Are you considering a move to Greece, the land of ancient history, picturesque landscapes, and sun-kissed beaches? If so, this comprehensive guide will provide you with essential information on how to successfully move to Greece and buy property in this beautiful Mediterranean paradise.
Part 1: Preparing for Your Move to Greece
Research the regions and cities of Greece
Before moving to Greece, it’s crucial to research the various regions and cities to identify the one that best suits your preferences and needs. Some popular areas among expats include Athens, Thessaloniki, Crete, Rhodes, and the Cyclades islands.
Obtain the necessary visas and permits
EU citizens can move to Greece without a visa, but they must register with the local municipality within three months of arrival. Non-EU citizens need a valid visa or residence permit to stay in Greece. Depending on the purpose of your stay, you may apply for a work visa, study visa, or investment visa. If you plan to buy property in Greece, you may also qualify for the Greek Golden Visa program, which grants a five-year renewable residence permit for non-EU citizens who invest at least €250,000 in real estate.
Learn the language
Although many Greeks speak English, especially in tourist areas, it’s beneficial to learn the Greek language to ease your integration and make daily life more manageable. Start learning Greek before you move, and consider enrolling in language courses once you arrive in Greece.
Set up a bank account
To buy property in Greece, you’ll need a Greek bank account to transfer funds and pay for related expenses. EU citizens can generally open a bank account with just their passport and proof of address. Non-EU citizens may need additional documentation, such as a valid visa or residence permit.
Understand the Greek healthcare system
Greece has a public healthcare system, which offers free or low-cost medical services to residents. EU citizens can access the system with their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Non-EU citizens should obtain private health insurance to cover medical expenses.
Part 2: How to Buy Property in Greece
If you’re considering buying property in Greece, this comprehensive guide will provide you with essential information to ensure a smooth transaction and secure your dream home.
Decide what you want
Before buying property in Greece, it’s important to decide what best suits your preferences and needs. This might sound obvious, but many people start touring properties that will never work for them just because they never sit down and make a list of what’s important. Take a few minutes and discuss with your significant other about what matters the most.
Engage a local real estate agent
Working with a local real estate agent is crucial for a smooth property search and purchase process. Agents have in-depth knowledge of the local market and can help you find properties that meet your needs and budget. They can also assist with negotiations and ensure you navigate the legal procedures correctly.
Hire a lawyer
When you buy property in Greece, it’s essential to hire a local lawyer to guide you through the legal aspects of the purchase. A lawyer can help you understand and comply with Greek property laws, review contracts, and ensure a smooth transaction.
Obtain a tax registry number (AFM)
To buy property in Greece, you need an AFM (Arithmo Forologiko Mitroo), which is a unique tax registry number. You can obtain an AFM at the local tax office with a valid passport and proof of address. If you are a non-EU citizen, you may also need a Greek residency permit.
Find your dream property
Explore the Greek property market and work with your real estate agent to identify properties that meet your criteria. Consider factors such as location, proximity to amenities, property condition, and future resale potential.
Conduct a property survey
Before buying a property in Greece, it’s essential to conduct a thorough property survey to identify any potential issues. A qualified engineer or architect can assess the property’s structural condition, confirm legal boundaries, and ensure it complies with building regulations.
Sign the preliminary agreement and pay the deposit
Once you’ve found your ideal property, your lawyer will draft a preliminary agreement outlining the terms and conditions of the sale. Both parties will sign the agreement, and you will typically pay a deposit of 10% of the purchase price. This deposit secures the property and ensures the seller will not sell it to another buyer.
Apply for a mortgage (if necessary)
If you need financing to buy property in Greece, you can apply for a mortgage from a Greek bank or a foreign bank with a presence in Greece. Ensure you understand the interest rates, repayment terms, and any associated fees before committing to a mortgage.
Complete the due diligence process
Your lawyer will conduct due diligence to ensure the property is free of any legal issues, such as outstanding debts, ownership disputes, or building violations. This process may involve obtaining a certificate from the Land Registry, confirming that the property is correctly registered and free of encumbrances.
Sign the final contract and pay the remaining balance
Once due diligence is complete, your lawyer will draft the final contract, which will be signed by both parties in front of a Greek notary public. You will then pay the remaining balance of the purchase price, and the notary will register the transfer of ownership at the Land Registry.
Pay property taxes and fees
When you buy property in Greece, you will need to pay various taxes and fees, such as property transfer tax, notary fees, registration fees, and legal fees. Ensure you budget for these costs and make the necessary payments to complete the transaction.
If you would like help buying property in Greece, please contact us. We would be happy to put you in touch with a great agent there.