Once you have found a property and you are ready to proceed with a purchase, here are the basic steps you will need to follow :
1. The first step is to find a lawyer. CreteBay and its partnering real estate companies can assist you in supplying you with a list of independent English speaking lawyers. You will need to pay a Reservation Fee to your lawyer to enable the property to be taken off the market and proceed towards securing the property in the your name. It is normal to pay, within two weeks of paying the lawyer’s Reservation Fee, a 10% deposit on the purchase price of your property. It is then the responsibility of the lawyer to perform due diligence, carrying out “Registry of Mortgages” and “Land Register” searches and to take part in the drawing up of the contract with the notary public. To ensure that the purchase can proceed whether you are present or not, it is normal to draw up a “Power of Attorney” document with your lawyer, specific to your purchase of the property, so that your lawyer can sign all necessary papers. Your lawyer will ensure the protection of your interests in the transaction and guarantee that the right procedures are followed till the purchase is completed.
Two matters on which the lawyer can be of an assistance to the buyer are :
– The issuance of a Tax Registry Number (known as AFM which anyone purchasing a property in Greece must have) by the Greek Inland Revenue Service (Tax Office) and
– The opening of a bank account for the buyer, at a Greek bank.
Once the property has been thoroughly checked by the lawyer, as regards to the deeds that the seller will present, and once all taxes that refer to the specific property have been shown to be settled, as well as any other obligations that come with the property up to this time, then it is secure to proceed with the Purchase Contract. In most cases, it takes about six to eight weeks.
2. All Greek property Purchase Contracts must be overseen in the presence of a Notary Public. The Notary Public does not act on behalf of the interest of either of the two parties (seller or buyer). He or she is a public official who draws up the Purchase Contract with the assistance of any lawyer assigned by either of the two parties. It is important, prior to Purchase Contract signing, that you or your lawyer should raise any questions at this stage and that answers being given to any queries that may rise up from either side should be fully understood. On the day of the completion of the purchase of the property, when the bank transfers of the remaining 90% of the purchase price and all related costs will be paid, the Purchase Contract is read and signed by the two parties, in the presence of the Notary Public. One of the two parties can be your lawyer if you have a “Power of Attorney” agreement with him or her, as in that case it is not necessary for you as the buyer to be present.
3. The Public Notary is responsible for the verification and registration of the transaction in public records, so that the buyer acquires the official title of the property along with the relevant certificate from the “Registry of Mortgages”.
4. If the region, where the purchased property is, has a “Land Registry”, then the property should also be registered there under the buyer’s name. The lawyer will also assist in this matter.