Procedure for acquiring real estate in Greece.
If you have agreed on the price and the delivery of the (second) house or land with the selling party, then it is time to have your agreement made official. Just as in most European countries, you are only the owner once the transaction has been officially registered. The legal completion of the sale is undertaken by a notary and a specially qualified lawyer.
Pelops GreekHouses can, together with its Greek partners, recommend reliable lawyers and notaries and make an appointment on your behalf. We have accumulated much experience in the counseling of our clients. This document covers how the purchase procedure works in Greece.
What do you need to buy a second house in Greece?
Greek VAT number. In order to obtain this number, you need an extract from the birth registry, containing the names of your parents. With this document and your passport you can apply for your VAT number, which is comparable to the social security and tax number as we know it.
Greek bank account. When you buy a house in Greece it is necessary to open a Greek bank account. You only need your passport and an initial amount to deposit into your bank account. The bank account is useful for automatically debiting accounts (including water and electricity) from.
Will. It is recommended that you have a (additional) will drawn up. This can be done through a notary and is simple and inexpensive. One thing that is very foreign to us is that you do not receive a copy of the deed! The Greek reasoning for this is that it is in order to protect you as, should the deed fall into the wrong hands, it could prove a danger to you.
Residents of the European Union can, without any restrictions, buy real estate in Greece.
Inhabitants of non-European Union countries can acquire properties in two ways – the starting up or registering of a company in an EU country in which the house will be included, or by requesting permission, through a lawyer, from the Ministry of Defense. Your lawyer will be able to assist you with this.
The purchasing of land, a (second) house or an apartment in Greece can for the most part be compared to the purchasing of real estate in the rest of the EU. It is essential to retain the services of a lawyer so that he can sort out a number of matters, such as:
Are there any debts on the property?
Is the seller indeed the rightful owner of the house or land?
Are there any restrictions on the land (water-source, archeological site or possible historical burial ground, or the presence of a grave)?
A notary will determine, if land is being acquired, what the maximum surface area in m² is that may be built upon.
When the price of a (second) house or plot of land is agreed upon, the closing of the deal can be started. A lawyer must support you in this phase. Pelops GreekHouses will guide and advise you, and we will recommend a number of lawyers who have experience with foreign purchasers. Naturally you are always free to select your own lawyer. Your lawyer will only have your interests at heart. We advise you to give your lawyer power of attorney so that he can act in your name. The costs of a Greek lawyer amount to approximately 1 to 1.5% of the selling price with a minimum fee of € 500 (depending on the value of the property and the possible extra activities). These costs are only charged after the lawyer has conducted an investigation into the legality of the sale.
From the moment that the lawyer is granted power of attorney by you he is able to:
apply for your Greek VAT number, have your papers officially translated into Greek investigate the legality of the title of the real estate and the purchaser a proof of the introduction of a 'pink slip' to be arranged with the bank after you have transferred money into his (third party) account, make a down payment on the asking price to the seller sign the sales agreement pay transfer tax, carry out the final payment on delivery of your (second) house or plot of land,
possibly take care of your keys and papers during your absences.
The purchasing of a (second) house or plot of land in Greece is done through a fixed procedure:
A pre-contract is signed by the purchasing and selling party, obligating both parties to finalize the transaction prior to an already agreed upon date at the agreed upon price. In the intervening period, your lawyer will investigate whether there are any debts on the house or land and whether all taxes have been paid. In the case of land, the lawyer will have to check whether building on it is permitted. The period between the signing of the pre-contract and the signing of the purchase contract generally lasts for 30 days. In some cases permission is needed from the Greek Forestry Commission if restrictions may be included in the zoning plan.
At the moment the pre-contract is signed the purchaser must pay a deposit of at least 10% of the purchasing price into the account of the owner. He will retain the deposit until the time of the transfer. If the transfer does not take place because your lawyer cannot grant his approval, the deposit will be returned. However, if the purchaser does not want to go through with the purchase, then he will lose his deposit.
If the selling party does not want to go through with the sale, for any reason whatsoever, then he must repay double (x 2) the amount of the original down payment!
Together with the notary, your lawyer will be responsible for the preparation of the definitive purchase contract. The undersigning of the purchase contract will take place in the office of the notary.
Additional costs over and above the asking price which you must take into account are:
a) Transfer tax: 8% on the first € 20.000 and 10% on the remainder of the value as it is calculated by the Revenue Service.
b) Notary: 2 to 2.5 % (+ 23% VAT) of the value of the property as it is determined by the Revenue Service.
c) Lawyer: 1 to 1.5% (+ 23% VAT) of the sales price (depending on the value of the property and the possible extra activities)
d) Broker: 3 or 4% of the purchasing price (+ 23% VAT).
Once the transfer is arranged and is definitive, the notary will have it registered in the national register. This register retains a copy of the definitive contract, just as the notary does.
As a rule of thumb, it is best to expect that you will pay on average around 14% of the costs (excluding brokerage costs) born by the purchaser over and above the asking price of an extant (second) house!
The laws of the game for constructing a (second) house.
Community plan: a (second) house can be built quite easily on a relatively small plot. Generally 60 to 70% of the plot can be built on.
Community zone: some villages grant permission to build up to 500 meters past the borders of the village, according to the community plan. In such a case you need a plot of 2000 m² in order to be able to build, upon which it is permitted to build on surface area covering 200 m².
In the country: if the plot does not fall under either of the above two categories, and the ground does not lie on a national road, then you need 4000 m² of land in order to be able to build a 200 m² surface area.
General: Permission must always be granted first by Forestry Commission, and the plot must be accessible by a public and existing road. The plot must also, for a width of 25 meters, lie on a road. Detailed plans have to be submitted, to ensure that the planned construction is in harmony with its surroundings and that it will be constructed safely. Plots close to the sea are subject to a different set of rules, but qualified surveyors and architects are prepared to advise on this and to accelerate all the formalities. These rules are very strict and are necessary in order to prevent the indiscriminate construction of unattractive buildings on the islands and coastal regions. Yet another set of rules are applicable to commercial projects.
Water, electricity and sewerage
Most villages in Greece have their own waterworks. Water can be tapped from it quite simply and cheaply. In some parts of Greece, especially in the Messinia area, you have a good chance you will be able to sink your own borehole. Prior to purchasing make sure you are well informed on what can and cannot be done.
Some areas of Greece do have sewerage works, but for the most part relatively cheap and maintenance-free septic tanks are employed. The costs of having power laid on depend on the distance from where the power can be tapped. A rule of the thumb for this is that it will cost about € 30 per meter for every meter from the closest electricity pylon to the mains box of the house. This can generally be arranged within 2 months. Before you receive this power supply, the authorities need a certificate from you, which shows that the house was built according to the building regulations stated above. Since the earthquake in 1986 in and around Kalamata the building regulations have been clearly improved, and now only earthquake-proof buildings may be constructed!
When you want to undertake construction work, you will need a permit. The costs of this permit depend on the size of the house. The costs of the architect are also included in this amount.
Renovation of an existing house
If an existing authentic unrenovated house is purchased, it is important to obtain clarity and permission with regard to the planned activities beforehand. If no extensions are planned and the existing walls and roof are still intact, then in general no permit is needed..
The above rules are intended as a general guideline. As always, the exceptions prove the rules and every situation can be regarded differently, thus no rights can be derived from them!
Source: property purchasing procedure in Greece for foreigners, in collaboration with Greek brokers, lawyers and notaries