Houses, apartments and land for sale. And houses or apartments for longterm rent by particular owners
In Greece, and therefore obviously Corfu, any citizen of one of the original 15 member states of the European Union is permitted to purchase land or property in their own name. (In the past this was not possible and you had to find a Greek citizen to be in partnership with before any purchase could be made.) Citizens of new member states (entry to the European Union after 1st May 2004) can buy property on some parts of the island but at the present time not within the Municipality of Corfu Town. How this ruling will be affected by the new local government structure we are still waiting to hear.
The buyer must have a local lawyer - whose responsibility it will be to check the following:
-Details of any outstanding mortgage (if applicable)
-Any tax liabilities
-Ensure there are no encumbrances
If land is being purchased then it is also the lawyer’s responsibility to check that the land has building rights.
The lawyer will then appoint a Public Notary who is responsible for drawing up the contract and recording the property with the Land Registry Office.
This process, referred to as completion takes in a straightforward case 40 – 60 days to complete.
The buyer must have a Greek Tax number (which can be obtained from the first floor of the Nomarkio which is opposite the Municipal Theatre in Corfu Town). It is possible to have your lawyer obtain a tax number for you but it is a simple procedure that can be done easily yourself in a couple of minutes, not counting queuing time!
If you are not going to be on the island while the purchase is going through, then your lawyer will advise you to appoint them as a Power of Attorney for all matters relating to the purchase. They will then be able to obtain a tax number on your behalf and deal with any matters arising.
The fees payable when buying a property in Greece may include the following:
Transfer tax is levied at a flat rate of 3% for property transfers as of 01 January 2014 and is calculated on the price declared on the final deeds (or on the minimum value of the property according to the tax system). It is applicable to plots of land or already built properties that had a building license issued before the 31/12/2005 or to properties that have been constructed by an individual and not by a construction and or development company.
For properties built by construction companies with building licences after the 01/01/2006 instead of a Transfer Tax the VAT is applied at 24%. The tax is calculated on the price written on the final deeds (or on the minimum value of the property according to the tax system).
Land Registry Fees
The property transfer is registered in the Cadastre. Land registry fees include registrar’s rights, certificates, and stamp duty. Registrar’s rights are around 0.475 % of the property value, plus 23 % VAT. plus a small sum for stamp duties and certificates.
The fees for the notary, who draws up the final purchase contract and officiates the sale, are usually between 0.65% to 1% of the property value, plus 23% VAT. The sale and purchase agreement must be notarized for it to be valid.
Currently the minimum charge is €300. It is usually between 2% - 2.2% of the sale price however will depend on the complexity and value of the purchase. Again check with the lawyer as to what his charges will be and agree these before starting the purchase
Legal fees are around 0.40% to 1% of the property value, plus 23% VAT. Buyer and seller share the costs. Employing the services of a lawyer is highly advisable to avoid the "who owns what" mischief rampant in Greece. The lawyer will make sure that the land title is clear.
The Greek law defines the minimum amounts of remuneration for any property transaction. There is no maximum limitation and these shall be agreed by mutual consent between the buyer and the lawyer.
Surveyor’s Fees (Optional)
If you employ a surveyor to inspect a building or plot of land, the fee will depend on the type of survey, any special requirements and the value of the property or land. A survey costs from €250.
Selling Agent’s Fees
The Buyer and seller each pay 2 % real estate agent’s fee + VAT 24%. The fee is based upon the sale price of the property and not based upon the price declared on the final title deeds. Sometimes an allowance is made for this when setting the sale price, so in effect the buyer pays.
We would recommend strongly that you are present at the time of the signing of the contract for your house. If this is not possible then the buyer can sign by Proxy having named someone as their Power of Attorney. During the “signature” meeting the following people will be in attendance – the lawyers of the buyer and seller(s), the Public Notary, the buyer and the seller(s). (In many cases old Greek house may have more than one owner.)
Once signed the contract is deemed finalized and can be registered with the Land Registry by the Public Notary. The buyer will then be issued with a certified copy and “completion” is complete, as they say in Greece.
Pre- Contract Agreement Option
Since completion can take up to 60 days many people prefer to sign a Pre-contract. This document can be drawn up your lawyer and is signed by both parties (buyer and seller(s)) Once signed this commits both parties to an agreed price and agreed completion date. The buyer is required to pay a 10% deposit which will be held in trust by the lawyer until “completion”. It is however very necessary to be aware of the following:
1. If the sale does not go ahead because your lawyer has been unable to satisfy himself on any areas such as the issue of clear title, maybe the owner has died or any other unforeseeable problem the deposit will be returned. However any bank charges or currency fluctuations will be paid by yourself.
2. If for any reason you decide not to buy the house you will have to forfeit your the deposit.
On Going Expenses
Just as in your own country once you have bought the house of your dreams there are still on going costs to take into consideration (excluding the mortgage and utility bills etc.). In Greece these are currently the following
Tax Declaration - Has to be done on a yearly basis and involves a small fee for your accountant
Property Tax - There are property taxes in Greece these change quite regularly, consult your lawyer for the most recent
Capital Gains Tax - This was introduced in January 2006 and is on a sliding scale
Within 5 years -20%
5 – 15 years -10%
15 – 25 years - 5%
More than 25 years - NIL
We would also advise that you hire a lawyer (they must be based in Corfu) that is fluent in your own language. We would therefore advise that you contact your own Consulate in Corfu where you will be able to find a list of following professionals:
0 Public Notary
0 Construction engineer
0 Insurance advisor
Although we have tried to be as accurate as possible in our information, we cannot be held liable to any changes in legislature or on costs. Information can change at any time and therefore it is the buyer's responsibility to check all details carefully before proceeding and to clarify costs etcetara with their lawyer.
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