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 property on a Greek island or mainland. You may be wondering therefore what the process is of buying property in Greece.
This quick guide on the process of purchasing property in Greece will hopefully provide some answers.
A good investment?
Although the property 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.
Buying property in Greece as a foreigner
As an EU national, it is a fairly straightforward process to buying property in Greece, as per 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 the property.
It should also be noted, in order to buy property 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 property is valued over 12,000 Euros in rural areas and over 30,000 Euros in built up areas.
- Lawyer - A lawyer is required to check the property titles to determine various points. These include whether the property is protected under Hellenic Constitution, how much land is included in the sale, if any debts will be inherited with the sale of the property and if the property 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 property titles.
- Accountant/currency exchange professional - When purchasing property 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 property is structurally safe, how much restoration is likely to cost and to determine the perimeter of the property.
It should be noted, that when purchasing property in Greece 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 for the property.
If you plan on purchasing property in Greece, we highly recommend you contact Savvas Zannetos, who is based in Crete.
Zannetos has extensive experience in Real Estate laws, transactions and contracts alongside experience in various Embassies, and will thus provide useful and beneficial support to you through the purchasing process.
Rights of the property seller
The lawyer should investigate what rights the property seller has. For example, they may be selling the property but not actually own it themselves.
The common rights a seller may have over a property for sale in Greece 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 complete on a property that is drowning in unpaid debts or that you don't fully own.
Costs of purchasing property in Greece
There are various costs associated with buying property in Greece. These costs include:
- Lawyer fees- Average lawyer fees are around 1-2% of the property value.
- Notary fees- Average notary fees are around 1% of the property value.
- Public registration/community fee- Around 0.5% of the property value.
- Land registration fee- Around 0.7% of the property value.
- Taxes- Stamp duty purchase tax of around 3% of the property value.
VAT of 24% is imposed on new build properties. Property in Greece is also subject to an annual tax, known as ENFIA and is determined from the property value.
Investment properties, such as residential or holiday rental property 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 agents, landlords or the team at Emc2 Property, by searching the property for sale section.
We'll be updating our database with more properties in the near future - be sure to check back here for land, houses, apartments and villas for sale in Greece.
Do you have a property or land for sale in Greece? Advertise your property completely free of charge here at Emc2 Property!
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.
Rough asking price
*These figures are based on a quick property search. We do not provide accuracy to these estimations
Want to find out more about the average expenses when living in Greece? Check out our article on the costs of living in Greece.
The steps to purchasing property in Greece
- Search property for sale and determine the location(s) which you would most like to purchase property in. Make a list of the properties which you are interested in.
- Inform and appoint a lawyer that you are considering purchasing property 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 property which you aim to make an offer on. After your lawyer has performed all necessary due diligence on the property 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 of the property, 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 property. This is not a compulsory part of buying property in Greece, however is recommended - you may have missed something vital when viewing the property yourself.
- Appoint a notary. The notary will register the property 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 property value. If you have purchased a new build, you will be subject to pay 24% of VAT.
- Move into your new property and enjoy the Greek lifestyle.
Real estate scams
There are various cases of overseas property 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 property, 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 of the property and that the rights to the property stated in the contract are 100% correct.
- Never send a deposit before meeting the seller, even if you are pressured into believing the property may be purchased 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 property 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 the property if you, your lawyer or agent don't have a working set of keys to the property.
Purchasing a property and retiring in Greece is a dream for many, however with the current low property 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 in Greece today.
We hope this article has provided some valuable information regarding the process of purchasing a property in Greece.
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.