Real Estate Practices in Greece
Overview of Real Estate in Greece
Real estate agents are present in every region of Greece and they can act either on behalf of the seller or the buyer. A contract is signed between the real estate agent and the client and the agent's commission is included. The usual commission is between 2% or 3% of the agreed purchase price (+VAT) and is paid by the party who hires the agent.
The seller can be contacted directly, without the use of an agent and the contact details are usually noted with the property listing.
Financing Real Estate in Greece
Greek Banks have a range of mortgage products. Interest rates in Greece vary between 4-5%. Over and above the mortgage costs there is a surcharge of fees and expenses.
Land Registry Search
Under Greek law, property transactions require hiring a lawyer only if the agreed price exceeds €14,000, with the exception of the Municipality of Athens, where the agreed price has to exceed ?29,347. Both seller and buyer are required to hire lawyers.
In Greece, lawyers are required to undertake the land registry search in order to ensure that the property is free and clear of legal problems (liens, mortgages, garnishments, expropriation, inheritance taxes, etc.). This is done at the Land Registry Office where the property is registered.
The lawyer's fee is at least 1% of the first €44,000 of the purchasing cost and 0.5% thereafter. The lawyer's fee may increase up to 2%, especially when the land registry search is complicated.
Local Authority Search
Building provisions and local stipulations / restrictions are searched at the local authority office either by the buyer or his lawyer. It is often useful to hire a civil engineer who is acquainted with the area and its restrictions.
Legal Requirements for Buying and Selling Property in Greece
All EU citizens are governed by the same law for the purchase and selling of property in Greece.
Non EU citizens can also buy property in Greece with the following stipulations:
Both the buyer and the seller must provide:
- A valid passport (or a legal identity card for EU citizens only).
- A Greek tax number which can be obtained within 5 working days from the Greek Tax Authorities.
- If either the buyer or the seller is a legal entity (i.e. company), all validating documents are required (i.e. statute etc.).
- The seller should provide annual tax return certificate which is issued by the Tax Authority, proving that there are no outstanding debts to the State.
- Properties close to Greek borders require special permission for the purchase.
- Certificates concerning the land issued by the Registration Office of the area.
- If the seller is a legal entity (SA) or is subject to Social Security Insurance (IKA), a related certificate is required.
Transfer Taxation in Greece
In Greece there is a purchase tax of 9% up to €15,000 of the contract price and 11% over and above that amount, payable by the buyer only.
The stated contract price cannot be less than the official government price which is substantially below market value.
Under Law N. 3427/2005, a Value Added Tax (VAT) of 19% of the contract price is levied on property / land whose building licenses were issued after 1 January 2006.
Purchase Contracts in Greece
The purchase contract is drafted by a Public Notary and checked by the lawyers of both the seller and buyer. The Notary is usually selected by the buyer, who also pays his fee. The public notary's fee is approximately 1.5% of the contract price. All parties must be present at the signing of the contract.