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  • Γιώργος Βλαστός & Στέλιος Σταματάκης

Purchase of Real Estate in Greece by a foreigner

How can a citizen of another country acquire property in Greece?

The foreign buyer should designate as a representative, a lawyer or accountant who will coordinate and plan the specific actions.

In any case, a research of the property in the National Cadastre or the Land Registry must be carried out in order to establish that there are no legal or real burdens on it. Additionally, a research about possible debts to the respective Municipality or Tax Office must take place. The research should also include confirmation that the procedure for issuing a building permit was lawful and there was no impediment. At this point, the property should be checked by a specialist engineer to see if there are any unlawful constructions on the property. Settlement for these arbitraries is for the time possible (if they were finalised before 2011) and the cost for it is assumed by the seller, unless otherwise agreed. A special license issued by the Ministry of Defense is needed if the property is located in a border region and the prospective buyer is a citizen of a country outside the European Union.

A bank account is then opened in a Greek bank, and a VAT number is issued by the local tax office. The opening of an account, although not explicitly defined by law as a liability, is deemed necessary for practical purposes, for example, for the payment of the transfer tax and the electricity and water bills. Particular attention and consultation with the accountant is needed here, because the interest on deposits (even 0,01 €) is considered as actual income and creates the obligation to submit an annual income tax form.

Once all the above have been done, the buyer is ready to sign before a notary either a pre-contract or a final contract, with which the property comes into their ownership. It is noted that in signing of the final contract, if the value of the property is more than eighty thousand euros, the presence of a lawyer is required by law. The lawyer can also undertake the issuing of bank checks to pay the transfer tax, the notary, and the cost of transcription into the National Cadastre or Land Registry.

Then with the purchase contract, the tax consultant undertakes, after activating the purchaser’s electronic tab in the tax system, the registration of the property in the electronic property list. The annual property tax is usually issued in August and the accountant is responsible for informing the taxpayer of his debts and the payment method.

The minimum fees proposed by Greek law for the drafting of a buying/selling contract by the notary and the state fee for the representation by a lawyer in the contract are as follows:

 

For lawyers:

 

Property Value*

Percentage of value

Up to 44,000 €

1%

From 44,001 to 1,400,000 €

0.5%

From 1,400,001 to 3,000,000 €

0.4%

 

 

For notaries:

 

Property Value*

Percentage of value

Up to 120,000 €

0.8%

From 120,000.01 to 380,000 €

0.7%

From 380,000.01 to 2,000,000 €

0,65%

*the above tables refer to the first three scales of transaction value.

 

The transfer tax is again calculated on the basis of the value of the property, amounts to 3% and is charged to the buyer.

The cost of services of the engineer, accountant and lawyer, beyond the state fee, as it is analysed above, depend on the complexity of the work that needs to be undertaken.

Finally, two more aspects, which aim to make the investment in the property buying more attractive are as follows:

The possibility of issuing a residence permit in Greece by citizens outside the European Union with a validity of five years, the golden visa program as it is known, on condition of investment in the property of more than two hundred and fifty thousand euros.

The owner of the property in Greece now owns a property in a popular tourist destination and they can, in consultation with his accountant for the procedures, take advantage of his residence by renting it on a daily basis to visitors who come to visit our country, earning an extra income.

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