Buying a property in Greece

Property Ownership in Owning property in Greece is simple and straightforward. Anybody, regardless of nationality, can be a property owner. Property in Greece is under the protection of the State (Greek Constitution: Article 17, paragraph 1); all property owners in the country have equal rights and responsibilities.

All properties in Greece are freehold. A nationwide Land Registry is underway; some islands already have land registries, while properties in the other areas are registered in the Registry of Mortgages.

Buildings in Greece are designed and constructed in accordance with European Regulations and Standards, and they are in total compliance with stringent regulations for earthquake protection.  Apartment buildings in urban areas do not exceed five stories, while in smaller towns and rural areas the buildings are much smaller, with single or two-storey detached and semi-detached houses being the norm.

There is a wide range of properties for sale in Greece.  High-quality, off-plan construction projects are readily available alongsidedetached stone houses in the traditional Greek style or modern semi-detached villas and townhouses.  In addition, compared to the property prices in Northern and Western Europe, Greek property still represents an excellent value.

The most important part of the buying process is finding a property that feels like home. Once you have found your new home and secured financing, completion of the process should not require more than 6-8 weeks. At Property Greece we stand by you every step of the way.

Greece is known across the globe for its blessed climate, bright light and people who enjoy life to the fullest. We invite you to make our country your home away from home.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do I need a lawyer / solicitor to buy a property in Greece ?

Yes. Solicitors carry out necessary legal property 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 to buy a property in Greece ?
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 when buying a property in Greece ? 
Yes. Property Surveyors ensure that all acts associated with the construction of the property are based on lawful planning permissions.

Do I need an accountant when buying a property in Greece ?
Yes. It is essential to hire an accountant early on to help you with tax returns and explain property taxation laws to you.


Do I need a Tax Registry Number (AFM) in order to buy a property in Greece?
Yes. This tax number (AFM) is mandatory for all property 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 their birth certificate. If you have granted your solicitor full Power of Attorney, he / she can apply for an AFM on your behalf.


What is a property’s Tax Assessed Value?
The Tax Assessed Value is the estimated monetary value of a property according to the Greek tax authorities. As a general rule, a property’s Tax Assessed value is significantly lower than its purchase price.

Do I need a Greek bank account? 
Yes. All necessary payments associated with the purchasing of the property will be made through this account. This account will also help prove that funds used for the 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 and a bill with proof of your address (see above).

For EU nationals

Yes, only if you plan to purchase property in an area near national borders (including some islands such as Rhodes, and islands of the Eastern Aegean). If this is the case, a temporary residence permit called the Blue Card is required. You may apply for it at the local police station. Issuance takes approximately two weeks, but your solicitor can collect it on your behalf if granted Power of Attorney. This permit is a formality for EU nationals in non-controversial nations. To purchase property in all other regions of Greece, you do not need a residence permit.

For non-EU nationals

Yes, if you plan to purchase property in an area near national borders (including some islands such as Crete and Rhodesand 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 permit.

 


Can you walk me through the buying process? 
The process is fairly quick and uncomplicated. As a general rule, you must:

  • Select your property.
  • Make sure financing for the purchase is secured.
  • Appoint your solicitor, notary public, surveyor, and accountant.
  • Apply for your residence permit
  • Apply for your Tax Registry Number (AFM).
  • Open a Greek bank account.
  • Sign the pre-contract detailing terms of sale and payment schedule.
  • Pay a 10% deposit to secure the property by removing it from the market; usual payment methods include cash, bank transfer or credit card.
  • Return to Greece to sign the final contract, after all legal work is completed (6-8 weeks, usually). Alternatively, your solicitor may sign for you if he/she has been granted full Power of Attorney. Upon completion of final contract, all fees and taxes must be paid.

How much are closing costs? 
Closing costs, including all fees and taxes, are an estimated 8% on top of the purchase price.

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. As of 2006, the E9 form will be submitted only by those who either: obtain or sell / dispose of any kind of right over immovable property in Greece. If you own immovable property in Greece but your assets next year have not changed from what they were the year before, you do not have to submit the E9 form again.
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.
In order to submit the E1 and E9 returns, you must have a Tax ID Number (AFM). The E1 and E9 can be prepared and submitted by accountants and / or solicitors.
If you fail to declare a property you will not be able to transfer it later. Additionally, failure to file annual tax returns is subject to penalty; therefore, appointing an accountant and a solicitor early on in the buying process is critical.


Do I have to pay Capital Gains tax if I decide to sell my property? 
No. Currently, there is no Capital Gains Tax in Greece.

Do I have to pay annual property taxes? 
Property with an assessed value of less than 400,000 euro is exempt from tax. Please see the table below for the tax payable for any additional value:

Assessed value amount % of next level Amount to pay in euro Total taxable amount Total tax in euro
400.000 0 0 400.000 0
100.000 0.10% 100 500.000 100
100.000 0.30% 300 600.000 400
100.000 0.60% 600 700.000 1,000.00
100.000 0.90% 900 800.000 1,900.00
Remainder 1.00%

Will my family be liable to Inheritance Tax in the future?
Inheritance Tax in Greece is now based on the value of the estate as a one off payment which is 1% of the value (for relations of the first and second degree).
However, there is an allowance of €95.000 per person which is tax free which makes the tax a nominal amount in most cases. For example, on an inherited estate with a value of €250.000 the tax payable would be €1,550.


Is it possible to get a mortgage in Greece? If so, what are the requirements? 
Yes, it is possible to get a mortgage in Greece. The process is similar to most European countries. To apply for a mortgage you will need your passport and proof of income for the last 2 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 purchase property in somebody else’s name?
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.

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.


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.

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