Buying a home in Greece is often an investment or the realisation of a life project. The process, however, can sometimes be complex, especially if you are not local, do not speak the language fluently, or are unfamiliar with local customs. This guide takes you through the main stages of buying property in Greece.
Step 1: Determine your budget and requirements
The first step to buying a house in Greece is determining your budget and preferred location. Greece has many beautiful and diverse regions, each with its own character, attractions, and property prices. Factors to consider are proximity to the beach or mountains, access to amenities, climate, and transportation. Once you have a budget and location in mind, you can start searching for properties that meet your criteria.
Step 2: Engage an estate agent
Finding a reliable and experienced agent is a must in the Greek real estate market, especially if you are not fluent in Greek or do not live in the country. A good agent can help you find suitable properties for sale, negotiate the purchase price, and guide you through the legal and administrative aspects of the buying process. Look for licensed, reputable agents who are fluent in your language.
Step 3: View and appraise properties
Once you’ve found potential properties, it’s time to view and appraise them. Inspect them in person, preferably with your agent, and review them thoroughly.
Step 4: Hire a lawyer and conduct due diligence
Hiring a lawyer to conduct due diligence is the next step. Your lawyer will ensure the property is legally sound and free from encumbrances or disputes. In addition, they will review the title deed, verify the seller’s identity and ownership, and check for any liens or mortgages.
Your lawyer will also provide guidance on any legal concerns, risks or obligations, such as your liability to Greek property taxes. Make sure to choose a lawyer who specialises in property law and is fluent in your language to ensure proper communication.
Step 5: Secure financing
If you require financing to purchase a property in Greece, you’ll need to apply for a mortgage from either a Greek bank or a bank in your home country with a presence in Greece. The mortgage process in Greece can be tricky, so seek professional advice from a financial advisor.
Step 6: Make an offer and negotiate the price
When you come across a property that ticks all the right boxes, make an offer. Your estate agent can help you prepare an offer and negotiate the price with the seller or agent. The Greek property market can be fiercely competitive, especially in popular areas like some Greek islands. Therefore, be well-prepared and offer a competitive price to increase your chances of securing the property.
Step 7: Sign the preliminary purchase agreement and pay the deposit
If the checks carried out by your lawyer are satisfactory, you can sign a promise to purchase and pay the deposit, which is usually 10% of the total value of the property. At this stage, and before signing anything, review the contract with your lawyer and take the time to ask any questions you may have. The seller will need to provide all the necessary documents and evidence so that your lawyer can check that the property is “sound”.
Step 8: Sign the deed of purchase
In Greece, the deed of purchase is signed before a notary. If you are not fluent in Greek, you are legally required to hire an officially approved translator. Once you have signed the contract and paid the notary’s fees, you have almost reached the end of the purchase process.
Step 9: Register the property
After signing the purchase agreement, the property must be registered with the local Land Registry. If it is still not finalized it is registered firstly with the Name Registry and a petition for registration is also filed with the New Land Registry [Cadastre]. This is typically done by real estate attorneys, who will ensure that all legal requirements are met.
Step 10: Complete the sale and transfer ownership
The final step in buying a house in Greece is to complete the sale and transfer ownership. This process involves paying the remaining balance and transfer taxes, which vary depending on the property’s value and location. Once all the payments are made and the paperwork completed, you will receive the keys and take possession of your new property.
Looking to buy a house in Greece? Essential tips
Working with a knowledgeable and experienced property lawyer can avoid many common pitfalls of buying a property in Greece, such as unclear titles, unpaid taxes or encumbrances, and ensure your investment is secure. So, whether you are looking to purchase a vacation home, a rental property, or a permanent residence in Greece, don’t hesitate to seek the advice and guidance of a property lawyer.