One of the main worries of people buying a property in a foreign country, apart from finding the ideal property, is how they will cope with the legalities and the buying procedure in general. Therefore, the following 5-step guide is really useful for someone that is purchasing a property in Greece:
1. Appoint a lawyer and Public Notary
An attorney/lawyer must be appointed in order to represent and assist you throughout the buying procedure of property in Crete. Their responsibility includes ensuring the seller owns clear title to the land or property, carry out searches and prepare all necessary documents for the contract. A Power of attorney must be signed over to the lawyer to give them the authority to legally sign for you and act on your behalf, if you don’t plan to be in Crete throughout the buying process. The lawyer is also responsible for the verification and registration of the transaction in the public records, so that the buyer acquires the official title of the property. If required, we can introduce or recommend you a local, reputable, independent, English speaking lawyers experienced in Greek property law.
Your lawyer will arrange for you to visit a public notary who based on Greek property law, must be present in the signing of property transfer contracts. When all paperwork is in order, the Notary drafts the contract and is present when it is read and signed by both the buyer & seller and or their legal representatives.
2. Open a local bank account
A lawyer can also open up a bank account on your behalf in order to make any necessary payment transactions. Subsequently money for the property purchase can be transferred from abroad into this bank account.
3. Issue a tax registry number (AFM)
A tax number must be issued for the buyer (your lawyer will obtain this on your behalf) in order to be able to proceed with any transaction. The tax registry number is applied for and issued by the Inland Revenue Service. This is required by Greek law and is needed for all owners of any assets such as a plot of land, a house or a vehicle.
4. Payment of taxes & fees
Transfer taxes relating to the purchase must be paid to the local Tax office by the buyer or their lawyer prior to signing the contract.
As of January 1 2014, the government purchase taxes for land and re-sale houses is 3% of the total sale value.
In addition to the purchase price of your property, you will be required to pay certain other necessary expenses. These include taxes and various legal fees.
We will advise you of these amounts in clear detail before you decide to buy a property, so that you know the full costs of buying your home in Crete.
5. Effect transfer at the Registry of Mortgages and Land Registry
The buyer’s attorney makes sure that the title is transferred to the buyer’s name by obtaining the relevant certificate from the Registry of Mortgages. A copy of the title, and the certificate from the Registry of Mortgages is needed to register the property under the buyer’s name at the Land Registry.