Do I need a lawyer / solicitor?
Yes. Solicitors are must both for the buyer and seller. They carry out necessary legal surveys and conduct a property title check for the past 20 years; they ensure the property is free of any mortgage notes, claims, expropriations, rights-of-way and, in general, any legal encumbrances. In addition, solicitors ensure that all property taxes burdening the vendor have been paid.
Do I need a notary?
Yes. A notary public is a government-appointed lawyer who processes and certifies all real estate transactions, including drawing up and reviewing all official documents, to ensure the legal transfer of the property.
Do I need a land surveyor?
Yes. Surveyors ensure that all actions associated with the construction of the property are based on lawful planning permissions.
Do I need an accountant?
Yes. It is essential to hire an accountant early on to help you with tax returns and explain taxation laws to you. Our partner is http://www.chaniatax.gr/
Do I need a Greek bank account?
Yes. All necessary payments will be made through this account; also, this account will prove that funds used for property purchase have come into Greece from another country and are, therefore, not taxable in Greece.
Opening a bank account in Greece only takes a few minutes and requires no minimum opening deposit. All you need is your ID or passport and your AFM (tax number).
Do I need a Tax Registry Number (AFM)?
Yes. This tax number (AFM) is mandatory for all buyers, including foreigners and permanent residents abroad. It is issued on the spot at tax offices, free of charge. All applicants must present their passport and sometimes also their birth certificate. If you have granted your solicitor full Power of Attorney, he / she can apply for an AFM on your behalf.
Do I need to make a deposit?
To secure the property, to show your serious interest and to take the property off the market, a 10% down payment is required. In case of off-plan properties and projects just under construction, the stage payments can vary.
Do I have to be present at the signing of the contract?
No. Unless you would like to be here for the great occasion, you will need to prepare a Power of Attorney to enable signing of the contract in your absence. Depending on the seller’s situation, as well as the location of the land, the time from your decision to purchase to the actual signing of the contract can take from five days to over a month. If you are not in Crete, your Power of Attorney enables the lawyer of your choice here in Greece to sign the land contract on your behalf.
Do I have to file tax returns in Greece once I’ve become a property owner?
Yes. The Greek State has mandated that all property ownership in Greece must be declared by filling out a form called E9 and submitting it to the Greek Tax Authorities. This is mandatory for every property owner in Greece, even for those who live abroad and have never filed tax returns in Greece or do not have an income in Greece. You can not file an E9 all by itself. E9 is a schedule which must be submitted together with the basic Income tax form E1. If you have no income in Greece, you enter “0” income in the E1 form; still, you must submit the E1 as well.
Do I have to pay annual property taxes?
That depends on the value of your property. You will have to pay an annual property tax if your property’s tax assessed value exceeds 243.600 euros.
Do I have to pay Capital Gains tax if I decide to sell my property?
Since 2006, property taxation laws include a Capital Gains Tax. The percentage of tax owed will vary depending on the length of time a property remains in one’s ownership.
Do I need a license if I want to rent my property (house, villa, apartment)?
Yes you do. For many people buying a home in Crete, it is important for them to be able to rent it when they are not permanent residents. In order to do this, the property must have a valid license issued by the Greek National Tourist Organization called an EOT license.
Can I purchase property in somebody else’s name?
Yes. You may purchase property jointly with your spouse and/or other co-purchasers, in names of children or legal heirs, or in the name of a company.
Can I get a mortgage in Greece? If so, what are the requirements?
Yes, it is possible to get a mortgage in Greece. To apply for a mortgage you will need your passport and proof of income for the last 3 years (P-60’s, payment stubs, or tax returns if self-employed). Please be aware that if you apply for a Greek mortgage, you must be able to pay all closing costs before any funds from the bank are released.
Can I renovate or build on my own?
Yes, it is possible, if you are a DIY enthusiast. However, major renovations or buildings that require a building permit will need locally registered tradesmen to either do the work or sign off on your work. There is an estimated number of man-days work to be covered by the National Insurance (IKA) and this will need to be paid, even if you did the work yourself. Tradesmen generally speak only Greek and you would need to rely on others to act as interpreters unless you make the heroic effort to learn to speak some Greek.
Can I bring my car to Greece?
Yes and No.
If this is going to be your first home, then yes you are entitled to bring the car, tax free, into Greece and acquire Greek number plates. There is a fee for this registration. You do need to arrange all the paper work with the Greek Embassy in your country of origin before coming to Greece. It is not possible to initiate this procedure once you are here.
If this is your second/holiday home, then you will only be able to bring the car for a 6 month period in each year. After the 6 months expires you are obliged to take the car out of Greece.
What is a property’s Tax Objective Value?
The Tax Objective Value is the estimated monetary value of a property according to the Greek tax authorities. As a general rule, a property’s Tax Objective value is significantly lower than its purchase price.
What happens if the legal searches highlight any problems with the property?
If the searches highlight any problems you will receive your deposit back in full. This is why the deposit is paid to the solicitor and not to the vendor.
What happens if I change my mind?
If you have signed a contract and paid a deposit for a property, this is considered to be an official intent to purchase. It is important that you are absolutely certain that this is the property you want, and that you feel you are under no pressure to sign a contract and pay a deposit. Should you decide to withdraw from the purchase, you will lose your deposit.
What happens if the vendor changes his / her mind?
If you have signed the pre-contract and made an initial deposit, your deposit will be refunded in double.
What type of property insurance is recommended?
Although no market standards exist as to the forms of insurance that can be taken out, it is reasonable to suggest that property be insured against the following risks: fire, earthquake, water damage, breaking glass, storm, theft, and third party.
Where to buy in Greece
With over 2500 islands in Greece you will most certainly be spoilt for choice. A few tips: coastal properties around holiday resorts will be more expensive. Try moving inland a little where you will get a lot more for your money but may still be able to take advantage of living near to a resort. The mainland can be more expensive especially around the capital Athens.
How do I transfer funds to purchase the property?
Open a local Bank Account. This takes no more than 15 minutes and we can recommend a bank with great experience of handling foreign customers. All you need is your passport and it is not necessary to deposit funds immediately. Your original passports (or copies) are required.
How long will it take to buy the property I have chosen?
If all documents are correct it would be possible to have it finalised within 3 weeks, however, our experience shows that it is more likely to take from 6 weeks to 3 months. Of course there are those cases where it takes even longer, but if you want to own your dream property/piece of paradise, persistence gets you there.
How much extra should I allow to cover costs involved with the purchase?
All expenses including legal expenses and taxes usually come to approximately 13% of the purchase price. This figure will cover all the expenses involved. These include fees charged by the lawyer, notary, courts, deeds registry, taxes and commission. There are occasions when it is less, but in only very few occasions it is more than 13%.
What is required when sending the funds for payment?
It would be prudent to have proof of transferring the currency to Crete and declare it as being for the purchase of property. In the case of those living outside of the Euro-zone, it is recommended that the currency be converted to Euros in Greece. As there seems to be some changes to the tax office requirements it would be best to check at the time of your purchase.