Buying a house - The Best from Greece

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Posted on: 28/Mar/2011

 FOREIGN investment is now more than ever before welcomed by the Greek government and by locals, especially those who are looking to sell property in remote rural communities abandoned over the years by city-bound Greeks.

There are even a number of small villages where foreigners already outnumber the natives. The village of Kotronas in Mani in the southern Peloponnese has been taken over by Germans. The same is true of many Cretan villages. Corfu has one of the biggest expatriate communities, mainly Britons.

While anyone can buy property in Greece, there is one exception as regards some 28 designated border areas (East Aegean, Dodecanese Islands, regions of northern Greece, Crete and Rhodes).

Non-European Union citizens cannot purchase land in these areas without a special permission from the government. This is not easy to obtain.

It is something however the government is now looking to change. One plan currently being discussed by the ministries of defence and citizen protection is to reduce the designated border areas by more than half.

Tips for foreign buyers
Buyers must have a Greek tax roll number (AFM). This is issued by the local tax office. They must present their passport or another valid document of identification in order to apply for it. It’s free and issued on the spot. Greeks and foreigners who permanently reside abroad can also apply for an AFM. They must submit the application to a special tax office located at 4 Metsovou St, Exarchia, tel 210-820-4626
When paying with cash, buyers must file “origin of wealth” (pothen esches) documents. Anyone who buys property and does not already file income taxes in Greece must do so in the following year in order to declare the amount spent in purchasing the property, on taxes and other pertinent fees. Thanks to new legislation aimed at giving a much-needed boost to the country’s real estate market, no first-time buyer will need to file pothen esches documents between now and January 2013 for a home or apartment that does not exceed 200,000 euros or 120m2
Transfer tax: The buyer pays the transfer tax. It must be paid before the purchase. This tax is on a sliding scale. Note: There is also a tax on this tax
Property tax: Depending on the value of the property, buyers may also be subject to paying an annual tax
Notary publics: A formal deed is required by law in order to purchase property. The notary public fee is by custom borne by the buyer. It’s up to 1.6 percent of the purchase value
A lawyer should always conduct a proper and thorough title check. The lawyer representing the purchaser carries out this search with the land registry. The sale can be completed if the lawyer finds that the property has a clean title. The lawyer’s fee can be up to 1.5 percent of the purchase price
GERMANS, Britons and Americans have gobbled up summer homes at Greek holiday destinations. They account for an estimated 20 percent of real estate transactions in the country.

Most of these foreigners are tourists who have visited Greece, the Cycladic Islands and the Peloponnese in particular, and have invested in cottages. A large number of others, mainly pensioners, have settled permanently.

According to the National Land Registry, over 2,500 foreigners own property (1,294 hectares) in the coastal Peloponnese prefecture of Lakonia. There are also some 1,750 estates in nearby Messenia that are owned by foreigners.

Furthermore, over 2,000 own some 505 hectares of land in Hania, Crete, and twice as many have snatched up property on the island of Chios. The National Land Registry figures also show that some 700 estates (210 ha) are owned by foreigners on the Dodecanese islands of Patmos and Simi, nearly 100 estates (22 ha) on the Cycladic islands of Milos and Kimolos and over 450 estates (85 ha) on the Ionian Islands of Corfu, Kefalonia, Zakynthos and Lefkada.


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