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Essential Legal Information - Tips and information for the purchase of real estate

Anyone who wishes to buy a house or apartment on Greek land has to overcome not only the language barriers but much more! Many laws and regulations are very similar to those of other European countries, but some details are different. The fact that there is a land registry and cadastre on Rhodes offers the buyers a high sense of security. In addition, if you are considering a property purchase you should seek assistance by experts such as professional estate agents, lawyers and notaries. Here is just a small guide for our customers:

Only a division of the overall real estate market can be analyzed, by segments, which would include the region and location to permit a more accurate market analysis. Very often, publications from different institutions are formulated in general and encompass the entire Greek real estate market or they are limited to company data and research by a single credit institution. Both considerations falsify the reality considerably and lead to inaccurate analysis. In order to present the market as realistically as possible, we have to divide the residential real estate market in Greece and specifically on the islands, into two segments:

Segment 1: Residential real estate - primary residence

This area is predominantly dominated by locals and has, especially in the mainland cities, a considerable price decline.

Segment 2: Luxury and upscale holiday / second home market

This market segment is predominantly dominated by EU citizens of non-Greek nationalities as well as by wealthyGreeks and has experienced a lower price decline since the beginning of the crisis.

Due to the complete and ongoing revision of the control system, there are currently changes and positive developments. In principle, the tax rate differs by various factors such as sales of private individuals or sales of property developers. In the case of private sales, the basic purchase tax is only three percent (as of Spring 2017); no real estate tax is levied on the purchase of property developers. Since, however, with the purchase from a commercial supplier/developer as in most European countries, value added tax of 24% has to be paid as it is usual in Greece that the V.A.T. is not included in the purchase prices indicated and must be added.

As in most European countries, the legal acquisition of property cannot be carried out until it is registered in the land registry.The purchase is completed by the conclusion of a notarized, specific purchase agreement. The purchase of real estate is based on the "Astikos Kodikas" (Civil Code), which is, for example, comparable to the GermanCivil Code (BGB).

The hiring of a lawyer is not compulsory as previously, although we recommend that hiring a competent lawyer is a worthwhile investment. The latter conducts the official search within the land registry and prepares the contract in consultation with a notary. Feel free to ask your real estate experts and agents for recommendations.

In the following is a summary of the most important facts for the purchase of real estate:

    1. The purchase of property inGreece is fully possible for EU citizens. The prerequisite is a notarizedpurchase contract and the official entry of the property in the land registry.
    2. Caution is required inpreliminary contracts: These pre-contracts are only relevant in terms of paymentin Greece. The actual transfer of property does not take place.
    3. The LandRegistry can only be visited by lawyers and notaries.
    4. The hiring of a lawyer for purchase advice has been lifted, but is still recommended including for the land registry research.
    5. All property titles pertaining to the seller, should be carefully examined (sellers need a legalized certificate 4178). Your lawyer will also oversee and examine these documents on your behalf.
    6. Forest areas are public property and protected in Greece and can not be purchased.Therefore, each purchase contract must be accompanied by a forestry certificate stating that it is not a forest area. This is particularly relevant for purchasing a plot of land.
    7. If a property is to be built, lawyers, architects and engineers must check whether the prerequisites are met.
    8. The basic income transfer tax is three percent (as of autumn 2016) of the property value and is a prerequisite for the transfer of ownership of the property.
    9. The real estate tax introduced in 2014 amounts to about three to six euros per square meter of living space per year in the traditional secondary residence regions.
    10. Brokerage fees (including service) for the buyer is three percent of the purchase price.
    11. European buyers need a Greek tax number, so the estate agent or the lawyer can take care oft his.

Take your time in making a decision.  Take a second and a third trip to your dream home - a good estate agent will make it easier for you! If you still like it or like it even more, do not hesitate too long after that  because beautiful homes in wonderful locations with sea views are limited on the Greek holiday islands!

Engel & Völkers

Ammohostou 18
85131 Rhodes
+30-22410-794 10

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