Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Do I need a lawyer / solicitor?
Yes. Solicitors are mandatory for the buyer
and seller and carry out necessary legal surveys and conduct
a property title check for the past 20 years; they ensure
the property is free of any mortgage notes, claims, expropriations,
rights-of-way and, in general, any legal encumbrances. In
addition, solicitors ensure that all property taxes burdening
the vendor have been paid.
Do I need a notary?
Yes. A notary public is a government-appointed
lawyer who processes and certifies all real estate transactions,
including drawing up and reviewing all official documents,
to ensure the legal transfer of the property.
Do I need a land surveyor?
Yes. Surveyors ensure that all acts associated
with the construction of the property are based on lawful
Do I need an accountant?
Yes. It is essential to hire an accountant
early on to help you with tax returns and explain taxation
laws to you.
Do I need a Greek bank account?
Yes. All necessary payments will be made through
this account; also, this account will prove that funds used
for property purchase have come into Greece from another country
and are, therefore, not taxable in Greece.
Opening a bank account in Greece only takes a few minutes
and requires no minimum opening deposit. All you need is your
ID or passport and your AFM (tax number).
Do I need a Tax Registry Number (AFM)?
Yes. This tax number (AFM) is mandatory for
all buyers, including foreigners and permanent residents abroad.
It is issued on the spot at tax offices, free of charge. All
applicants must present their passport and sometimes also
their birth certificate. If you have granted your solicitor
full Power of Attorney, he / she can apply for an AFM on your
Do I need a residence permit in order
to purchase property in Greece?
For EU nationals
A residents permit is not frequently asked for. However, should
you wish to buy a car you will need one.
For non-EU nationals
Yes, if you plan to purchase property in an area near national
borders (including some islands such as Crete and Rhodes,
and islands of the Eastern Aegean). If this is the case, you
must apply for a special permit issued by the Ministry of
Defence in Athens.
An alternate and more efficient way to purchase property in
these areas is through an offshore company in your name, based
in an EU country. This is fairly commonplace; setting up and
maintaining such a company costs approximately 2,000 euros
to establish and 1,500-2,000 euros annually. To purchase property
in all other regions of Greece, you do not need a residence
Do I need to make a deposit?
To secure the property, to show your serious
interest and to take the property off the market a 10% down
payment is required. In case of off-plan properties and projects
just under construction the stage payments can vary.
Do I have to be present at the signing
of the contract?
No, not unless you would like to be here for
the great occasion. You will need to prepare a Power of Attorney
to enable signing of the contract in your absence. Depending
on the seller's situation as well as the location of the land,
the time from your decision to purchase to the actual signing
of the contract can take anywhere from five days to over a
month. If you are not in Crete, your Power of Attorney enables
the lawyer of your choice here in Greece to sign the land
contract on your behalf.
Do I have to file tax returns in Greece
once I've become a property owner?
Yes. The Greek State has mandated that all
property ownership in Greece must be declared by filling out
a form called E9 and submitting it to the Greek Tax Authorities.
This is mandatory for every property owner in Greece, even
for those who live abroad and have never filed tax returns
in Greece or do not have an income in Greece. You can not
file an E9 all by itself. E9 is a schedule which must be submitted
together with the basic Income tax form E1. If you have no
income in Greece, you enter “0” income in the
E1 form; still, you must submit the E1 as well.
Do I have to pay annual property taxes?
That depends on the value of your property.
You will have to pay an annual property tax if your property's
tax assessed value exceeds 243.600 euros.
Do I have to pay Capital Gains tax if
I decide to sell my property?
New property taxation laws go into effect January
1st, 2006. These include a Capital Gains Tax for properties
purchased after January 1st, 2006. The percentage of tax owed
will vary depending on the length of time a property remains
in one's ownership.
Do I need a license if I want to rent
my property (house, villa, apartment)?
Yes you do. For many people buying a home in
Crete, being able to rent it when they are not resident is
important. In order to do this the property must have a valid
license issued by the Greek National Tourist Organization
called an EOT license.
Can I purchase property in Crete?
You can buy property in Crete (Greece) provided
that you are a citizen of the European Union. In certain circumstances
it is possible for nationals of other countries to buy property.
To establish what the regulations are in these cases you would
need to contact the Greek Consulate or Embassy in your home
Can I purchase property in somebody
Yes. You may purchase property jointly with
your spouse and/or other co-purchasers, in names of children
or legal heirs, or in the name of a company
Can I get a mortgage in Greece? If so,
what are the requirements?
Yes, it is possible to get a mortgage in Greece.
To apply for a mortgage you will need your passport and proof
of income for the last 3 years (P-60's, payment stubs, or
tax returns if self-employed). Please be aware that if you
apply for a Greek mortgage, you must be able to pay all closing
costs before any funds from the bank are released.
Can I renovate or build on my own?
Yes, it is possible, if you are a DIY enthusiast.
However, major renovations or building which requires a building
permit, will need locally registered tradesmen to either do
the work or sign off on your work. There is an estimated number
of man-days work to be covered by the National Insurance (IKA)
and this will need to be paid, even if you did the work yourself.
Tradesmen generally speak only Greek and you would need to
rely on others to act as interpreters unless you make the
heroic effort to learn to speak some Greek.
Can I work or open a business?
All European Union citizens have the right
to live and work in Greece. You will need a residence permit
that also serves as a work permit. This is now a relatively
simple procedure and there is a very small fee. It is obtained
for the nearest Police Headquarters. An accountant or lawyer
will help you with the formalities of opening a business.
Can I bring my car to Greece?
Yes and No. If this is going to be your first
home, then yes you are entitled to bring the car, tax free,
into Greece and acquire Greek number plates. There is a fee
for this registration. You do need to arrange all the paper
work with the Greek Embassy in your country of origin before
coming to Greece. It is not possible to initiate this procedure
once you are here. If this is your second/holiday home, then
you will only be able to bring the car for a 6 month period
in each year. After the 6 months expires you are obliged to
take the car out of Greece.
What is a property's Tax Objective Value?
The Tax Objective Value is the estimated monetary
value of a property according to the Greek tax authorities.
As a general rule, a property's Tax Objective value is significantly
lower than its purchase price.
What happens if the legal searches highlight
any problems with the property?
If the searches highlight any problems you
will receive your deposit back in full. This is why the deposit
is paid to the solicitor and not to the vendor.
What happens if I change my mind?
If you have signed a contract and paid a deposit
for a property, this is considered to be an official intent
to purchase. It is important that you are absolutely certain
that this is the property you want, and that you feel you
are under no pressure to sign a contract and pay a deposit.
Should you decide to withdraw from the purchase, you will
lose your deposit.
What happens if the vendor changes his
/ her mind?
If you have signed the pre-contract and made
an initial deposit, your deposit will be refunded in double.
What type of property insurance is recommended?
Although no market standards exist as to the
forms of insurance that can be taken out, it is reasonable
to suggest that property be insured against the following
risks: fire, earthquake, water damage, breaking glass, storm,
theft, and third party.
Where to buy in Greece
With over 2500 islands in Greece you will most
cetainly be spoilt for choice. A few tips:- coastal properties
around holiday resorts will be more expensive. Try moving
inland a little where you will get a lot more for your money
but may still be able to take advantage of living near to
a resort. The mainland can be more expensive especially around
the capital Athens.
How do I transfer funds to purchase
Open a local Bank Account. This takes no more
than 15 minutes and we can recommend a bank with great experience
of handling foreign customers. All you need is your passport
and it is not necessary to deposit funds immediately. Your
original passports (or copies) are required.
How long will it take to buy the property
I have chosen?
If all documents are correct it would be possible
to have it finalised within 3 weeks, however, our experience
is that it is more likely to take 6 weeks – 3 months.
Of course there are those cases where it takes even longer,
but if you want to own your dream property/piece of paradise,
persistence gets you there.
How much extra should I allow to cover
costs involved with the purchase?
All expenses including legal expenses and taxes
usually come to approximately 13% of the purchase price. This
figure will cover all the expenses involved. These include
fees charged by the lawyer, notary, courts, deeds registry,
taxes and commission. There are occasions when it is less
but very rarely more.
What is required when sending the funds
It would be prudent to have proof of transferring
the currency to Crete and declare it as being for the purchase
of property. In the case of those living outside of the Euro-zone,
it is recommended that the currency be converted to Euros
in Greece. As there seem to be some changes to the tax office
requirements it would be best to check at the time of your
What is the difference between building
within of outside of the city or village limits?
Building within the village limits means that
you may build on a smaller plot, where the infrastructure
is set up and you pay only connection fees to services such
as electricity and telephone. The density which you may build
on a village plot is much higher.
Building in the countryside, means that
you are required to have a minimum of 4.000m², (there
are a few exceptions.)
You are responsible for costs involved for services to be
brought to your house. This can be expensive and problematic,
so be sure to understand how these will be provided. However,
in typical Greek style there generally is more than one solution.