Buying a new property in Greece
is an endeavor you won't regret taking. By the end of it all, you will get your hands on a gorgeous new home in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Just renting a place in Greece alone is quite something, what more when you actually own it? It'd be your peaceful haven in this little slice of heaven on earth. But before you can enjoy it, do note that you will encounter a few legal issues along the way. Things like your residency status or dealing with the land registry are quite common when dealing with real estate in Greece.
Your Legal Residency Status
Firstly, let's talk about your legal residency status. When you want to buy a new property in Greece, do you need to be a citizen or resident? The answer is no. Even as an expat or a foreign tourist, you can still purchase real estate in Greece. You will, however, need to get a tax number in order to start the process. Wise
also explained that non-residents will have to submit a few documents and proof of intent (for use of the property) to the country's Ministry of National Defense before they can purchase any place in Greece.
Hiring a Lawyer
Apart from your real estate agent and notary, you'll also need to hire a lawyer if you intend to buy real estate in Greece. This will help you if you're more or less unfamiliar with Greek Laws and even more so if you can't speak or understand the Greek language
. For the most part, your lawyer will serve as your legal representative throughout the process. You can even grant him the power to sign documents and pay fees on your behalf. In this regard, you ought to be careful when choosing a lawyer. Get to know them first before you hire them as your legal representative.
Know Your Due Diligence
Here in Greece, there's such a thing as 'Due Diligence' when you're buying a new property in Greece. But what does that mean, exactly? When you've chosen a place you want to purchase, it's your due diligence to investigate the legal status of the property as well as its current state. On your lawyer's part, they'll have to check the Land Registry to see if the seller is the listed legal owner, if there's still a mortgage attached to the home, and more. If everything's all right, you can proceed as planned with no problem at all.
The Taxes You'll Need to Pay
When you buy a new property in Greece, know that its property value isn't the only thing you'll pay for. This purchase also comes with a few taxes
you'll need to pay in order to gain legal ownership of the property. One of them is the Value-Added Tax (VAT). Since buying real estate in Greece is practically no different from buying snacks, souvenirs, and other items, it's no surprise that you still have to pay the VAT for this purchase too. Not only that, but other fees, such as your agency fees and notary fees, also come with the VAT too.
Notarize Your Contract of Sale
Do note that even when you and the seller have signed the contract of sale, it won't be legally binding unless it's notarized. So even when you've already paid the full amount for the property in Greece, as long as this document hasn't been notarized, you still won't be recognized as the new owner. In this regard, you'd do well to notarize all the legal documents in this process. Particularly the preliminary contract since this document binds both you and the seller to the transaction. It lays out the final price of the property and it ensures that the seller won't sell the place to anyone else but you!
Dealing with The Land Registry
Going back to the Land Registry, know that this office will come up again and again throughout the entire purchase process. In the due diligence investigation, your lawyer has to check whether the seller is the current legal owner listed in the registry. And after you've completed the transaction, signed the sales contract, and had it notarized, your lawyer will then go back to the registry to list you as the new legal owner of the property. This, apart from the sales contract, will serve as your solidified proof that you have, in fact, bought this home in Greece and that you are now its new official owner.
Dealing with real estate in Greece is no walk in the park! You'll likely face a good many legal issues along the way. You'd do well to know about them beforehand so that you won't have to be too stressed out when you're finally buying a property.