Greece: A guide to the property buying process

Greece is a popular tourist and investor destination, however the is surprisingly still a lot of potential in the property market. Membership of the EU has helped to strengthen the economy and they now have a foreign policy that is geared towards the acceptance of outside investors. The country’s tourist trade is booming – around 15% of their economy is tied in to the tourist trade – and this makes it a good opportunity for foreign property investors.

Compared to nearby countries such as Spain and Portugal, property prices are surprisingly low even though there have been recent changes in laws to free up some of the restrictions on foreign buyers buying Greek properties. There are relatively few overseas property investors in the country as the market is still in it’s infancy therefore now is an ideal time to invest.

EU nationals are permitted to purchase property in most Greek regions although if you are planning to buy near a border, you may require special permission. Mortgages are freely available in Greece so it is advisable to research whether you are better off getting a Greek mortgage, or a mortgage from your home country. Greece also has a number of islands which can be purchased whole, although these tend to go for a premium price.

If you are buying a Greek property valued at over €12,000 you will be required to hire a lawyer. If you are buying a Greek property for under €12,000, it is still advisable to hire a local lawyer who will be able to guide you through all the relevant laws, customs and bye-laws.

Once you have found a property in Greece that you would like to buy and a price has been agreed, a pre-contract agreement is signed and a deposit of 10-30% is normally put down. If the buyer breaks the pre-contract agreement, the buyer will lose their entire deposit; if the seller breaks the pre-contract agreement, the deposit will be returned to the buyer along with a penalty fee (which is normally around the amount of the deposit and should be written into the pre-contract agreement).

The buyer’s lawyer will then check with the Land Registry that everything is in order. A Greek tax number must then be obtained by the overseas buyer from the Greek Tax Authorities. Once this tax number has been obtained, the sale can proceed. The contract must be witnessed by an authorised Notary, and the remainder of the monies owed will now be transferred.

It is wise to budget around 10-15% of purchase price for fees – the Notary fee alone is normally around 2% of the property purchase price.

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