Greece Property Buying Guide

For anyone looking to own a holiday home, move to a better way of life, retire to the sunnier climes, or become an infrequent visitor, Greece is a fantastic place to buy a property and one of the best long-term investments you can make.

Greece has four times more coastline than Spain. Considerably less developed, receiving less than half the number of tourists as Spain. And Greece is relatively cheap, with very affordable beachside properties and living costs that are cheaper than France, Spain, Germany, and the UK. You can live comfortably on €1,000 a month, depending on your lifestyle.

Once you’ve decided to buy property in Greece, you must get the right help to ensure you achieve your dream safely. With that in mind, this guide has been created to help you achieve your dream of owning a property in Greece.

Who can buy a property in Greece?

Any foreigner can buy a property in Greece. While non-EU nationals have the same rights as Greeks and EU nationals, the process is much easier for EU citizens compared to non-EU nationals.

Requirements

You will be required to engage the services of a lawyer when buying a property in Greece. As with all destinations, we strongly recommend you use an independent lawyer who specialises in property law and are fluent in your language and Greek. Before you start looking for a property in Greece, you’ll need the following in place:

Finding your dream property in Greece

Greece has a massive range of property options, from lively tourist resorts to peaceful fishing villages on Greece’s mainland or islands. Here is a selection of popular destinations.

Athens is blessed with delicious food, rich culture, deep history, and art – making it one of the most attractive cities in the European Union. Despite the city being relatively expensive, it still has good property investments opportunities.

The Peloponnese is the third most popular location for Greece’s foreign buyers, attracting high-end luxury and budget buyers alike. Close to Athens, home 5 UNESCO World Heritage sites, 37 Blue Flag beaches and famous for its agricultural produce, especially olives.

Corfu, thanks to its exquisite beaches, UNESCO heritage sites and Greece’s reputation for welcoming foreigners, has led to this island has a large expat community, with foreign owners found in almost every part of the island.

Zakynthos / Zante is a beautiful island with pine-covered mountains, fertile lands, idyllic beaches, sea caves, and many historical monuments. The island hosts many world-famous resorts, and for those in search of a destination with good nightlife, this island is a great choice.

Kefalonia, named ‘The Jewel in the Ionian’, has become a top-rated holiday and expat destination. Kefalonia is a strong investment location, as it continues to offer a true and exclusive market, steady growth and a sustainable income stream.

Rhodes is an exciting place to live, with great year-round weather, beautiful beaches, and lively nightlife. And a historic core with UNESCO-listed architecture. As with the rest of Greece, Rhodes is friendly towards foreign investment, with a wide choice of property for holiday home and expat buyers.

Crete has long been a popular destination for expats. The largest and most southerly island in Greece with well-developed infrastructure, beautiful beaches, cosmopolitan cities, and tiny mountain villages has everything.

Greek Estate Agents

Most property sales involving foreign buyers are through real estate agents. Most speak English and offer a full suite of services, from helping you find a property to supervising your property’s renovation.

In Greece, all agents must be licensed. It is advisable to work with an agent who is a member of a recognised Real Estate association, such as the European Confederation of Estate Agents, which has a strict code of conduct for its members. Agents tend to provide more information to buyers when they go on a viewing trip.

With so much information available online, do you need an Agent? Yes! With so much variation between markets, a good agent can provide detailed guidance, giving you information based on their experience and market knowledge.

Lawyer, Notary & Civil Engineer

These essential services will ensure your dream does not become a nightmare by undertaking necessary checks and providing critical advice.

Lawyer – a legal requirement when buying a property, you must use an independent, English-speaking Greek lawyer who specialises in property law. They will oversee and organise the whole purchase process and can provide advice on tax and inheritance issues.

Your lawyer’s services will include checking the seller holds absolute title to the property, and all property taxes due from the seller have been paid, a search of the Land Registry and/or search of the Registry of Mortgages for outstanding debts and that everything regarding the construction of the property is lawful with permission. The lawyer can also represent you to the Public Notary for contract signing.

Notary – You are required to appoint a Public Notary. They are government-appointed lawyers who process and certify all property transactions to facilitate the legal transfer of the property. The Notary represents the Greek state, not the seller or the buyer. They will not provide advice or provide any protection to either party.

Civil engineer will undertake a whole suite of checks, saving you time, money, and heartache, including preparing a topographic plan of the property with GPS technology to produce a precise plan that can be used in court in the event of a dispute. Government departments, including the Town Planning Authority, Forestry Authority and Land Registry, now want topographic plans with GPS coordinates.

Contracts, Payments & Taking Ownership

You should allow 15 – 20% of the purchase price to cover taxes and fees as a rough guide.

Pre-contract and deposit payment take the property off the market and secure the price. The agreement is subject to the availability of clear title, any necessary government licences, and any other conditional clauses. Either party can cancel the pre-contract. However, if cancelled by the buyer, the buyer forfeits their deposit, and if cancelled by the seller, the seller is required to pay the buyer double the deposit.

Payment of Transfer & Municipal Taxes – The Public Notary will inform the tax authorises of your planned purchase. You will then be required to pay these taxes. Your lawyer will reconfirm the current taxes due to you. For buildings with a licence granted on or after 01/01/2006 or a new property from a developer, the transfer tax is replaced by VAT.

Final contract signatures and payment of balances and fees – The final contract must be signed before the Notary. Payment of notary fees 2%, lawyer fees 2% and agency fees 2.5% of the purchase price. Your lawyer will register the transfer of ownership with the Land Registry or Registry of Mortgages following the signing. You’ll also need to make the final balance payment for the property.

When making your international payments for your property, a currency transfer specialist, such as Hawk FX, will ensure you get maximum value for your currency transfers and help you avoid losing money on your property purchase to currency market fluctuations.

Getting Help

It can be daunting buying a property in Greece, but with a bit of planning and expert help your dream can be a reality. Whatever stage you are at in your buying journey, we can help, just tell us what you need help with – Contact us

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