Real Crete Properties: Purchase procedures
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WHO CAN BUY PROPERTY IN CRETE?
Provided you are an EC citizen, you are allowed to buy property in Crete without restriction, except in areas immediately adjacent to military bases, where ownership is restricted.
IS PROPERTY REGISTERED ANYWHERE?
Yes, all property sold in Crete is registered at the Mortgage House, the equivalent of the Land Registry in the UK.
DO I NEED A LAWYER?
Yes, you cannot purchase property in Crete without using a registered Greek Lawyer. It is prudent for your Lawyer to have good local knowledge, and our bilingual lawyers are considered to be amongst the best in the Chania area - we have no hesitation in recommending them to you. UK lawyers unless with a Greek office with registered Greek lawyers are not allowed to act on your behalf for your purchase, but can obviously oversee the transaction on your behalf if you so wish.
WHAT DEPOSIT SHOULD I EXPECT TO PAY?
Once you have chosen your property, it is normal to pay a small holding deposit (typically 1,000 Euro). Within the next 2 weeks, you will be expected to pay a deposit of 10%. Your Greek Lawyer will have opened an escrow bank account in your name(s) and his specifically for the purchase and any building works, and the money should be paid into this account only. This account is operated by him under solicitors client account rules so your money is always secure and the correct documentation for money importation is issued. We never recommend paying money to anyone else.
DO I NEED TO BE IN CRETE FOR ALL THE STAGES OF THE PURCHASE?
No, almost without exception, purchasers do not need to be in Crete for the purchase to proceed. You can execute a Power of Attorney preferably while you are in Crete (but it can be executed in the UK), which will give your Lawyer all the authority needed to enable your purchase to go ahead.
WHAT WILL MY GREEK LAWYER DO?
Your Greek Lawyer will investigate title to the property and confirm that the vendor is allowed to sell the property to you. He/she will also check for you on any taxes etc. that are outstanding on the property e.g. inheritance taxes so that you can be assured there are no financial liabilities. You will also automatically be registered for Greek Tax, normally on a non-resident basis. In certain areas near to military zones, it is also necessary to obtain permission from the military authorities (usually a formality). He/she will then fix a completion date, and then you will be asked to transfer the balance of the purchase price, purchase taxes and legal fees, and the Building Licence fees to enable the application for any planning consents to be submitted.
DO I NEED TO BE IN CRETE FOR COMPLETION, AND WHAT HAPPENS?
No, your Lawyer can do all that is necessary on your behalf with the Power of Attorney you will have signed. Completion takes place in the offices of the Notary Public, who will independently check all the documentation and tax receipts before completion can take place. The new deeds to the property are signed, the purchase money paid over, and from that time, the property is yours. The Notary Public will arrange for your ownership to be registered at The Mortgage House. Your Lawyer will send you a copy of your registered Deed of Ownership (the Contract) , a completion statement and a financial reconciliation of the monies used in the purchase.