Buying a property in Turkey
The Turkish government has removed many of the hurdles that once made buying property in Turkey more difficult for foreign nationals. Therefore, if you are looking to purchase a home there, you can now do so just as easily as a Turkish citizen could. Military clearance, for example, while still required in some areas, is no longer needed in many parts of Turkey, including in Mugla, where foreign property ownership is high. As well as speeding up bureaucratic processes, the new laws provide new opportunities for buyers. For example, they allow them to participate in auctions and buy repossessed properties.Although you do not need a residence permit to buy a property, you will need your Foreign Identity number (your Yabanci Kimlik number), which you can get, free of charge, from the foreigners departments of the Turkish National Police (TNP). A recent change in law means that property buyers are now eligible for residency with any property purchase, and those who spend more than $250,000 on a Turkish home are eligible for citizenship.
The buying process
It is strongly recommended that buyers obtain the services of an independent lawyer, before they commit themselves to purchasing property, or to paying a deposit. The lawyer should have no connection with either the seller or an agent of the seller. Their fees will be in the region of £1,000.
After signing a contract, the process should take around four weeks to complete. Your appointed lawyer will make all the necessary checks on the property, including title check and municipality check, to guarantee that the property is freehold registered in your name.
Your solicitor is responsible for overseeing the applications for the Tapu (title deed) and the Iskan (habitation licence), as well as for dealing with contracts. The Iskan is a technical passport for your real estate, which holds information about your property, such as the number of floors it has and its indoor infrastructure. The Tapu is an official document that shows property ownership.
The Tapu will include your photo, as well as an official stamp and signature. It is vital that the Tapu is checked for authenticity, by making sure that the name on it matches the seller’s. Your solicitor will check all of this for you, and will make sure that the Tapu does not come with any debts, and that it matches the property in question.
On completion of the contract, you will be required to leave a holding deposit to secure the property – the minimum holding deposit accepted is £1,000 or the equivalent. At this point, a date will be set for you to pay the full deposit, which is usually 1% to 2% of the property’s purchase value.
Once all the paperwork is in place, you will pay the remaining balance on your property, and your solicitor will sign over the deeds.
If you require a mortgage, then Deniz Bank is one of the leading banks providing mortgages to foreigners in Turkey. It also has more moderate lending rates – the mortgage loan can be up to 70% of the value of the property.
In order to acquire the title of a property, an application must be submitted to the Land Registry Office local to where the property is situated. After carrying out necessary searches and checks for the above-mentioned requirements, the transfer of the title is done by the Land Registry Office.
In Turkey, it is legally compulsory for both sides (the seller and the buyer) to be present at the entry in the property register during the transaction. The proofs or the documents, concerning the transfer of the full purchase price into Turkey, must be presented to the Land Registry Office.
It is at the point of deed transfer that all taxes and charges will be paid. This includes the purchase tax (stamp duty), which amounts to 3% of the assessed value of your property. The assessed value is normally around 60% of the purchase price, so your purchase tax will be 3% of 60% of the value of your property.
As a new property owner, once the purchase process is complete, you will receive your Tapu. You will need to register with the local tax office, and must open a Turkish bank account – Garanti Bank and Yapi Kredi are popular options with foreign nationals. Once the bank account is opened, you will be given a dedicated tax number, and you must register the fact that you now own the property with the local municipality.
Once you have the keys to your new home, you will need to pay one off connection fees for utilities, such as electric, gas and water. You will also be required to purchase earthquake insurance.
Annual property tax is collected by the municipalities at the rate of 0.3% for land and 0.1% for a house. Costs can vary slightly depending on your municipality, and in the big cities these figures are double. All properties are subject to revaluation every year for tax purposes. If you are buying off-plan, you must complete an affidavit and submit this to the municipality, for tax purposes, within three months of completing the construction.
Popular property websites include:
Renting a property
There are several ways to rent accommodation in Turkey: through an estate agent (an Emlak), directly from an owner or via a specialised agency. Rental fees vary depending on the size of the property and its location. For example, a 85m2 furnished property can cost from around 2000 TL to 3,300 TL per month.
Expect to pay one month’s rent in advance and one to two months’ rent as a deposit. Any taxes or property repairs are normally paid for by the landlord. Standard rental agreements are for one year. The tenant may terminate the lease by giving notice 15 days before the end of the lease term. Written leases need to be notarised, and a tax applies.
Renting through an Emlak usually means securing a one-year contract. The accommodation is usually unfurnished. You will be charged a fee – the equivalent of one month’s rent or 12% of the annual rent amount – as well as the deposit.
Renting directly from an owner is sometimes simpler. The properties are frequently furnished and often include all utilities. Contracts should still be agreed and notarised, and a duration of tenancy agreed. Rather than hand the deposit directly to the landlord, you should set up a rent deposit joint account with them, and then you can pay into this. The bank must then return it to you upon your request three months after you vacate the property, unless the landlord has lodged an active lawsuit against you for damages.
You can secure furnished serviced apartments for leases of one month and upwards through specialised agencies, such as Blueground.
Rental property websites to check include: