has a total area in excess of 130,000 square kilometres and consists of
mainland and islands, which occupy approximately 20 per cent of the
total area and contribute to Greece's severely indented coastline of
over 15,000 kilometres.
Greece borders on the north with
Bulgaria and in the
north east with Turkey. It is Europe's closest link to the Middle East.
With the European Union operating as a single market,
Greece is ideally
situated as an entry port to the EU from the Middle East, North Africa
and most of the north-east Balkan countries.
Greece is surrounded on
three sides by sea: the Aegean in the east, the Ionian in the west and
the Sea of Crete in the south.
Greece in the EU
including links to Greek government sites and Tourist Information.
Foreigners may now purchase property in
changes in Greek law now permit foreign ownership of property in
previously sensitive areas such as Crete and Corfu.
There are no restrictions on non residents acquiring
property in other areas of Greece even in the border areas. However,
both EU and non EU residents must obtain permission from the appropriate
authorities before purchasing property in border areas. Once you have
purchased your property, you become the freehold owner in perpetuity.
Buyer beware! This can be a very complex legal process which should not
be undertaken lightly.
Expert legal advice should always be sought
before entering into contractual terms. However, the whole operation can
work remarkably smoothly once you know the procedures.
The first stage in the conveyance is to sign a Sales Agreement and pay a
deposit which is usually 10 per cent. This agreement will contain the
names of the vendor and the buyer, a description of the property, the
price, the method of payment and any special conditions that are
negotiable in the purchase process.
The vendor will then be instructed to take the property off the market
your appointed lawyer completes the purchase transaction. Under
Greek law, no contract is enforceable unless it is in writing, It is
important therefore that once an offer has been made and accepted all
purchase documents are checked by a lawyer before signing to ensure that
the vendor has rightful title to the property.
If you do not go ahead with buying the property after you have paid your
deposit, you will forfeit it and face potential legal action from the
vendor. However, if the vendor pulls out of the deal after receiving
your deposit, you are entitled to claim a return of double the deposit
in compensation. The compensation will not affect your statutory rights
to legal action against the vendor for breach of contract.
anyone, a citizen of Greece, the EU or any another foreign national can
purchase property in Greece, that person must first obtain a tax role
number, known in Greece as AFM. This number is fairly easy to obtain
from any tax office in the country. The tax number can be obtained from
these offices on the spot. Citizens of
Greece or another EU nation need
only show their government issued ID card. Citizens of the UK or other
countries must show a passport to obtain the AFM.
You will need to appoint a bi-lingual solicitor and a notary public.
good, English speaking, well-qualified conveyance solicitor is
absolutely essential. The solicitor will draw up the Contract of Sale on
your behalf, in Greek, and arrange the signing ceremony with the
vendors, normally at the office of the local notary public, and also
negotiate the purchase tax with the local taxation office. You should
allow 1to 1.5% of the purchase price for this.
If you have bought through an estate agent they will continue to
liaise with you and the vendor. You will
undoubtedly need a good team and a fair amount of patience.
The agent will normally barter the purchase consideration on your
behalf. The agent, in coordinating the purchase process, is also likely
to establish via your lawyer who the owners are of the adjoining
properties. The boundaries of the property are then fixed by
topographical survey. Such a survey carried out by an expert could cost
in the region of 150 to 200€.
Public who is an independent official oversees the property purchase
You will visit this official with your agent to sign your Sale Agreement
using the Greek bible as the swearing oath. The notary public will work
with your lawyer to ensure that the contracts are drawn up in the
correct manner and presented to the taxation authorities on time. Before
any transaction takes place, your lawyer will carry out searches with
the Land Registry. The notary public will not proceed with a contract
concerning a property which does not have a clean title, free of
mortgage obligations, etc. You will normally be expected to pay a fee of
up to 1.6 per cent of the 'notional value' of the property as recorded
in the Contract of Sale.
The final contract has to be signed before the public notary and in
accordance with Greek law, the estate agent or agents who have been
involved in effecting the sale must also be present for the signing of
the final contract.
The vendor will almost certainly require
payment in euros. You will have to a euro account in preparation at
either a private or national bank. Normally, your chosen bank will
arrange to pay the vendor a ten per cent deposit at the point of signing
contracts and allow a further 30 days for the remaining to be settled,
although the settlement period can vary per transaction. Your choice of
banker will depend on day to day considerations such as charges,
location, connection with UK banks, opening hours, availability of
internet banking etc.
You need to
consider if raising finance on your existing property in your own
country to cover the whole cost of your purchase abroad is the best
option. This can be a good idea if the interest rate in
Greece is higher
than it is in your own country. You may pay a lot less in monthly
repayments and there is the saving in exchange rates and fees to
Do you secure a mortgage against the property from a local bank in
Greece? This can be a wise option especially if the interest rate is
lower than interest rate in your own country. Most overseas mortgage /
bank lenders will require up to 30% deposit on mortgages. However, you
will need to give some thought to how you will service your mortgage
payments each month especially if you are not living or earning in that
country as you may well lose out on exchanging money each time to cover
Below is a list of known taxes which is subject to change. As usual it
is recommended that you take professional advice.
transfer Tax; The rate of tax on the transfer of property of up to
15.000€ is 7% and 9% for any amount beyond 15.000€ of the 'objective
value'. These rates increase by 2% when the property is situated in an
area covered by a public fire brigade.
Property Tax; The first 243.600 Euros of the 'objective value' of the
property is not subject to tax. Any value of the property beyond 243.600
Euros is subject to 7% tax.
These rates can vary for individual’s dependant upon individual
Exemptions from annual property tax apply in the case of certain
Property Tax: Property
ownership is also subject to a municipal real estate duty, currently
calculated at a range of 0.25‰ to 0.35‰ on the objective value of the
real estate property; which is incorporated in the electricity bill
payable every second month.
Gains; Tax is payable upon the eventual sale of the property.