Property Buying Guide Greece

Sofia Pesiou,  Saturday, 9 November 2013

 

This article is part of a series of 8 articles about buying property in Greece. The other articles in the series cover the following topics:


In Greece, the economic crisis has decreased the value of property for the past five years. The government has been imposing new yearly taxes on all houses however recently it tries to give incentives to foreign investors in order to boost the property market.

Taxes and Fees

Foreign buyers who intend to buy property that worth over €250.000 will be offered a 5year visa permit for them and their families. Those who purchase their first residence can be exempted from purchase or transfer tax on certain occasions; nonetheless they need to pay the rest of taxes and fees which are:

  • Purchase or transfer tax
  • Value Added Tax (VAT)
  • Capital Gains Tax
  • Community or Municipal Tax
  • Land Registry Fee
  • Lawyer’s Fee
  • Notary’s Fees
  • Real Estate’s Fees
  • Surveyor’s Fees
  • Utility Fees
Mortgage

As far as for financing that purchase, prospective buyers can contact Greek banks which offer equally competitive financial products and home loans as the banks abroad. For the loan approval certain documents are required:

  • Final Title of the property.
  • Transfer Certificate of Title of the property
  • Certificate of ownership of the transferor and an affirmation of the attorney of the buyer that he has notfound any legal flaws to that property.
  • Any ownership titles proxies.
  • Lands excerpt.
  • Topographical diagram & chart coverage
  • Plan of the property.
  • In case of construction of new building or completion of incomplete , budget works on a special form is required.
  • Copy of the building permit.
The maximum scrip mortgage for foreigners can reach 70%of the value of the land or 80% of a residential property. Also, the payback time can be no more than 25years for those who do not reside in the country permanently. These are slightly different to the conditions for Greek citizens.

There are two kinds of housing loans: those with fixed interest rate which currently starts from 5.3% and loans with floating interest rates from 4.5% and it is based on Euribor in most banks. The banks in Greece follow the guidelines of other European banks. There are only some restrictions for foreigners when it comes to buying property on a beach, shoreline or areas designated as borders.

Necessary documents

The documents that a buyer needs to submit when signing the contracts are:
  1. Identity card or passport.
  2. Proof of payment of Property Transfer Tax (also known as FMA) by the Tax Office. The notary must have issued proofs for calculating the objective value (Tax Assessed Value) of the property to be transferred in a special statement and must have presented a copy to the local Tax Office.
  3. A sworn declaration that the property is not on a stream, shoreline or a beach or on a border area of the country (if the prefecture is near the borders) issued by the local Land Registry.
In case of tax exemption the buyer needs to provide all the sworn declarations that prove that he is liable to that exemption.

In addition, the seller needs to provide a number of documents to the notary during the signing of the contracts and since these are quite a lot, the buyer or the lawyer who he has hired will check the authenticity of them. After the contracts have been signed, the buyer or the notary should submit a copy to the Land Registry so that the new owner will obtain the transfer certificate of the property.

Real Estate Agent

In Greece, there are many websites and a plethora of national and local newspapers with advertisements of properties for sale. Nevertheless the most popular way is to assign this task to a real estate agent.

The role of a realtor is vital to helping you choosing the perfect property as he will take into consideration your needs, your taste, the budget you have and he will try to guide you to the correct choice. He will also be present during most part of the buying process and he may help you with the negotiations with the seller. It is a person that you need to trust therefore you should choose a certified agent, one that you know or has been recommended to you.

Buying Process

After making the personal choice and having taking into account the extra costs that the purchase of a home in Greece entails, it is the time for negotiation for achieving the best price. There are some rules to that and a real estate agent is the right person to act as a “referee” and try to compromise the two sides. A tip for foreigners is to try and be friendly, logical in their demands and accurate so as not to allow misunderstandings take place.

The buying process can be perplexing for a foreigner. It requires some checks of the legal documents and of the charts and topographic diagrams. Thus, the presence of a lawyer and that of a civil engineer are considered necessary.

Property price in each region

Generally speaking, there has been a falling tendency in the prices of property since 2008. In 2012 alone the prices of houses decreased by 13.1%. This has affected the most popular areas such as Athens, Thessaloniki and the islands or areas regarded as tourist resorts and have been expensive for many years. On the other hand, a shift has been noticed to regions not so popular mainly due to the increase of alternative types of tourism in Greece.


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100517196 Nowadays, Greek banks offer a great variety of home loans both for local residents as well as for foreigners. All the banks function in accordance with other European banks. The interest rates in Greece follow the Euribor interest rate (by month or by quarter) plus some surcharge depending on the loan terms. 
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