Buying a Property in Greece | A Complete Guide by Divine Property
Finding and purchasing your ideal property to match your unique requirements and needs whether as an investment opportunity or a dream home is a procedure that requires certain steps to be followed and can sometimes seem complicated or discouraging. Our team of experts will enthusiastically undertake to guide and assist you during the entire process providing consultation and holistic direction every step of the way.
A brief description of the necessary steps is presented below to provide a useful general guidance of the essential route followed when acquiring any type of property.
Following the selection of the property you wish to purchase, the initial step is appointing a lawyer to perform all the necessary legal searches. The title search takes place at the Land Registry to ensure that the property title is owned by the seller and that the property is free from any encumbrances (such as third party rights, mortgages, liens, foreclosures etc). Your appointed lawyer will also make all the necessary enquiries to evaluate the suitability of the property (examining the building permit, the permit length, the buildability of the land) and whether the property is located in an area where prohibitions or restrictions may apply.
At the same time you can also appoint a supervising mechanic to perform the technical survey on the property. This is not an obligatory step however it is highly recommended as planning and structural issues may occur that could result in the sale being rendered invalid or the property being deemed a poor investment.
In the case you are a foreign resident living abroad or for any other reason of convenience, you can sign a special power of attorney instructing your lawyer to undertake the entire process of purchasing the selected property. The power of attorney must be drawn up and signed at the notary’s office however in case you live abroad this can also be completed at your nearest Greek Consular Authority.
Furthermore, the subsequent step following the completion of due diligence is the payment of an agreed deposit to the seller or to their legal representative of an amount proportional to the total value of the property (usually equal to 5-10% of the purchase price). The deposit payment occurs to confirm and secure your interest in the property and withdraw it from the market.
During this stage both parties sign a Private Agreement with the purpose of establishing agreed terms and providing proof within which the below conditions are typically clearly stated
• The amount of the purchase price of the property
• The method of payment
• Possible construction interventions, if the property is under construction
• The timeline for signing the final contract
• The terms dealing with termination or withdrawal
It is usual practice to agree on penalties to discourage withdrawal after this stage and thus in case the buyer changes their mind and withdraw from the sale the deposit will remain with the seller. If on the other hand the seller withdraws for any reason the deposit will be returned to the buyer in duplicate.
If you are a foreigner from a European Union country or you have not yet filed a tax return, you will need to obtain a Tax Registration Number (AFM) before signing the final contract. This can be obtained by your lawyer from the local tax office usually within a few days of application, where you will also get your credentials for the Taxisnet online services that you will require later on.
When purchasing property in Greece you its recommended to open a local bank account, through which all payments relating to the property purchase must take place (particularly if you’re paying in instalments and also if you would like to get the Golden Visa). Also when importing funds you must declare the origin of the funds to the Bank of Greece using an official import document. Your bank should provide you with an import form for every transfer you have made from abroad. This will provide an accurate record of payments and show that they originated from abroad.
Before the signing of the final contract, the transfer tax return is submitted to the Tax Office.
This Statement is prepared by the Notary and is accompanied by the calculation sheets of the objective value of the property. It is signed by both contracting parties and is submitted by the buyer himself or by an authorized person to the Capital Department of the Tax Office where the property is located.
The transfer tax is paid by the buyer, and is calculated on the objective value of the property, as it is officially defined by the annual tax tables for each area.
Once the Transfer Tax is paid by the buyer, as well as the remaining expenses, the final contract is signed before a notary by both the buyer and the seller. If you do not speak Greek, the presence of an interpreter will be mandatory.
The notary will then submit the contract to the Mortgage Office or the Land Registry in the area of the property, which will keep a copy of the contract. Also, a copy will be kept by the notary who will also provide certified copies to both parties.
Once the transaction is effective you must file the acquisition declaration within one month of the purchase (E9 declaration), which can be performed online at www.gsis.gr by logging in with your Taxisnet credentials.
Also note that when buying a house you will also be required to take over the water and electricity bills under your name using your contract.
In order to calculate the acquisition expenses please see the following charges,
- Transfer Tax (3.09%)
- Agents Commission (2% plus VAT)
- Notary’s Fees (1-2% plus VAT)
- Attorney’s Fees (0.5%-1.5% plus VAT)
- Land Registry (0,475% plus VAT)
The purchase tax is paid by the buyer necessarily prior to signing the contract. The calculation of the tax is based on the value of the property to be transferred mentioned in the contract. In case the value of the property according to the local tax office estimation is higher than the declared price by the parties, the tax calculation is based on the higher value. The transfer tax imposed on the buyer is 3% of the transfer price of the property, plus a 0.3% concerning City (Municipal) Tax.
The real estate agent commission is 2% + VAT on the purchase price.
The notary prepares the deed which is signed in the presence of the parties and their lawyers if appointed. Following the contract signing, the notary prepares an application and a summary of the act signed to be sent and registered at the local land registry/cadastral office so that the property transfer is completed in accordance to the law. The minimum notaries’ fees are defined by the Greek Law but generally, the fee for the notary who draws up the final purchase contract and essentially ratifies the transfer, is usually between 1% to 2% plus VAT on the property purchase price.
While it is allowed to complete the legal aspects of buying a property without legal representation, it is generally recommended that you appoint an attorney to prepare the documents for you and provide key consultation. Attorney’s fees are approximately 0.5%-1.5% + VAT on the purchase price.
Tax paid for the Cadastral Office.
*The legal VAT in Greece is 24%.
As an owner of a property in Greece you are required to comply annually with the following main tax obligations:
1. File the Property Data Statement (Ε9)
The purpose of the E9 is to consolidate information regarding property ownership within the Greek tax authority. All issues relating to property are carried out through the tax authority which uses the E9 as a primary source of information when establishing property ownership.
2. Pay the annual Property Tax (ΕΝFΙΑ)
Property Tax (ΕΝFIA) is calculated on an annual basis on all property you owned on the 1st January of the current year, irrespective of any modifications or changes in the property during the year and is officially defined by the annual tax tables for each area. An option is provide to either make payment one-off or in equal monthly installments.
In case you choose to rent out your property you are to comply with the following main tax obligations:
1. File the rental agreement data online on the Taxisnet e-services within 30 days after duly signed, www.gsis.gr
2. Declare the annual income generated from either the long-term or the short-term property rental on which you you'll be liable to pay tax.
Thoroughly that is the holistic procedure and the essentials that a buyer should cognizant of when purchasing a property in Greece. A straightforward process, wherewith the right guidance will become even simpler.