Do we need a surveyor to buy property in Greece?
We can give advice on a good surveyor to use when you buy land or property in Greece. However, transactions often take place where no surveyor is used. Even if you borrow money from a Greek bank to purchase a property, the bank may decide not to have a survey done of the property.
Do properties in Greece come under any general rules?
Yes, they do. All land and properties are now listed on the Land registry, or the Registry of mortgages. All properties in Greece are freehold. Buildings in Greece are constructed according to European standards and regulations and most new buildings are earthquake protected. Most apartment blocks do not exceed five stories and in some areas the height of buildings is restricted.
Why does property in Greece have more than one value?
The value of a property in Greece is in two classifications. The real value of a property - which refers to the expectation of the seller and differs from place to place based on the demand and supply. The objective value of a property is based on the criteria set by the local tax authorities for a certain period of time and in certain areas. The objective value sometimes approaches real value but as a rule the former can be significantly lower.
How do I prove that I purchased a property with money brought into Greece?
Your bank will issue you with what is commonly known as a “pink slip” or other verification that the money for the purchase was brought in from abroad. This verification will be needed on completing your tax return.
How do I complete a tax return?
We can, if requested, recommend to you an accountant who can submit the appropriate forms on your behalf every year.
What if I want to buy a plot of land and build my own home?
A building permit must be obtained and this service is normally carried out by a state registered Engineer or Architect who, in conjunction with you, will complete the plans of the proposed house and submit these together with the other information required to the Building Permit Office for approval. The Engineer or Architect would also make an application on your behalf for a connection to the electricity and water supplies. Outside the town, most sewage is dealt with by an onsite septic tank. Once the building permit is obtained, you can either enter into a fixed price building contract with your engineer or we can recommend a builder and all the tradesmen required if you so wish. However, your Engineer will oversee the build until completion. The process of obtaining the building permit normally takes between 45 and 90 days and depending on the site, the building process itself can then take a further 9 to 15 months.
Do I have to pay annual tax on my property?
Property taxes are calculated based on the size of the accommodation and paid annually, the Tax office will inform you buy letter of the cost. Tax values vary based on the age and the location of the property however, most values tend to range between 3-8 Euros per square meter of accommodation (per year). Please note that tax laws are changing in Greece and for the most up to date information, please ask us. However, as a property owner you would need to complete an annual tax return. Provided you have proof that the purchase was made with funds coming from abroad.
As a non Greek speaker, how can I be sure for the validity of the documents when I am buying land or property?
This is why you must have a lawyer, as he is obliged to investigate and examine all the titles of the property, validate them to be legal and correct, so everyone can proceed to the final contract. You can also engage an official translator and they will translate all the document into your own language and this will be an additional cost.
Do I need a Greek bank account?
Yes. All necessary payments will be made through this account. Additionally, this account will prove that funds used for property purchase have come into Greece from abroad, and therefore, are not taxable in Greece. There are standard documents required to open a Greek Bank Account, regardless of the Bank. The documents required are specific to whether you are employed, self employed or retired. When the time comes for you to open a bank account, we will tell you exactly what paperwork is needed. While obtaining a tax number in Greece can be applied by a using a Power of Attorney document, the opening of a bank account requires your personal appearance at the bank and the simultaneous delivery of the above documents. We recommend opening a bank account during your stay on Corfu, to avoid the hassle of inconvenient travel in the future.
Do I need a Greek Tax Number (AFM)?
Yes. This tax number (AFM) is mandatory for all buyers, including permanent residents abroad, as well as local residents. It is issued on the spot at tax offices, free of charge. All applicants must present their passport, and complete a standard application form as part of the process. If you have granted your Lawyer full Power of Attorney, they can apply for an AFM on your behalf. Alternatively, we are pleased to assist with the process.
Do I need a residence permit in order to purchase property in Corfu?
A residence permit is NOT required for the purchase of a property in Corfu. You would however need one if you want to purchase a car, moped or any motor vehicle.
What other expenses would I be expected to pay?
Transfer Tax - 3% • Notary Public fees - the Notary public fees are usually 2.5% of the full purchase price (includes Registry office fees) • Your Lawyer’s fees - the Lawyer’s fees are 2% of the sale price plus VAT • Our fees - our fees are 2% of the sale price plus VAT or a minimum of 1,000 euro.
What amount of deposit would I be expected to pay and where is the money held?
At the time of signing the Pre-Contract Agreement, you would be asked to deposit a sum equivalent to 10% of the agreed purchase price. This deposit is held in a Trust Account until Completion.
What happens after I decide to buy a property?
Once the sale/purchase and price of the property has been agreed, we recommend you sign a Pre-Contract Agreement (preliminary agreement). This is prepared by us and signed by you and a similar contract is prepared and signed in the language of the seller. It commits both of you to a price and a date for completion, (completion reference to the time frame within which your lawyer must determine and be satisfied that clear title exists on the property and that no mortgages or tax liability exist). The completion period is usually a maximum of 60 to 90 days.
What legalities are involved in the purchase of a property?
Buying a house, apartment or a building plot on Corfu is subject to similar legalities to those applying in most EU countries. It is necessary to appoint a lawyer who will check the title of ownership and ensure that there are no legal encumbrances attached to the property. We can, if requested, make recommendations for the appointment of an appropriate lawyer and subsequently liaise with him/her on your behalf. Your lawyers would be responsible for the appointment of a Notary Public who prepares the necessary Final Contract in conjunction with him/her. Once the sale has been completed, it is the Notary who registers it with the Land Registry and retains a copy of the Final contract. The Notary will also give you certified copies. In certain cases, it may be necessary to appoint a qualified surveyor to assist with enquiries. You are required to obtain a Greek Tax Number (AFM) prior to the final contract being signed. We can assist you with obtaining this number but we will require a Power of Attorney from you to perform this. You will also need a Greek bank account.
Am I permitted to purchase a property on Corfu?
Anyone is permitted to purchase a property on Corfu. If you are from another EU country you have the same rights as a Greek citizen. If your country is not a member of the EU the procedure is different. We will discuss the requirements for you to buy when we know your nationality and personal circumstances when you are ready to buy the property or land.