Useful information about Greece
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.
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. Meanwhile approved by parliament that residence permits are accorded to foreigners (outside the EU) who buy for more than 250,000 euros in real estate or rent, a work permit is not granted.
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) New taks low 01-01-2014: transfer tax: 3% from the definitive purchase contract.
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 (+ 21% VAT).
Once the transfer is arranged and is definitive the notary will have it registered in the national register, extra cost approximately 0,5%. 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 7% of the costs (excluding brokerage costs) born by the purchaser over and above the asking price of an extant (second) house!