Ionian Sea

The Ionian Sea with the Ionian Islands, lies between the toe of Italy and the Peloponnese. The Ionian ...

Investing in Greek real estate

With investment returns continuing to be low in countries with the winter sun fast, approaching those looking to invest can be easily seduced into investing in property abroad. And for those investors looking for a place that`s easy to reach with near all round sunshine, Greece can be a very attractive place.

The key rule for buying any property is location! And buying overseas is no exception. Real estate in Greece is attractive to many purchasers and holiday makers for good rental income.

Islands like Crete, Rhodes and Corfu still remain largely unspoiled but are well served from airports providing an ability to deliver sun seekers direct. Rental markets in these islands are well developed and property prices cheap e.g. you can expect to pay from around 70,000 euro for a two bedroomed apartment on Rhodes.

Another spot which is growing in popularity is the Peloponnese region. This too offers direct air links from UK but also motorway and railway links with the mainland, just across the Corinth Canal. It offers warmer winters and not so hot summers and some of Greece`s best known historical sites as well as beaches and rugged mountains.

So how does the serious investor go about buying a property in Greece?

An English speaking lawyer with a detailed knowledge of the conveyancing procedures is an essential. Do not use the same lawyer as the seller, estate agent or the developer.

Once a price has been agreed a deposit of 10% will be paid and pre-contract agreement signed.

All foreign investors will require a Tax Registry Number before the purchase transaction can proceed. This requires production of a passport. This is also required to open a Greek bank account which is mandatory with all payments going through this account.

Title search will be undertaken by the lawyer to ensure that title is clean, all property taxes paid and construction completed in accordance with palling and building regulations.

And now all that is required is for payment of the transfer tax by the vendor, this works just like Stamp Duty, before the contract is signed in the office of a public notary who is responsible for the verification and registration of the sale transaction in the public records to ensure that the Land Registry properly register transfer of title.

And that`s all there is to it. The whole process should take about 8 weeks.

And if this all sounds too easy, there are some things that investors do need to watch out for and to remember.

There will be lots of red tape and a license for short term lets will be essential. A good lawyer will be able to help you through the process and will help make sure that you have clean title. If someone dies without leaving a will property is divided between all children and all owners must be tracked down and sign to sale. This can be complicated and time consuming.

It is also worth remembering that property prices tend to rise slowly in Greece so this needs to be considered a long term investment with income and rental yield being more important than capital growth.

And finally the costs of renovating properties can rise rapidly, especially when renovating older properties. It will be difficult to establish a fixed cost for the work in advance. This needs to be factored into the budget.

It is important that all investors take the time to check regularly the state of their investment. And for those investing in Greek property great travel deals can always be had for this purpose. So for those in the know when it comes to properly investing overseas, Greece is the word.
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