accountant/currency exchange professional – When purchasing a residence in Greece, the common route is to open a Greek bank account and transfer the funds before purchasing. This transaction requires permission from the Bank of Greece.
Civil engineer/building inspector – A selection of properties in Greece have been neglected and will require an inspector to determine if the building is structurally safe, how much restoration is likely to cost and to determine the perimeter included in the sale.
It should be noted, that when purchasing a residence as a foreigner, you must appoint a Greek-based attorney.
They will conduct the pre-sale investigations in order to pass all relevant regulations and to check the terms of the deeds.
If you are intending to purchase a property in Greece, we recommend that you contact Savvas Zannetos who is an attorney based on the island Crete.
Zannetos has a vast experience which includes real estate law, real estate transactions, contractual law and imigration law, along side experience working in foreign embassies.
Rights of the seller
The lawyer should investigate what rights the seller has.
For example, they may be selling the residence but not actually own it themselves.
The common rights a seller may have are as below, but are not limited to:
- Full, bare or usufruct ownership
- Mortgage ownership
- Easement rights
- Surface rights
It is of upmost importance that you and your lawyer are completely sure of what rights the current seller has over the property.
The last thing you want is to reach completion, then finding out that the deeds pass over unpaid debts or that you do not have complete ownership.
Costs of Purchasing Property in Greece
There are various costs associated with buying a residence in Greece. These costs include:
Lawyer fees– Average lawyer fees are around 1-2% of the total value.
Notary fees– Average notary fees are around 1% of the total value.
Public registration/community fee– Around 0.5% of the total value.
Land registration fee– Around 0.7% of the total value.
Taxes– Stamp duty purchase tax of around 3% of the total value. VAT of 24% is imposed on new build properties. When living in Greece you will also be subject to an annual tax, known as ENFIA and is determined from the dwelling’s value.
Investment properties, such as residential or holiday rentals are taxed based on their income, this is up to 29% of the rental income.
- Exchange rate fee– Varies depending on whether you use a bank or foreign exchange company.
How do I Find Property For Sale in Greece?
You can find property for sale in Greece uploaded by estate agents or the team at Emc2Property.
Are you selling a residence, land or commercial building? Advertise it here, completely free of charge!
Average Property Prices in Greece
The price of real estate in Greece will vary depending on which area of Greece you are interested in.
As a rough guide, the beachfront properties on popular holiday islands will attract a higher asking price than those in rural, mainland Greece.
The table below specifies various locations and the corresponding average asking price for a medium sized 3 bed house.
Prices may of course be much higher or much lower than those specified in the table.
|Location||Rough asking price|
*These figures are based on a quick search. We do not provide accuracy to these estimations
The Steps to Purchasing a Residence in Greece
Search property for sale in Greece and determine the location(s) which you would most like to live in. Make a list of the properties which you are interested in.
Inform and appoint a lawyer that you are considering purchasing a residence in Greece. Sourcing a lawyer early on will speed up the process later down the line.
Plan a trip to view properties. While the internet allows you to see the overall appearance of a property fairly well, you should definitely consider a trip to view the condition of the properties you are interested in before making an offer on one.
Obtain a unique tax number (AFM) from the Greek Internal Revenue Service and open a Greek bank account. Transfer required funds to your Greek bank account.
Inform your lawyer of the listing which you aim to make an offer on. After your lawyer has performed all necessary due diligence and everything is found to be fit for sale, you can then make an offer on the property.
Write the preliminary contract. A preliminary contract is legally binding and will state points such as what is included in the inventory of the sale, the price and payment method. Your lawyer will assist you through this stage.
Instruct a building surveyor to check the structure and condition of the building. This is not compulsory, however is recommended – you may have missed something vital when viewing the property yourself.
Appoint a notary. The notary will register the residence with the Land Registry and handle Greek tax documents. You should ensure your lawyer works alongside the notary to ensure that all final details of the contract are correct.
Sign the contract with the seller. Your lawyer and notary must be present during this stage to sign the contract after you and to ensure the legality of the contract.
Pay relevant taxes. You will be required to pay a stamp duty tax of around 3% of the total value. If you have purchased a new build, you will be subject to pay 24% of VAT.
Move into your new dwelling and enjoy the Greek lifestyle.
Real Estate Scams
There are various cases of overseas sales turning out to be scams. In order to mitigate the chances of being victim of a scam, follow these below points:
- If the seller cannot show you inside the building, it is likely a scam.
- If the seller declines to provide legitimate I.D, it is likely a scam.
Ensure the seller is the legal owner and that the rights stated in the contract are 100% correct.
Never send a deposit before meeting the seller, even if you are pressured into believing that someone else may purchase before you view it – someone rushing the sale to be sent a deposit may be a scammer.
Further to above, wiring money overseas to purchase Greek real estate is illegal. You must have your own personal tax number and the funds must be held in a Greek bank account prior to payment.
Endeavour to send payments when in the presence of a lawyer, solicitor or estate agent rather than through email-only conversations. Once payment is sent, ensure you have a prompt confirmation, otherwise you should freeze your bank account.
Use encrypted emails if sending sensitive data and information.
Never complete on a property if you, your lawyer or agent don’t have a working set of keys.
Purchasing a residence and retiring in Greece is a dream for many, however with the current low prices in the country, it is an ideal time to buy or invest in Greek real estate and make your dream come true.
The market is slowly recovering from the 2008 market crash, so properties will only be increasing in price – make the jump and start your property search today.
We hope this article has provided some valuable information.
As long as you follow all of the legal requirements and have a lawyer experienced in overseas property purchases, the process should be a breeze.
Disclaimer – The information contained in this article is provided only as a guideline, it should not be viewed as the full and whole information. You may want to read this article on Greek real estate laws and regulations for further information
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