Real Estate Law in Greece
Real Estate Law in Greece: A Brief Introduction
Attention must be paid to purchasing restrictions.
Real estate property acquisition in Greece is governed by the Greek Civil Code (= Astikos Kodikas), which is equivalent to the German Civil Code. There are also similarities between the German and Greek real estate law. The purchase is carried out by a notarized purchase contract as well as an entry in the mortgage register (= Ipothikofylakio / land registry) or land registry. The owner of a property is only certified once the entry in the Greek land register / cadaster has been completed.
The Land Registry was recently applied an is no longer object-related. With the introduction of the cadastral office (= Ktimatologio) an entry should be only object-related (according to land parcels). Since the transition to the cadaster office has not yet been completed in all Greek municipalities, land registers are still maintained in a name-related manner in some municipalities / towns. Therefore, it is advisable, or even necessary, to employ a lawyer, assigning him/her with the corresponding search in the competent land registry check before acquiring real estate property. It should be noted that such searches in the Land Registry / Cadaster are carried out by lawyers in Greece.
The Greek land register does not list all properties of a person or all the dispositions and legal transactions directly related to a particular property. According to the name-based registration in the land register, the entry (s) make it possible to understand which property (s) a person owns in the relevant municipality.
Therefore, during the search check, ownership is checked along with the existence of possible burdens (for example, compulsory insurance mortgages). Burdens of a property in the land register are also listed by name in the mortgage book. In the cadaster, possible burdens will be listed on the same sheet in the future.
In addition to the possibility of assigning a lawyer with the task of searching the land register / cadaster, one can also apply for a certificate of registration in the land registry. However, this certificate only contains excerpts of the entries; a detailed and legally validated examination has to be requested separately. As a rule, since the length of processing time and the quality of the search and costs are factors which should not be underestimated, it is advisable to delegate this task to an experienced lawyer.
In Greek law, attention must be paid to purchasing restrictions when acquiring real estate property, the most important of which include the following:
- Restrictions for foreigners in regions / locations defined as frontier areas. These restrictions do not apply to EU citizens; Non-EU citizens must apply for a permit from the relevant prefecture. Non EU citizens can acquire a residence permit in Greece (including their family) if they purchase a property of 250.000 euros or more. Limitations of construction law: Building regulations must be observed. One of the most important regulations provides that no land with an area lower than 4,000 square meters may be used to build outside the permissible development plan.
- Restrictions regarding the protection of nature and listed monuments: Natural law restrictions include, in particular, forest law restrictions and restrictions on the sea shore. State forest land and seafront land may not be acquired. A permit from the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food is also required if you want to sell, buy or share forest land (for example, Art. 216 (1) a of the Forestry Act). Listed properties are subject to the requirements of the monuments protection authority.
- Restrictions in regions / locations marked as military areas: The purchase of real estate property in such areas is not possible.
Usefull information for bying properties in Greece
The time has never been better than now to buy an affordable and beautiful property in Greece.
- Lowest prices in comparison to all other European countries
- High return
- Low purchase costs. Low real estate transfer tax
- Vacation property
Unique quality of life, all year round. The currently low real estate prices in Greece bring your dream holiday home within reach. Holiday homes in a beautiful landscape, away from the hustle and bustle of summer, are still easy to find in Greece.
- Real estate for investment
When buying real estate in Greece, the focus is usually on private use as a holiday property or year-round residence. But Greece is also a very good location for capital investments. In addition to the returns on the classic residential and commercial space rentals, there are excellent conditions for tourism rentals. All buyers can expect good returns from rentals and a large increase in the value of their property in the next few years.
- Real estate for retirement
Many people in northern European countries are looking to retire to a place with better living conditions, in terms of climate and landscape. Greece offers an ideal place for retirement, with its mild climate all year long, the above-average number of sunny days (more than 300 per year) and the healthy diet options.
The safest way to buy property in Greece is via a local legal representative. In this case, a lawyer or a civil engineer is usually not only advisable, but definitely recommended. Our strategic cooperation with the German-Greek Chamber of Industry and Commerce (AHK) enables us to provide you with professional advice in German and with relevant experience in Greek real estate law.
Popular locations for a holiday home in Greece include the Mediterranean islands of Crete, the Cyclades (Paros, Mykonos, Santorini), the Ionian Islands (Corfu, Kefallonia) and the Dodecanese (Rhodes, Kos). Hot, dry summers, sandy beaches, historic cities and sights, low prices and the famous Greek cuisine combine with enjoyment of nature, quality of life and culture in a perfect way.
The mainland is also very attractive. The peninsulas of Peloponnese, Pelion and Chalkidiki, with miles of sandy beaches and undeveloped coastlines, seas of flowers and romantic cities like Nauplio, are ideal locations for a house by the sea.
For those looking to buy a town house or apartment in Greece, Athens, Thessaloniki, Heraklion and Volos are recommended. Find everything a city has to offer, without missing out on the typical Greek old town charm.
The ancillary purchase costs are at a very low level compared to other European countries (ancillary costs around 7%).
Ancillary purchase costs & taxes when purchasing a property in Greece are the following:
- Real estate transfer tax: 3.09% of the purchase price.
- Notarization costs or notarial costs: approx. 1.5% of the property value.
- Land registry costs: approx. 1% of the property value.
- Legal fees are freely negotiated. Other costs such as the legal review of ownership (amounting to at least € 150) must also be taken into account.
- Costs for the broker: starting at 2% of the purchase price (depending on the property, region, broker, etc.)
The following taxes and fees apply after purchasing real estate:
Uniform Real Estate Tax (ENFIA):
The Uniform Real Estate Tax (ENFIA.) is levied on any type of property without any tax exemptions, regardless of whether or not a property generates (real or fictitious) income for the owner.
The assessment basis is the value of the property, as in effect on January 1st of each taxable year.
Property, garbage disposal and street lighting fees:
These charges are included in the electricity bill and paid to the respective municipality. The size of the property determines the amount of these fees.
For property acquisition, buyers will need the following:
- A valid passport
- A Greek tax number (AFM)
- A certificate from the responsible tax office on the payment of the real estate transfer tax
A step-by-step completion of your real estate purchase.
13 simple steps for your dream property:
- Search and find the ideal property
- Agree on the price
- Apply in the Land Register/Cadaster office, examination & clarification of ownership and burdens on the property, etc.
- Inspection of building law issues, aspects, etc.
- Purchase contract draft
- Apply for Greek tax identification code & open a bank account in Greece
- Pay the land transfer tax
- Sign the purchase contract and certify
- Pay the purchase price
- Possibly cancel any mortgages
- Entry in the Land Registry / Cadaster
- Handover of the keys to the buyer
- The property is yours!
Villas in Greece: A typical villa in Greece is found in a beautiful location, with very large plots. An airy style, arches, large decks, a private pool, and natural stone features are common. Holiday home in Greece: These are mostly single-story, with less than 100 square meters of living space and simply furnished. Semi-finished properties: A special feature of the Greek real estate market includes half-finished buildings that are for sale. Both single-family houses and villas can be purchased at low prices and built according to your own ideas of a dream house.
The beautiful weather and low prices make Greece very interesting for investors worldwide. However, one question remains: what is the optimal location for buying a house or apartment? Surely, many investors are attracted by one of the country’s many beautiful islands, but the surrounding areas and vibrant cities also have their own appeal. Our guide includes descriptions to the most important Greek regions.