Buying property in Greece – safe or insane?

Looking at the "Greek crisis" and the current refugee situation, you may ask yourself, if Greece is a safe place for real estate investment. ...

Furnished or unfurnished – that is the question!

On Corfu, you find an almost equal number of furnished and unfurnished long term rentals. When to go for which – here our pro and con list!...

7 essential advices for landlords

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Pricing your home correctly

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Extra costs when buying property in Greece

A variety of fees are payable when you buy a property in Greece, which usually adds between 10 and 15 per cent to the price – which is higher than in many other countries...

Buying for Investment

In recent years, Greek property has been an excellent investment – particularly on popular islands such as Corfu. ...

4 Benefits of buying out of season

Summer may be real estate’s busy season, but winter offers great opportunities for buying a house, especially for renters looking to become homeowners, growing families t...

Six tips to sell your villa on Corfu

As a property agency with an experience of over 20 years successfully selling houses and villas for our clients, we know the decisive points to get the best out of a sell...

Property Insurance for holiday homes

When buying a holiday home on Corfu, arranging insurance may not seem a priority. And indeed, in Greece it's up to you whether you arrange for buildings and contents to b...

End of the year sale

If we could make just one recommendation to our clients it would be the following: Don't happen to get into the end-of-the-year sale with your property! ...

Corfu – first choice to buy property in Ionian Islands

The Ionian Islands are famous for their lovely beaches and their beautiful mountains. Tourists are drawn to them since decades – which keeps property prices up high even ...

Get started before getting started

Let us help you get the basics out of your way quickly and stress free: tax roll number, bank account, and lawyer....

FAQ'S

My lawyer has advised that the property needs to be "legalised". What does this mean?

Due to common building practice, the vast majority of properties in Greece, have elements that were constructed outside of the building license, and/or, have areas of the property that are being used for purposes other than what was defined in the building license. This can range from a "basement" which is currently being used as a "living room", a covered veranda which isn't shown on the approved building plans, an illegally built extension to the property,  and in some very rare cases, the entire building itself. Under recent Greek Law, it is the obligation of the Seller to provide confirmation from a licensed civil engineer that the property exists exactly as described on the building license. If aspects of the property exist outside of the approved license, the Seller must pay the entire fine required to "legalise" the property, prior to the transfer. As a result, every buyer is effectively guaranteed that the property they are purchasing is compliant with all planning approvals.

Can I purchase property in somebody else's name?

Yes. You may purchase property jointly with your spouse and/or other co-purchasers, in names of children or legal heirs, or in the name of a company.

What happens if I change my mind?

If you have signed a pre-contract and paid a deposit for a property, this is considered to be an official intent to purchase. It is important that you are absolutely certain that this is the property you want, and that you feel you are under no pressure to sign a contract and pay a deposit. Should you subsequently decide to withdraw from the purchase, you will lose your deposit.

What happens if the legal searches highlight any problems with the property?

If your lawyer has discovered any issues with the property that are not reconcilable, or, that misrepresent the property as was presented to you, than we will return your deposit at our earliest opportunity. The benefit of using the Agent as Trustee, is to ensure that the deposit is never in the possession of the owner, and therefore is safe.

What if I want to buy a plot of land and build my own home?

The planning regulations on Corfu are complicated and at the moment subject to a number of changes. In all cases a building permit must be obtained and this service is normally carried out by a state registered engineer who, in conjunction with you, will complete the plans of the proposed house and submit these together with the other information required to the building permit office for approval. The engineer would also make an application on your behalf for connection to the electricity and water supplies. Outside the town, most sewage is dealt with by onsite septic tanks. Once the building permit is obtained, the normal practice is for you to enter into a fixed price building contract with the engineer to build the house. The process of obtaining the building permit normally takes a few weeks and depending on the site, the building process itself can then take a further 9 to 15 months.

Is there Council Tax in Greece?

There is no council tax. There are small charges for ‘community services’ which include such things as rubbish collection and street lighting. These are added onto to your electricity bill.

How do I prove that I purchased a property with money brought into Greece?

Your bank will issue what are commonly known as a ‘pink slip’ or other verification that the money for the purchase was brought in from abroad. This verification will be needed on completing your tax return.

How do I complete the annual tax return?

CPA can, if requested, recommend you to an accountant who can submit the appropriate forms on your behalf every year. Alternatively, you could use the services of our Property Management Services department.

Do I have to pay annual property taxes?

Property taxes are calculated based on the size of the accommodation, and are paid in installments on the bi-monthly Electricity bill. Tax values vary based on the location of the property, however, most values tend to range between 3-5 Euros per square meter of accommodation (per year), and approximately 10 Euros per square meter (per year) for commercial properties.

What other expenses would I be expected to pay?

The costs to purchase a property on Corfu can vary on a case by case basis, but in general a buyer should budget to pay approximately 8% of the purchase price, to cover their purchase expenses. These expenses include the following:

  • Transfer Tax (Stamp Duty) - Transfer tax has recently been reduced to 3% of the sale price
  • Notary Public Fees -  These are between 1.5% - 2% of the sale price, depending on the value of the transaction.
  • Legal Fees -  These are between 1.5% - 2% of the sale price, depending on the value of the transaction
  • CPA Fee - Our fee is 2.5% of the agreed purchase price
The above is inclusive of all registration fees and VAT.

Can you walk me through the buying process?

The process is fairly quick and uncomplicated. As a general rule, you must:

  • Select your property.
  • Appoint your solicitor.
  • Sign a pre-contract (private agreement) detailing terms of sale and payment schedule.
  • Pay a 10% deposit to secure the property by removing it from the market. This deposit is held in a trust account until your lawyer is satisfied that you can proceed with the purchase and it is not released until the signature of the final contract.
  • Apply for your Tax Registry Number (AFM).
  • Open a Greek bank account.
  • Return to Greece to sign the final contract, after all legal work is completed (6-8 weeks, usually). Alternatively, your solicitor may sign for you if they have been granted full Power of Attorney.
  • Upon completion of final contract, all fees and taxes must be paid.

I am not an EU citizen, can I purchase a property on Corfu?

Yes, we are pleased to report that non EU citizens can purchase property on Corfu using the same process as EU citizens

Do I need a residence permit in order to purchase property in Corfu?

A residence permit is not required for the purchase of a property in Corfu. You would however need one if you want to purchase a car, moped or any motor vehicle.

Do I need a Greek bank account?

Yes. All necessary payments will be made through this account. Additionally, this account will prove that funds used for property purchase have come into Greece from abroad, and therefore, are not taxable in Greece. There are standard documents required to open a Greek Bank Account, regardless of the Bank. The documents required are the following:

  • Greek Tax Number (AFM), as shown above
  • Copy of Passport
  • Confirmation of Home Address - Any document with your home address is acceptable, such as a utility bill, driver's license, lease agreement, etc
  • Tax Clearance Document - This would be the standard document issued by the respective tax/revenue authority, upon submission of your annual tax return. In lieu of this, the bank will also accept a recent payslip from your employer.
In the past, it was possible to open a bank account through Power of Attorney. As this is no longer the case, we recommend opening a bank account during your stay on Corfu, to avoid the hassle of inconvenient travel in the future. The process to apply for a tax number, and open a bank account is free, and with a some prior notice, we can ensure that it only takes a couple of hours.

What legalities are involved in the purchase of a property on Corfu?

Buying a house, apartment or a building plot on Corfu is subject to similar legalities to those applying in most other EU countries. It is necessary to appoint a lawyer, who will check the title of ownership and ensure that there are no mortgages outstanding or legal encumbrances attached to the property. CPA can, if requested, make recommendations for the appointment of an appropriate lawyer and subsequently liaise with them, on your behalf. Your lawyer will be responsible for the appointment of a notary public who prepares the necessary Final Purchase Contract, in conjunction with the lawyer. Once the sale has been completed, it is the Notary who will register the Final Purchase Contract with the Land Registry, and also retain a copy. The Notary, will also provide certified copies upon registration. In certain cases, it may be necessary to appoint a qualified surveyor to assist with certain property enquiries. According to Greek Law, you will be required to obtain a Greek Tax number, as well as a Greek Bank Account, prior to the property purchase. This is a simple process, with which we are pleased to assist.

Do I need a lawyer / solicitor?

Yes, it is necessary to appoint a lawyer, who will check the title of ownership and ensure that there are no mortgages outstanding or legal encumbrances attached to the property. CPA can, if requested, make recommendations for the appointment of an appropriate lawyer and subsequently liaise with him/her on your behalf. Your lawyer would be responsible for the appointment of a notary public who prepares the necessary Final Contract in conjunction with him/her. Via a Power of Attorney, your Lawyer is also able to: -obtain a Greek Tax number. -sign the final contract should you not be able to be present yourself.

Do I need a notary?

Yes. A notary public is a government-appointed lawyer who processes and certifies all real estate transactions, including producing and reviewing all official documents, to ensure the legal transfer of the property.

Do I need a Greek Tax Number (AFM)?

Yes. This tax number (AFM) is mandatory for all buyers, including permanent residents abroad, as well as local residents. It is issued on the spot at tax offices, free of charge. All applicants must present their passport, and complete a standard application form as part of the process. If you have granted your Lawyer full Power of Attorney, they can apply for an AFM on your behalf. Alternatively, we are pleased to assist with the process.

We will be glad to answer any query you might have

Corfu Property Agency

22. Guilford Str.
49100 Corfu
TEL.: +30 26610 28141
EMAIL: OFFICE@CPACORFU.COM

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