This Frequently Asked Questions page is from the Property in Crete section of the Completely Crete website
There are numerous frequently asked questions prospective buyers of Crete property have in their mind. Buying a property in Crete is generally straightforward.
Many Crete estate agents and real estate companies place emphasis on the 'complicated' and bureaucratic nature of buying Crete property.
Hopefully the following frequently asked questions and answers will be helpful.
Q. Can I purchase Crete property?
If you are an EU citizen, you can buy a Crete property.
It is possible for nationals of non-EU countries to buy Crete property. Contact the Greek Consulate or Embassy in your home country to find out the precise regulations.
Q. Do I need a Lawyer to Buy a Crete property?
A lawyer (solicitor) registered to practice in Crete is needed for both the buyer and seller. A lawyer will carry out necessary legal surveys, conduct a property title check, and ensure the property is free of legal encumbrances.
We have found that lawyers speak very good English and smoothly take you through the buying process. A lawyer will help you find a surveyor, an accountant and acquire a tax number for you if you give them Power of Attorney. (We strongly recommend this.)
Your lawyer will acquire and check copies of the property title (contract deed), check outstanding debts and taxes on the property, check the topographic plan, appoint a Public Notary, prepare the purchase contracts, pay the purchase transfer tax, pay associated costs required by Greek law.
Check out our Lawyers in Crete list that covers the prefectures of Chania, Rethymno, Iraklio and Lasithi.
Q. Do I need a Notary Public?
Your lawyer will appoint a Notary Public for you.
Q. Do I need an Accountant?
Yes. Owners of property in Crete (and if you own a car) have to submit an annual tax return to the Greek authorities.
Your lawyer will help find an accountant for you.
Q. Do I need a Tax Registry Number (AFM)?
Your lawyer will acquire a tax number (AFM) for you.
Q. Do I need a Greek bank account?
All necessary payments will be made through this account.
Currently opening a Greek bank account takes just a few minutes and is a simple and uncomplicated process.
Look at our opening a bank account in Crete page for more on this topic.
Q. Do I need to make a deposit to secure a property?
Once you’ve chosen the Crete property you want to purchase, you need to make a 10% deposit of the agreed selling price. This is a non-refundable deposit, allowing the vendor to take the property off the market and shows the vendor your serious intent to proceed with the sale.
In the case of off-plan properties and projects just under construction the stage payments can vary.
Q. What happens if I change my mind?
If you have signed a contract and paid a deposit for the property, this is considered to be an official intent to purchase. You will lose your deposit should you wish to withdraw from the purchase. So it goes without saying be very, very certain you want to go ahead with purchasing the property before signing any contract and making a deposit.
Q. What happens if the vendor changes their mind?
If you have signed the pre-contract and made an initial deposit, your deposit will be refunded in double.
Q. Do I have to be present at the signing of the contract?
By giving your lawyer Power of Attorney the contract can be signed in your absence.
Q. What’s the best way to transfer money to pay for the property?
A specialist currency transfer service, rather than your local bank, is probably the easiest and cheapest way to transfer funds. They tend to have better exchange rates offered on large transfers. It’s important too to keep a copy of the transfer slip, which proves you brought money from outside Greece to pay for the property.
Q. How long will it take before completion?
On average it takes about four to six weeks from signing the property purchase agreement to completion, if there are no complications and everyone wants things to happen strainght away.
Q. How much should I budget to cover legal fees etc.?
Buyers can expect to pay up to an additional 15% on the purchase price to cover all costs and fees. This is a significant cost and more than you would pay in the UK. These costs and fees will include registration, purchase tax, notary and legal fees, in total all averaging 12% - 15% of the total sale price. Buying a property valued at €200,000 (about ₤140,000) will cost you up to €30,000 in fees and costs!
If you buy a property through an estate agent they will also charge a fee for their services. (Estate agents not only get paid fees of up to 4% from the vendor but also from the buyer too!).
Q. Can I purchase a property without the help of an estate agent?
Nothing prevents you from proceeding with purchasing a property without using an estate agent.
Appoint a lawyer and they'll guide you through the buying process.
(Coming soon - our selection of Resale Properties to suit all tastes without the need for an estate agent.)
Q. What if I want to 'Buy to Let'?
Please see our Buy to Let Guide
Q. Can I use my DIY skills to renovate or build on my own?
It is possible but may not be advisable for major work. Building regulations are strictly adhered to and renovations or building which requires a building permit will need local registered tradesmen to do the work or sign off on your work. The IKA (National Insurance) will need to be paid for the man-hours used in any building work, whether completed by local tradesmen or yourself.
Q. What do I need to do while in Crete in order to make the buying process easier?
Be 100% certain that you want to purchase your chosen property. The 'holiday romance' of falling in love with a charming and quaint Cretan cottage may wear off as soon as you board the plane for home.
With you 'Ouzo goggles' removed you may see the property for what it is - a costly pile of rubble that will take a fortune to renovate!
If you are 100% certain then before you leave Crete:
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