With its unique culture, spectacular natural landscape, and desirable climate, it’s no surprise that Turkey is a popular destination for expats.
However, settling in Turkey can be a daunting prospect, especially if you don’t know the language and aren’t familiar with the local customs and tax legislation.
In other words, if you’re looking to buy property in Turkey as a foreigner, then there are a few things you need to know in advance of your purchase.
Below, we’ve put together a complete guide to getting you prepared for your very first Turkish property venture.
Pros and Cons of Buying Property in Turkey
Firstly, let’s take a look at some of the main pros and cons of purchasing a property in Turkey as a foreigner.
Advantages of Real Estate in Turkey:
- Buying real estate to the value of no less than $250,000 allows you to become a Turkish citizen (as long as you do not sell the property within the first three years of ownership)
- Whether you’re investing in an apartment in Istanbul or a warehouse in Bursa, there is typically a rather large profit potential.
- You will also have the option to invest in Turkey’s natural resources if you buy property close by to any bays, lakes, or forests.
- Labour is much cheaper in Turkey than in the US or Europe. So as a business person, this can help you reduce your operational costs.
- The cost of living is much lower in Turkey than in most North American or European countries.
- Buying property in Turkish currency (the lira) makes it much cheaper than buying Euros or US dollars.
Disadvantages of Real Estate in Turkey:
- Buying foreign property and acquiring citizenship can be a lengthy and time-consuming process.
- As a foreigner, you are restricted to purchasing no more than 30 hectares of land.
- Higher mortgage rates than in many other nations.
- The amount of stock available is often limited.
The Real Estate Sector in Turkey
The Turkish economy sits in 18th place in the world’s economies, with a GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of more than 900 billion dollars. Most interestingly, the real estate sector in Turkey alone represents one-fifth of that GDP figure.
The Turkish lira’s exchange rate against other currencies often gives foreigners a great deal of spending power in Turkey, which, in turn, tends to make purchasing property as a foreigner especially enticing.
Additionally, Istanbul was the highest-selling Turkish city in 2018, selling an astounding 235,000 apartments, which accounted for about 17% of the total real estate sales nationwide. Ankara is the second most popular city for foreign property investment after Istanbul, and Izmir is the third.
In 2018, Iraqi nationals represented the highest foreign real estate sales, and Saudis were close behind.
On the other hand, foreigners from all over the world are looking at the benefits of property investment in this booming country.
Restrictions on Real Estate in Turkey
In Turkey, Article 35 of the Land Register Law outlines the following restrictions on foreign property investment:
Foreigners must be nationals of a state, which the Council of Ministers of Turkey confirms has the advantage of promoting international relations and public interest.
The majority of property buyers can only own up to 30 hectares of property or land due to restrictions preventing the property from encroaching on military zones. As a foreigner, you cannot purchase more than 30 hectares.
Foreign buyers also cannot buy any land quantity that exceeds 10% of a town or region’s total landmass.
A Step-by-Step Process of Buying a Property in Turkey
Step 1 – Do your research.
There are many different agencies to choose from that can help make buying a property in Turkey as easy and stress-free as possible.
However, make sure you carry out thorough research on any agency that you choose.
Look for a good reputation, positive customer testimonials, and always pick an agency in business for a longer time.
Also, make sure to do a lot of research on the country itself, for instance, which of Turkey’s regions best suited to your requirements, budget, and lifestyle.
Step 2 – Build a good relationship with your agent
Building a solid relationship with your agent will help to ensure you purchase the perfect property. Please get to know your agent as best as possible, but also make sure you explain to them exactly what you’re looking for.
Step 3 – Take a trip to Turkey
Before buying any home, it’s important to visit the country and know its culture and customs. This will help you decide where you want to buy your property and make it easier to settle in once you move.
After all, the more you know about the region you’ll be moving to, the easier the transition will be.
Step 4 – Visit potential properties
With your agent, organize an inspection trip so you can see the properties in person before making any decisions.
While on this trip, visit as many properties as possible to keep your options open.
Step 5 – Discuss price and terms of purchase
Once you’ve found a property that you’re interested in, you’ll need to discuss the price, your offer, and the terms of the purchase. With that said, it’s important to do research beforehand to learn about what you’ll be able to get in your price range.
Additionally, your agent will assist you in negotiating the best price and terms of your offer.
Step 6 – Reserving the property
Once you’re sure you’ve found your ideal property, it’s time to freeze the price and reserve the property.
To reserve a property, you’ll need to pay the equivalent of approximately 1,300 US dollars.
This sum will be late deducted from the total purchase price as a deposit. With that said, if you choose not to buy the property or the deal falls through for any reason, this deposit will be lost.
Step 7 – Finalize the purchase
The simplest way to conclude the purchase is by granting attorney power to a solicitor in Turkey, who will finalize the deal for you. This means you will not have to be personally present in Turkey to complete the buying process.
Alternatively, you can obtain a foreign identification number and hire a translator to help you carry out the purchasing process yourself.
The purchase should take no longer than 4 weeks to be processed.
Step 8 – Final checks
After all, contracts have been signed, either you or the appointed solicitor will verify that the title deed and all municipality checks are registered in your name.
After this, the only thing left will be to pick up the deed to your brand new property!
Step 9 – Acquiring the title deed (TAPU)
The concluding step is registering your Turkish TAPU (title deed), which can only occur after all other paperwork has been filed and completed.
The property will then be registered in your name, and you’ll receive the TAPU.
Taxes and Fees of Real Estate Acquisition
Below, we’ll go over a basic guide to help explain all of the property taxes in Turkey and the fees involved in buying a property in Turkey. However, whether you are acquiring, holding, or selling your property, you may be subject to different taxes and/or fees as outlined below.
The Acquisition Of Property
- Title Deed Fee – The buyer and seller are subject to a Title Deed fee equal to 2% of the overall sale price.
- Value Added Tax – Also known as a VAT tax, this is charged on the sale of any property, including residential properties, commercial properties, and land acquisition. VAT tax is calculated at 18% of the final sales price. However, varying VAT taxations rates between 1% and 8% may also be applicable for residential units that are less than 150 sq. m net area.
- Stamp Tax – A 0.948% tax rate will be applied to the highest monetary value referred to in a purchase agreement. Only applicable on the sale of residential property and land acquisition, not for commercial activity.
Holding A Property
- Property Tax – This is calculated by individual municipalities and will vary according to a property’s location and type.
- Surcharge for the Protection of Immovable Cultural Assets – This fee is collected with your property tax and equals about 10% of the annual property tax collected from a property owner.
- Compulsory Earthquake Insurance (DASK) – According to the Law on Natural Disaster Insurance, it is compulsory to own Earthquake insurance in Turkey.
- Other Fees – Property owners will also need to subscribe and execute all relevant utilities, such as water, electricity, sewer, etc.
- Rental Income Tax – Paid on all gross rental income earned in a given year. Typically between 15% to 35%, and increased depending on the total income.
- Withholding Tax – Applicable to any gross rental income that exceeds 30,000 Turkish lira.
Selling A Property
- Capital Gains Tax – Varies according to the positive difference between the cost of the property and the sales price.
- Value Added Tax – Calculated at 18% of the total sales price (VAT).
Real Estate Law in Turkey
In Turkey, the Land Registry law outlines the rules of foreign purchase, sale, and ownership of property within the country’s jurisdiction.
Turkish real estate law stipulates that buyers must make a transfer of ownership from the owner.
This can be done at any local Land Registry office, where you will be required to present the following documents upon the purchase of your property:
- The title deed
- ID documents
- Property value statement document
- Your earthquake insurance policy
- ID photos of both seller and buyer
- Proof of payment for the title deed fee and other taxes
Note that these documents will need to be translated into Turkish before being able to submit them. For this, most ex-pats use their power of attorney if they cannot be present personally.
Turkish Citizenship by Real Estate Acquisition
Provided you do not sell the property within the first three years of ownership, buying real estate to the value of no less than $250,000 will allow you to become a Turkish citizen, so long as the land registry entries are annotated so that the property cannot be sold for a minimum of 3 years.
Additionally, one can also acquire citizenship if an agreement is created with the promise of sale for a property valued at no less than $250,000.
With that said, citizenship will not be granted for any property purchased before Dec 1st, 2017, or for any agreements of the promise of sale that were made prior to July 12, 2018.
Once either of these two requirements have been met, foreigners will be issued a Certificate of Eligibility, which will allow them to first apply for a residence permit, and then their citizenship.
Talk to an Expert
We try to cover almost every angle of buying property in Turkey in this guide. But it’s understandable if still have questions! You can contact our team of Turkey experts on +44 20 3239 7990 or email [email protected]
We can assist you with the complete process of your property search and purchase.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
What are the fees and expenses when buying a property in Turkey?
You will need to factor in the cost of visiting Turkey, potentially multiple times before your purchase, which includes flights, accommodations, food costs, and spending money.
You will potentially need to pay a solicitor to whom you will give power of attorney. And additionally, you will need to pay for all your documents to be translated into Turkish before submitting them.
Do you need a lawyer to buy property in Turkey?
If you are a foreigner looking to buy a property in Turkey, it is highly recommended that you seek legal advice from a specialist to guide you through the process.
In fact, it’s best to get a solicitor to help you with the paperwork needed to complete the purchase.
In Turkey, not being familiar with the language and bureaucratic etiquette can often prove to be problematic. Therefore, it’s best to seek legal advice to help simplify the process and aid with the following aspects:
- Checking the property and all necessary documents.
- Preparing all paperwork for a sale-purchase contract
- To confirm whether the property is registered correctly
- To communicate and work effectively with the local municipality where you’re looking to buy.
Do I need to come to Turkey to buy a property?
Although it’s not essential, it is recommended that you visit potential properties in Turkey before buying them so that you can be sure you’re making the right decision and buying a property that fits all your needs.
If you plan on living in your property in Turkey, it’s definitely better to visit first so you can get to know the culture and your surroundings. This will also make your transition into life in Turkey much smoother and easier for you.
Is buying a property in Turkey a good idea?
In terms of financial investment, it’s certainly a good idea to buy property in Turkey at this current moment.
The cost of buying property and the cost of living are meager compared to western Europe and the United States, plus there’s often a large potential to profit from your new property.
The exchange rate is also very much in foreigners’ favor, meaning that foreign nationals often have increased buying power in Turkey.
When selling property, it is almost guaranteed that you will make a profit, making it very appealing to savvy investors.
The beautiful landscapes and the exciting, vibrant culture Turkey has to offer are also very enticing reasons for bringing thousands of expats to the country. You would be joining a growing community of international residents in Turkey’s cities, as well as experiencing a beautiful and ancient culture.
Finally, being the intersection between Europe and Asia means Turkey has a great combination of architecture, design, and culture. This makes it a fascinating place to be situated, and there is something for everyone.
Do I need a bank account in Turkey to buy real estate?
You will need to open a bank account in a Turkish bank to buy Turkish property. To open a local bank account, you will also need to obtain a personalized tax number.
These can both be obtained from a tax office.
Of course, once living in Turkey, life will also be much simpler for you by having a Turkish bank account.
Can I really get citizenship by buying a property in Turkey?
You can indeed become a Turkish Citizen simply by purchasing a property in Turkey, as long as it is worth at least $250,000.
Your husband/wife and any children (under 18 years of age) will also be granted Turkish Citizenship. And, as a bonus, you can retain other citizenships alongside your Turkish citizenship, as the Turkish government allows Turkish citizens to hold dual citizenship.
Is Istanbul a good place to buy property in Turkey?
Istanbul is the most popular city in Turkey. Thanks to its wide housing options, Istanbul is a good place to buy property. For more information, you can check out our article on Buying Property in Istanbul.