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Steps to Purchasing Property in Greece

After finding the property you want to purchase, you need to instruct a Greek qualified lawyer. Your choice of lawyer is entirely up to you, although we have some good recommendations. Your lawyer will assist you with the following steps and will need Power of Attorney if you live abroad (the PoW will allow your lawyer to act on your behalf when you are not in Greece).

Step 1: Pay a deposit of around €5.000 to secure the property and remove the listing from all marketing platforms. This is usually paid directly to the seller with a private agreement.

 

Step 2: Pre-contract or purchase agreement

An alternative route of paying a deposit is via a pre-contract, also known as a purchase agreement which has stronger protection than a private agreement and includes all the terms and conditions that must be respected throughout the purchase process. The buyer will need to hire a lawyer to draft the pre-contract agreement. At this stage, around 10% of the negotiated purchase price must be paid to the seller as a deposit which will then be deducted from the final purchase price.

Some clauses that must be incorporated in the purchase agreement are:
– the property’s title is free of any restrictions or liens otherwise the deposit will be returned to the buyer;
– the timeline and next steps until purchase completion;
– what happens to the deposit in case of non-compliance with the clauses in the purchase agreement or if the seller changes their mind.

Step 3: Issuing a Greek Tax Number

Every title holder of Greek property needs to have a VAT number. To obtain a VAT number, you must present yourself to the local tax office that covers the area in which your property belongs to. Your lawyer will issue for you a Greek Tax Number and open a Greek Bank Account for you. 

Step 4: Legal due diligence
This is the buyer’s responsibility. The lawyer that you hire will go to the local land registry where all the title deeds of the area are kept on file. Here is where your lawyer will confirm if the property truthfully belongs to the seller and is free of any obligations such as loans, repossessions etc.

Step 5: Technical due diligence
While the legal due diligence is the buyer’s responsibility, the technical due diligence is at the seller’s expense. The seller must provide to the buyer’s lawyer copies of all updated topographic diagrams and architectural plans of the property. It is quite common for illegal building works to Greek properties to exist, such as prohibited extensions or added spaces that were never included in the initial architectural plans. Fortunately, the law prohibits properties with illegal building works to be sold and it is the seller’s responsibility to make sure that his property’s illegal additions, if any, have been settled at the local tax office.

Step 6: Property tax
The tax rate when purchasing a property in Greece is a flat 3% of the purchase price. 

Step 7: Completion
Completion involves transferring legal ownership of the property, checking the legal and technical due diligence, confirming the money transfer and signing the final purchase contract at a Notary’s office. A Notary is a public servant who double checks the legitimacy of the process and of the property before the signing of the Purchase Contract. The Notary is paid by the buyer. A notary’s fees are around 1% depending on the purchase price of the property. 

Step 8: What happens after completion
After completion the buyer will have to hire an accountant that will determine the yearly property ownership tax (known as ENFIA in Greek). The amount will depend on the size of the property, its location and the year its building permit was issued. For example, a modern holiday home of 200sqm is around €500-800
 yearly in property ownership tax. I can recommend accountants to carry out this task for you.

 

For non European citizens (now including British citizens) who have purchased a property from €250.000 and above in Corfu, are entitled to apply for a European Residency known as a Golden Visa.

N.B. I would highly recommend Yiannis Martis who is a lawyer specialising in Greek real estate and conveyancing. He has over 20 years experience. Contact Yiannis for more information at Yiannis@martislaw.com / 0030 6948572792 or visit his website martislaw.com for further details. 

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