Buying a property in Greece is easy. Everyone can buy property in Greece despite the country where he or she is from.
The purchase process is the same for everyone. After finding the property you want to purchase, your Greek lawyer will assist you in the following basic steps:
1. Issue a Greek Tax Number (one-day process)
2. Open a Greek Bank Account
Then your Greek lawyer will draft the purchase contract along with the seller’s lawyer and will execute legal due diligence. Your lawyer will go to the local land registry where all the title deeds of the area are kept on file. Here is where your lawyer will confirm if the property truthfully belongs to the seller and is free of any obligations such as loans, repossessions, etc
Technical due diligence
While the legal due diligence is the buyer’s responsibility, the technical due diligence is at the seller’s expense. The seller must provide to your lawyer with copies of all updated topographic diagrams and architectural plans of the property. The law prohibits properties with illegal building works to be sold and it is the seller’s responsibility to make sure that his property’s illegal additions, if any, have been settled at the local tax office, prior to the final contract.
Last step, is a visit to the notary’s office and signing the purchase contract and pay to the seller the total purchase amount.
SANTORINI – Special exception for NON EU Citizens
Santorini is at the same status as the Greek borders. For this reason, there is one additional requirement only for non-European citizens.
The potential non European investor must first get a permit from the authorities, that he/she is allowed to purchase a property in Santorini.
This permission is given only for a specific property, it is not a general one. Your lawyer will submit the necessary documents to the authorities requesting permission (CV, permanent residence, occupation etc) along with the property documents.
This process takes from 1-3 months. Then the process continues as above.
As long as you have concluded on the property you want to buy the following steps follow :
Step 1: Purchase agreement
Drafting a pre-contract, otherwise known as a purchase agreement, is not mandatory in Greece but is recommended to protect the seller’s and buyer’s interests.
What is a purchase agreement? It’s a document that essentially removes the property from the listings, lets the seller know that the buyer is serious, and includes all the terms and conditions that must be respected throughout the purchase process. The buyer will need to hire a lawyer, at their own expense, to draft the purchase agreement. At this stage, anywhere between two to five percent of the negotiated purchase price must be paid to the seller as a deposit, upfront, which will then be deducted upon complete transaction.
We can provide you with an experienced lawyer among those with whom we have cooperated for many years successfully. All our clients are satisfied with their services.
Some clauses that must be incorporated in the purchase agreement are:
– the property’s title is free of any restrictions or liens otherwise the deposit will be returned to the buyer;
– the timeline and next steps until purchase completion;
– what happens to the deposit in case of non-compliance with the clauses in the purchase agreement or if the seller changes their mind.
Step 2: Issuing a Greek Tax Number
Every title holder of Greek property needs to have a VAT number. To obtain a VAT number, you must present yourself to the local tax office that covers the area to which your property belongs. Your lawyer will issue you a Greek Tax Number and open you a Greek Bank Account. Your physical presence is mandatory.
Step 3: Legal due diligence
This is the buyer’s responsibility. The lawyer that you hired will go to the local land registry where all the title deeds of the area are kept on file. Here is where your lawyer will confirm if the property truthfully belongs to the seller and is free of any obligations such as loans, repossessions, etc. An average fee to conduct legal due diligence for an apartment in Athens is roughly 400€ – 500€ and is at the buyer’s expense.
Step 4: Technical due diligence
While the legal due diligence is the buyer’s responsibility, the technical due diligence is at the seller’s expense. The seller must provide to the buyer’s lawyer copies of all updated topographic diagrams and architectural plans of the property. It is quite common for illegal building works on Greek properties to exist, such as prohibited extensions or added spaces that were never included in the initial architectural plans. Fortunately, the law prohibits properties with illegal building works to be sold and it is the seller’s responsibility to make sure that his property’s illegal additions, if any, have been settled at the local tax office.
Step 5: Property tax
The tax rate when purchasing a property in Greece is a flat 3% of the purchase price. Up until 2013, this was ten percent, hence a significant decrease since then was announced by the prime minister.Also, all property purchases from 2020-2023 will not have a VAT of 23%. So if the purchase price is 100,000€, the property tax to be paid on top of the purchase price will be €3,000, thus a final price of €103,000.
Step 6: Completion
Completion involves transferring legal ownership of the property, checking the legal and technical due diligence, confirming the money transfer, and signing the final purchase contract at the Notary’s office. The notary is a public servant who is double-checking the legitimacy of the process and of the property one more time before the signing of the Purchase Contract. The buyer pays the notary. A notary’s fee is around 1% depending on the purchase price of the property. For a €100,000 property, a notary’s fee is €1,000 (one percent of the purchase price).
Step 7: What happens after completion
After completion, the buyer will have to hire an accountant who will determine the yearly property ownership tax (known as ENFIA in Greek). The amount will depend on the size of the property, its location and the year its building permit was issued. For a modern holiday home of 200m2, a standard amount for the yearly property ownership tax is around 500€-800€ per year.
We can suggest accountants that we cooperate with.
Please note that those who are coming to buy a property in Greece from a non-European country, need to have scanned in color their passport ( all pages) and a criminal record from their local authorities stamped with the Hague – apostille.
(Apostille is a certificate, by which a Notary Public authenticates a document as genuine, thereby legalizing it for use in another member country of the Hague Conference.
Once a document has been Apostillised, thereby providing official authentication of the signatures and stamps appearing on it, it is automatically deemed legalized for use in another member country of The Hague Conference.)
Then upon arrival, they will have to give a Power of Attorney to a Greek lawyer and open a Greek bank account.
For non-European citizens who have purchased a property from 250.000 euros and above, they can get a European Residency known as Golden Visa. Since August of 2023, there 5 locations where the requested property investment in order to get the Gold Visa has been increased: Central & South Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, and Thessaloniki require 500.000 euros for property purchase.
If you do not want to visit Greece and buy a house from a distance please read here:
Transfer Tax: 3%
Land Registry: 0.5-0,7%