Buying Property in Greece:
The Complete Guide
Buying a home is one of the dreams for almost all of us, and we do all in our power to get it at the best location. If you are looking for an ideal place to buy your dream house, there can be nothing better than the land of Greek Gods, Greece. But wait! Is it that easy?
Absolutely not! There are many aspects that should be carefully examined before and while buying property in Greece. To enjoy the island country’s scenic beauty and landscapes, there are certain conditions that need to be met. We know that for a newbie, it can be tough as there are many unanswered questions such as:
- What is the best place for buying a house in Greece?
- What is the process of owning a house in Greece?
- How many types of properties are there in the country?
- Is it worth buying property in Greece?
And many others! So, we at Get Properties help you understand each of these and many other aspects in detail.
This article will serve as a benchmark for you in choosing the best property in Greece. So, let’s just dive in!
Pros and Cons of Buying Property in Greece
It is pretty obvious that if you are buying property in Greece, you will like to know the ups and downs of the country. After all, you will be investing a relatively huge amount; it is necessary to make sure it is worth it! So, here are some of the things that you will like about Greece.
Pros: Advantages of Owning Real Estate in Greece
- Affordable Prices: The key factor that should encourage you to buy a property in Greece is the affordable prices. Since 2008, the prices of real estate property in Greece have been low. But, as per the recent reports by the bank of Greece, the prices of houses in the urban areas are gradually picking up pace.
The prices of houses rose by 9.32% in the third quarter of 2019. So, if you are planning to purchase a house in Greece, now is the time. Athens, Thessaloniki, Corfu are some of the locations where you can get your favorite house.
- Low Taxes: ENFIA (Eniaios Foros Idioktissias Akiniton) is the annual tax introduced by the Greece legislation from the year 2014. This introduction of annual tax was introduced to boost public revenue.
However, this new tax introduction led to heavy criticism as it decreased real estate investment in the country. Keeping this in mind, the newly elected PM of the country, Mitsotakis announced the suspension of VAT on the real estate buildings of the country. This led to a massive decrease in taxes, like a 30% reduction for real estate properties valued up to €60,000.
- High Rental Yields: If you are investing in the property of Greece for rental yields, you are in luck right now. Among the best locations in Greece for obtaining high rental income is Athens.
For instance, if you are renting a 120 m2 apartment, it will give you a net rental yield of 4.2 percent of the property’s purchase price.
- Lifestyle: Last but not least is the lifestyle of Greece. As the country is rumored to be the land of Gods, it is home to some incredible customs and traditions. Greek people focus more on family, traditions, church, and patriotism.
Apart from this, the nation is also popular for its food and family values. In Greece, if a family member is having a problem, other members of the family come together to help that person out.
So, if you are buying property in Greece, you will surely get a friendly community over there. Thus, adding one more advantage for you.
Cons: Disadvantages of Owning Real Estate in Greece
- Restoration: As most of Greece’s properties are historical, it becomes necessary for the owners to keep their houses renovated to keep up with the modern looks. This involves a lot of capital investment. Thus, it becomes one of the drawbacks that you may face by investing in real estate in Greece.
But, this can be avoided or decreased if you hire an inspector to check the property before buying. He will guide you well after examining the property for you. Hence, you can save some extra bucks.
- Scams: Well, there is a possibility that while buying property in Greece, you may end up getting caught with the wrong agent. Some agents may sell you the property that has debts on it and may also have other issues. Hence, it is necessary to keep some things in check like:
1. Ensure that you don’t pay any money to the agent before meeting them and seeing the property by yourself
2. Check if the property is up for selling or not. For instance, if the property is marked as Alpha by the government, you may have no right to make any changes to it
3. Ensure the legitimacy of the real estate agent or seller
4. Take a tour of the property with the agent and cross-verify the property documents carefully
With all these steps, you can keep yourself safe from scammers.
- Purchase restrictions: If you are an EU national, you can buy property anywhere in Greece except for the border area. If you want to buy property in the border areas like Ioannina in Epirus, Florina, Pella, etc., you need to get a permit from the high authorities.
Things To Consider Before Buying Real Estate in Greece
Due to the changes in the taxation system of the country, Greece has become a hotspot for real estate investment. Investors around the world are aiming to invest in Greece’s properties for living and letting.
If you are also looking for an excellent house in Greece, it is best you take into account all the legal aspects. Here are some of the things that you need to consider before buying property in Greece:
- Ways of acquiring the property: You can acquire a property in Greece either by contract or by public auction. The public auction takes place online, whereas you have to go to a notary to sign the deed or a contract.
- Property rights: It is crucial to check what rights the seller has over the property, as they will be transferred to you after the deal. The rights that an owner can have in Greece are full ownership, bare ownership, and usufruct.
- Analyze the process of acquiring the property: One should have knowledge of the process and requirements for buying property in Greece.
Some of the things that you should be aware of are hiring a lawyer for handling the process, obtaining the tax number, property survey, payments, registration of the title, and online registration. You should have planned to handle these things beforehand.
- Taxation system: Keep the taxation system in mind. The taxes in Greece can be of various types like an annual tax levied on the overall price of the property. Other than this, property-based income is also taxed at multiple rates.
- Buying restrictions: Just like any other country, Greece also has some buying restrictions based on the area where the land is located. Hence, it becomes necessary to verify if the property is up for sale. If not, what are the conditions under which it can be bought? Buying properties in areas like coastline, borders, and monumental areas need special permission from the higher authorities.
These are some of the necessary aspects that need special attention before buying property in Greece. If you are a newbie, it would be a bit difficult for you to drill all this information in detail.
Types of Properties
Along with checking the criteria for buying property in Greece, it would be good to check what types of properties are available in the country. Greece, just like other countries, is blessed with all types of properties to buy. Check out these properties:
Apartments in the City
Greece is not just famous for its monuments, statues, and traditionally built houses. With time, it has seen modernization. Hence, just like other cities of the world, the modern Greek people live in already built apartments. The apartments in Greece are really cost-effective with all the necessary amenities. One can enjoy a sweet cup of morning tea on their balcony while enjoying the beaches and coastline scenic views.
As mentioned above, the most common type of property in Greece is villas. These villas include both Italianate as well as modern villas. Italianate villas are the ones that mostly have waterfronts. However, modern villas are built as per the modern infrastructural trends that include tiled floors, white walls, and a private pool. A red roof is the key identifier of these villas. The price of an average villa with a pool starts from around €800,000 in Mykonos.
The third on the list of houses in Greece are the village homes. These are a bit unique as compared to other properties in Greece. How?
These houses are designed, giving them a Middle Eastern look that has colored doors, balconies, and dorms. Most of these houses in Greece offer a brilliant scenic view of the beach as well as the mountains from the balconies. All of this at a more reasonable price than other Western countries!
If you are planning on buying property in Greece for business purposes, it is best to invest in a hotel or a B&B. As most of these properties are near the coastline of Greece and the tourism industry is flourishing, these properties will yield the best results for you in the future.
How To Buy a Property in Greece?
Finally, we are in the section you have been waiting for. As you already have a brief idea about the formalities of buying property in Greece, here is a step by step detailed guide for you:
Establishing your search criteria: As you are well aware of the types of properties in Greece, it is time for you to begin your research. Now, research is not like you going out and checking which property is for letting.
You need to harness online and other media sources like newspapers for knowing about the properties in the country. Check the real estate section in the newspaper to find the property, and as mentioned above, you can also subscribe to online websites for participating in the auctions. Check if the property type you are looking for is up for auction or not.
For a better and quick search, you can also get in touch with local agents. However, they will charge you for that. This option is best for those who are new to Greece.
Going on a viewing trip: Nothing is more satisfying than actually viewing the property by yourself. Hence, it is necessary to take a look at the property that you are planning to buy.
After you have shortlisted some of the properties in Greece, you need to physically visit them to get a better idea about the surroundings, conditions, and amenities. This will help you figure out how you will manage your commute to various locations and if the basic amenities are available in the area or not.
If you want to make your trip a bit easier and smooth, it is best to contact a local agent or guide. He will guide you through the city while making sure you cover more ground in less time.
Tax number: This is the most crucial thing if you want to hold any transaction in Greece. AFM, also known as the Tax Registry Number, is provided by the Internal Revenue Service of Greece. This helps in speeding up the property buying process if you already have it at the beginning.
Selecting the property: When you are done looking at and analyzing the properties you are interested in, it is time to make the final pick. If you feel obligated to, you should give another visit to the property. It will help you shortlist faster.
It is also necessary for you to hire a lawyer to handle all the legal matters of the purchase. He can help you out in knowing if the property indeed has the right owner and if it is under any lease, mortgages, etc.
Making an offer: Now, this is a bit of a critical step. One thing that you need to keep in mind is that you still have the money in your hand. Hence, you can quote as much as suits you. Though not that less, which is unreasonable.
As you have an idea about the price of the property, it is best to account for all the factors like exchange rates, mortgage availability, and rates (if available) before quoting a price. Also, keep in mind that you need to quote an amount that can be further negotiated.
Settling on a purchase price: Well, this is the stage where you will be done with all the negotiations, and it is time for the final call. Here it is necessary to check all the add-on charges that add up to the price of the property, like VAT. Though VAT is relatively low right now, there will be some amount that you have to pay. You need to consult your lawyer to check these charges for you.
Reserving the property or preliminary contract: After you are done with settling the final price of the property, it is necessary to show that the property is reserved. To make this happen, you need to deposit a small amount. This deposit assures the seller that you will buy the property.
But before this, it is necessary to let your lawyer take care of the legal aspect of the deal. This is necessary as you may need to sign some documents for reserving the property under your name.
Final Deed: When your lawyer analyzes every legal aspect of the property like planning regulations, taxes involved, and debts and he is sure that everything is up to good expectations, you need to get a copy of the title from the seller.
After this, you need to get in touch with the notary for drafting the final deed for you. You need to check this deed carefully once. After this, you and the seller need to sign the deed to make the final deal in front of the notary. Once this is done, the notary will undertake the process of registering the transaction in the public records. Moreover, sellers also need to provide a Tax certificate. This is to ensure that they are clean as per the tax office (Hellenic Fiscus).
The last step is to submit the copies of the contract and transfer certificates to the Registry of Mortgages.
When you are buying property in Greece, you need to provide the following documents:
- A Valid Passport
- AFM (Tax Registry Number)
- The valid visa that allows entry into Greece (in case of non-EU national)
- Residence proof
- Copy of tax returns
- Special permission (if required)
Best Places To Live in Greece
Although the whole country is full of brilliant things, every part of Greece has something new in the case of food and fun for you. Hence, it can become a bit tough to pick a location for living. If you are buying property in Greece, here are some locations where you can consider purchasing a home.
The place is an excellent combo of modern metropolis and historic cityscapes. It will be best for you if you like to indulge yourself in the local culture. The best benefit of buying property in Thessaloniki is affordability and great food. The living cost in Thessaloniki is €1,700 per month, and the monthly rent is around €400. On the downside, Thessaloniki is quite chilly in winter and could be a little quiet, sometimes.
If you are fond of ancient architecture and love to live in traditionally built houses, then Athens is the place for you. This is the place where democracy was born and is also the home of two UNESCO sites, namely The Medieval Daphni Monastery and the Acropolis of Athens.
Athens is known for its nightlife, entertainment, and food. You can check out our Buying Property in Athens article for further reading.
We previously discussed a type of property named village homes! These types of properties are widely found in Santorini. The key advantage of living in Santorini is that you are greeted by a fresh, colorful view every morning. No matter where you live in Santorini, you will always enjoy the scenic beauty of the surroundings.
Santorini is less crowded than Athens and also has tons of new things to do. The downside is that it can be very expensive.
Other than these, there are locations like Patras that are the industrial hub and center of trade. Rhodes is another location where you can enjoy the longest summer in Greece. Check out our Buying Property on a Greek Island article for further reading.
The Costs of Buying Properties in Greece
When you are buying property in Greece, there are a lot of different costs involved in the overall process apart from the total price of the property. Hence, it is necessary to plan and keep some extra costs while buying. Here are some of the different costs involved:
Greek Real Estate Taxes
- Transfer Tax: This is the tax that you pay when you buy a property. It is around 3% to 24%.
- Legal Fees: 1% – 2% on property value
- Land Registry Fees: 0.48% to 0.68% of the property value
- Notary Fees: 0.80% to 1% of the property value
You may want to check our Greece Property Taxes article for further reading.
Other fees and Costs
Real Estate Agent Fees
1% to 2% (plus VAT)
Overseas Money Transfer
When you are buying property in Greece, it will involve transferring money from your country account to a Greek account. Hence, it is necessary to check the exchange rate. It will affect the overall cost. This rate varies from country to country.
When you are done with all these expenses, it is time to spend some more on your new house. This will include furnishing costs and other expenses.
Getting a Mortgage in Greece
The banks in Greece do not provide a big amount of mortgages anymore. As there are already huge numbers for the banks to recover from customers, it might not be easy for you to get one.
However, it is not strictly impossible to get a mortgage. You can get hands-on one by working for a local bank.
Selecting the Right Team
If you already live in Greece, you must be knowing about the property laws. But if you are a foreign national and a newbie in the country, it is essential for you to build a team of professionals that can guide you in buying property in Greece. You need to have a legal expert (lawyer), a real estate agent, and a financial advisor to help you get the best deal.
Selecting the Right Real Estate Agent in Greece
The key person that can help you in hunting the right property is a real estate agent. You may think that you do not need it, but a real estate agent is the one that can provide you with a clear picture of the real estate market on foreign soil.
However, it is crucial to make sure that the person is authentic and licensed to practice. Make sure you ask them for their official license before taking any services, or you may get scammed as described in one of the sections above.
Selecting a Lawyer in Greece
There are various legal formalities like checking if the property is under debt or not, if taxes are paid, if the property is constructed under government regulations or not, etc. In the absence of a person who verifies this, you may run into legal issues later. So, it is necessary to get a lawyer for legal guidance.
Real Estate Law in Greece
- There are three types of property rights in Greece
- Greek nationals and other EU citizens, legal entities with a registered office in the European Union, and 3rd country nationals may hold a right over real property
- There is no state guarantee of title
- The real estate brokers of Greece are regulated by a special law
- Sales contracts are written and signed in front of a notary. They can also be concluded electronically
- The transfer of property tax is done on the registration
- The duration of a sales transaction lies between one and three months
- Rental income is subject to separate income tax
Greece Golden Visa Program: Residence by Real Estate Acquisition
If you are a non-EU national and want to buy property in Greece, you can go for the Golden Visa program that offers residence to non-EU nationals and their families. The program started in 2013 and has the following requirements:
- You need to invest at least €250,000 in Greece’s real estate sector with taxes, or
- 10-year time-sharing agreement for hotel accommodations or furnished tourist residences
Other than these, there are many other options for investment in Greece; feel free to contact us for professional help.
So, this is all about buying property in Greece! Good luck with your property search!
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