How to buy a house in Greece ? What are the additional costs ?

Jos Deuling,  Friday, 4 October 2013

Ancient theatre in Kourion
Ancient theatre in  

What steps to take when buying a home in ?

1. A reliable lawyer.

It is best to hire a reliable lawyer that will guide you through the buying process. A lawyer is indispensable. He performs various checks to avoid unpleasant surprises.

How to find a reliable lawyer? If you buy your home via an UK-based agent, the agent can recommend a reliable lawyer. But at least make sure to hire an . And take care to have all documents translated in English. It will costs a little extra but it gives you the opportunity to monitor the buying process.

2. The notary.

The purchase of a property in Greece proceeds as in other European countries through a . The notary is independent. He ensures that the contract is read to the buyer and seller and that both understand what is included in the purchase contract and what agreements have been made. The purchase contract is signed in the presence of the notary. The notary is then responsible for the official registration of the purchase contract in the Mortgage Register. Through this registration, the buyer becomes the official owner of the house.

The notary also determines which taxes are to be paid. The Greek notary can be viewed as a representative of the Greek government: the notary checks if the sale is done according to the law, ensures that the sales contract is registered and that the taxes are levied.

3. Copy of the purchase contract and Mortgage Register check.

The seller must hand over a copy of the original sales contract. Your lawyer will take care of this. Your lawyer will make the appropriate checks at the Mortgage Registry.

The lawyer checks the following:
  • the seller owns the property
  • all taxes are paid
  • all building permits are ok
  • there are no obligations (mortgage, claims or liabilities) on the house
If there are no obstacles, you may proceed with the buying process.

4. Greek Tax Number.

You can only buy a house in Greece if you have a tax number. The Greek tax number is like a social security number. You need the tax number to open a bank account in Greece. Go to the nearest local tax office to apply for a tax number. You have to hand over a copy of your passport. You can also leave it to your lawyer to take care of it.

5. Transfer tax.

Prior to purchase, you ahve to pay the transfer tax. See below for the amount (under the heading "Additional Costs").

6. Signing the purchase contract.

The purchase contract has to be signed in the presence of a notary. He checks if everything is in accordance with the legal regulations. The notary ensures that the purchase contract is registered in the Mortgage Register.

7. Ownership.

Once the contract is registerd in the Mortgage Register your attorney may request a title deed.

8. The Cadastre.

The title deed of the Mortgage Register is needed if you want your home to be registered under your name in the Cadastre. Not all regions of Greece have a Cadastre. If there's no Cadastre in your region, then the registration with the Mortgage Register is the official title deed. Your lawyer will take care of the registration in the Cadastre. It is important that these issues are carefully and properly handled. Take care to hire a good and reliable lawyer. In some European countries, all the registration tasks will be handled by a notary. The notary in these countries can be trusted to handle your case according to the law. If you hire your own lawyer, you have to take some precautions. If you want to have care free buying process, you may consider buying a house with the help of an agent in your country of origin.

Additional costs

The additional costs are based on the fair market value of a property, a valuation by the tax office and the notary. The fair market value is calculated on basis of a general price per square meter, local data and specific details of the property.

The buyer must pay the following additional costs:
  • Lawyer Fees: 1-2% of the selling price (you have to negotiate the rate) plus the costs of research and legal advice.
  • Notary fees: 1.3% of the fair market value of the property
  • Transfer tax: 9% for homes with a fair market value up to 15,000 euros, 11% for houses over 15,000 euros. If you buy a house in an area without a fire brigade, you have to pay 7% or 9%.
  • Municipal tax: 3% of the transfer tax
  • Registry Mortgage Registration fee: 0.45% of the fair market value of the property.
  • Agency fees: these amounts to 2-5% of the sale. The height of the percentage will depend upon the agency and the location of the property.

Annual costs

The annual costs are:

  • A local municipal tax of 0.025% - 0.035% of the fair market value. To pay via your electricity bill.
  • Annual real estate taxes. Only payable when the fair market value of the property exceeds 243,000 euros. The tax is between 0.3 and 0.8% of the fair market value. Nb. The Greek government recently increased the property tax. Owners have to pay twice as from now on.

Legal ownership of the property

The legal ownership of the property is recorded in the Mortgage Register. The Mortgage Registry is a government agency. Lawyers are entitled to consult the Mortgage Registry to determine who owns a house and if there are obligations (mortgage, claims or liabilities) resting on the house.

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