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Buying Property

Greece - Buying Property


Greece has a lot to offer when it comes to properties for sale. You will find a wide range of properties for sale, especially if you are looking for a property for retirement or holidaying. Apart from good value for money and a wide range of properties, Greece offers a great climate with over 300 days of sunshine each year. There are many reasons why you would want to purchase a home in Greece. However, it is important to consider various factors when looking to buy properties there.

It is important to understand why you want to buy a home in Greece before making the purchase. For instance, are you looking for a retirement or a holiday home? If you are looking into buying a second home, will it be for short holidays or for lengthier stays? Do you intend to rent it out to clear the mortgage and running costs? If that is your plan, then how important is the property income? Are you mainly looking for an investment or do you intend to work or open a business?

Normally, buyers have numerous reasons for purchasing properties in Greece. Some expats purchase properties for holidays or retirement. It is important to consider various factors if you intend to purchase a holiday home to live in for a few weeks each year, including running costs and property prices. However, if you intend to start a business or work in Greece, you will have to deal with a totally different set of issues.

You also need to consider:
- If the value of the property is protected against currency fluctuations
- Effects of the austerity measures imposed on Greece by the EU on property value and prices

In the 1990s, many people bought holiday homes in Greece by taking out second home credits on their main homes and drawing out their financial resources to the limit. However, the value of the properties dropped significantly during the global financial crisis. This forced many property owners to sell their homes at a loss when it became difficult for them to keep up with their home credit payments. Purchasing a home in Greece can be a very good long-term investment. However, it can also be risky, especially when the economy becomes unstable.

Restrictions

EU Nationals
EU nationals face no restrictions when it comes to property ownership. However, you may need to obtain a permit from the local government, especially if you want to purchase property in the border zones.

Non-EU Nationals
Non-EU nationals are not allowed to buy homes in certain locations in Greece for security reasons. The restricted areas include border areas on the mainland including Ioannina in Epirus, Pella, Florina, and Thessaloniki in Macedonia, some islands including Lesbos in the Dodecanese, Halkidiki in northern Greece, and Chios and Samos in the Northeastern Aegean islands. Non-EU nationals can get waivers when buying properties in Greece especially if they plan to start conduct business in the country. However, the process of applying for waivers is long and costly.

Buying for investment
Greece is one of the most attractive destinations for property investment in Europe, especially in the islands including Corfu, Rhodes, Crete, and Peloponnese. There are many types of properties to invest in. Your home in Greece may also be considered an investment because it provides you with free accommodation, eliminating the need for paying rent, and it may appreciate in value with time. However, properties in major cities and towns tend to grow faster in value than properties in remote regions of Greece. In addition, the value of a property is likely to increase if you purchase property for other uses other than living in them, e.g. a holiday home.

There are four main categories of investment properties in Greece:

1. A holiday home. This type of property provides returns in numerous ways. A holiday home can provide your friends and family with rent-free accommodation as it maintains its value. You will also be able to rent it out and earn supplementary revenue. Holiday homes can also provide capital gains, especially if their values increase faster than the rate of inflation.

2. A property for your friends or relatives, which may generate additional income if you decide to rent it out.

3. A business property. This could be anything from a shop to an office or a private home that offers bed and breakfast to visitors and tourists.

4. A property bought specifically for investment that could translate to capital investment or provide a regular flow of cash. Many people invest in this type of property to provide income, especially after retirement.

Consider making medium to long-term property investments, preferably 10 to 15 years. It is important to understand that property is not always a safe investment. The investment can be a risky venture over the short to medium term. In addition, you have to consider paying income tax if you plan to rent the property out. Property investments that can generate fifteen percent more than their original values when sold off are usually considered wise investments.

Estate Agents

It is very important to know how to deal with estate agents in Greece. Greece has thousands of estate agents and numerous properties for sale especially in resort areas and towns. Most property transactions in Greece are handled by developers’ agents or estate agents. It is normal for expats to involve an agent in their respective countries to work with a foreign developer or agent.

Many real estate agents in Greece have employees who speak English. Therefore, you do not need to speak Greek to work with a real estate agent. In addition, most real estate agents in Greece provide after sales services to their clients to help them deal with utility, building, insurance, and legal service providers. It is important to work with real estate agents when planning to purchase property in Greece because they will provide sound advice on various issues, including property prices and real estate trends in the country.


Read more about this country

Information courtesy of Carol Palioudaki, author of The Cool Guide to Living in Crete, available at www.livingincrete.net



Expat Health Insurance Partners


Aetna

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Bupa Global

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