A. Procedural questions
The main steps are as follows:
1. Choosing a lawyer
The buyer must hire a lawyer to assist and represent them.
2. Choosing a notary
The choice of a notary is necessary as in order for each contract related to the purchase of a real estate to be valid it must be drawn up in the presence of a notary. The notary does not represent the interests of the buyer. The notary is a civil servant in whose presence the contract is read, understood by both parties and signed. The notary then prepares the draft agreement and is responsible for the certification and registration of the deal in the public registers so that the buyer would receive a notary deed (agreement) for the property.
3. Receipt of a copy of the notary deed and a small research in the Mortgage Registry.
The buyer must receive the notary deed from the seller. This can happen with the assistance of a lawyer. After that it is the lawyer’s obligation to look for the notary deed in the mortgage registries. This research is necessary so that you will be sure that:
• the seller has absolute ownership of the property;
• there are no encumbrances over the property;
• all taxes are paid by the seller;
• the construction has been performed in accordance with all planning and building permits.
The contract is concluded only after the notary deed has been checked thoroughly.
4. Issuing of a tax registry number
The buyer must be issued a tax registry number unless he/she already has one, so that the procedure related to the deal/contract can continue.
5. Payment of transfer tax
The transfer tax must be paid at the local income service by the buyer before the signing of the contract. This is done with the help of a lawyer.
6. Signing of the contract
In order for the contract to be valid it must be read, understood by both parties and signed in the presence of a notary.
7. Structure and content of the report
A. Each contract has a unique number given by the notary and a date of drawing up. This is the identification number of the property as it is combined with the number given by the registration service.
B. The data about the parties concluding the contract should include: full name, PIN, tax registration number, address and profession.
C. The property is described in detail /size, borders/ as the description should include the architectural elements from the topographic diagram. In this case all previous deeds are also mentioned, as well the number of contracts and registration numbers, notary deeds.
D. After that the declaration of the seller is reported and the price is declared, as well as the conditions of payment of the price in case it is not paid immediately, at the signing of the contract.
E. The seller guarantees that there are no encumbrances over the property sold.
F. Thus the buyer acquires the seller’s property and the seller waives all rights related to the annulment of the deal.
G. The notary presents copies of the paid transfer tax, as well as of the declared value.
A. The contract is drawn up in Greek only in one original which always remains with the archive of the notary and there is one official copy which is registered at the registration office and the buyer receives as much copies as he/she wants by paying the respective fee. If the buyer wishes, they can hire an interpreter who will interpret, word for word, the contract from Greek. At the end of the contract the interpreter swears that he/she has interpreted correctly and has completely understood the foreign buyer cited in the contract and signs under it. Then the buyer has the opportunity to receive a copy and to give it to be translated at his/her expense at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Translation Office or it may be translated by a lawyer who knows the language of the buyer.
B. The parties sign only the prototype of the contract.
C. By the time of the signing of the contract the contracting parties must have all necessary documents that prove the individual identity of the representative in case the buyer is a company.
D. The deal is concluded not with the procedure at the notary but with the registration at the Registration Service.
E. After the signing of the contract the notary registers the deal at the local mortgage registry.
8. The transfer at the Mortgage Registry
The buyer’s lawyer must make sure the ownership has been transferred to the name of the buyer by taking the necessary certificate from the Mortgage Registry.
What are the expenses of the buyer?
In order for the deal to be concluded the buyer must pay the following costs:
Lawyer’s fee: It depends on the value of the purchased property as it can reach up to 1% of the property value up to EUR 44,020 plus 0.5% for values above EUR 44,020. This fee is paid to the lawyer for representing the buyer and does not include the procedure of the research or any additional legal advice given to the buyer.
Notary fee: 1.2% of the property price + EUR 500 for a copy of the contract.
Transfer fee: it is paid in the local tax bureau and is 9% of the value for sums up to EUR 15,000 plus 11% for sums above EUR 15,000. In the regions where there is no fire protection unit these figures decrease to 7% and 9% respectively.
Mortgage Registry: the fee that is paid at the Mortgage Registry reaches up to 0.5% of the price written in the notary deed.
Note: if the property has been given a building permit by 1/1/2006.
Fee for the real estate agent: depends on the agreement between the agent and the buyer.
VAT: 19% of the price of the property written in the notary deed at the purchase.
Are there any annual costs related to owning a property?
The annual tax expenses in Greece are limited to:
• Local municipal tax: the municipal tax is from 2.5 % to 3.5 % of the set value of the property and is included in the electricity bill;
• Annual property tax: owners pay an annual property tax only if the value of the property exceeds EUR 243,000. The tax is from 0.3% to 0.8% of the price of the property.
What is ‘calculated value’ and what is the use of it?
‘Calculated’ or ‘objective’ value of the property is the minimal accepted value for the purposes of the deal, set by the state, which depends on the property’s location. These values are calculated by the Notary and by the Income Service for each individual property and are based on public data related to the price per square meter as well as other specific characteristics related to the property’s location and other factors.
How do I secure the ownership over the property in Greece?
The ownership over the properties in Greece is secured by a state service called Mortgage Registry. This is where the notary deeds are kept, where all encumbrances over properties are registered. The properties are filed under the names of their owners and the lawyers have the right to check the ownership of each person or company. This is where the research of the notary deeds is made regarding any claims, pretences or encumbrances over the property. The research of the deeds also shows whether the property has been transferred properly. This is always done during the process of the conclusion of the deal.
B. FINANCING AND OTHER FINANCIAL OPERATIONS
How can I transfer money from my own country in order to pay for the property?
This can happen with a standard bank transfer from your account to an account in Greece (yours or of a third party). We advise the buyers to officially document all sums which they deposit when buying a property so that in case of a subsequent resale of the property the sums would be repatriated.
How can I open a bank account?
This can happen by giving the bank a photocopy of your passport, business and home address, phone number and certificate for a place of residence issued by the administrative bodies.
If you open a standard bank account in addition to the abovementioned details the presence of at least one of the interested parties will be needed.
Can I take a loan to purchase property in Greece?
The Greek banking system is well developed and offers a variety of financing programs. The Greek banks have branches around the world and many foreign banks have branches in Greece. You can receive financing to purchase a property both by a Greek bank and by an international bank branch in Greece.
Is there VAT in Greece?
Yes, there is VAT for all purchased goods and services, amounting to 19%.
What about insuring the property?
The property is insured by insurance companies. The insurance contracts cover all possible damages, i.e. fire, earthquake, natural calamities, storm, theft, liabilities of third parties, etc. The sums under the insurance are usually collected every two years though annual payments are also accepted. The insurance of the property is not obligatory but is required by the financial institutions mortgaging the property.
NECESSARY DOCUMENTS FOR EU CITIZENS
Natural or legal persons, of Greek nationality, including from Cyprus, persons with ethnic Greek nationality or EU citizens /Art. 26, paragraph 1, ¹ 1892 (1990)/ must present the following documents before the appointed commission at the local prefecture where the property is located:
• Application accompanied by a short CV of the interested person describing the purpose of the application and a short description of the property.
• Residence permit or another document describing clearly the intention of the applicant to ensure services or work.
• Identification documents, valid passport and other documents which prove one’s nationality.
• The application must include its purpose, as well as a short description of the property.
• In case of a general or limited partnership a copy of the ID of the partners is needed.
• A proof for association of the company and for registration in the commercial registry is needed.
• A list of the full names and present addresses of the board members is also required, as well as the full description of their positions and copies of their IDs.
• Documents for legal representation of the company (minutes of the Board or power of attorney) are also required.
• Financial statements from previous years are also required.
• A document proving that the company is not bankrupt is required.
• And finally, a document is required proving the structure of the share capital, or the partners of a private company, or the shares of a limited liability company
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