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Buying Property

Buying a property in Cyprus

 

Buying a house in Cyprus has never really been a big deal till we got into the EU.  In fact, in the old days, a lot of people did not even bother to go to a solicitor; they did it all themselves, just going to exchange at the land registry office.  Personally, I've never been comfortable purchasing property anywhere unless I had a very good solicitor; you never know what problems might arise otherwise. 

 

I remember hearing stories of people who had been shown one piece of land then when they went to exchange, ending up with property not where they thought they were buying it but at the back of beyond, somewhere where land values were much lower.  Not with the promised sea views say but somewhere far from it in the middle of nowhere.  The worst of it was the fact that they did not have access to their property; there was no road to it so they would find that they had to purchase a right of way which was not always possible.  We have a piece of land in the village where we have been trying to get a right of way for the past 5 years without success. It is going to take a long time to get it but it does not matter to us because it is family property which has been there for years and we are not purchasing it to build a house on it.

 

In Cyprus most people made sure that they had some sort of property to pass on to their children.  Cypriots have always striven to provide some sort of legacy for their descendants and it is a big thing to keep hold of property, it has always been frowned on to sell anything unless you had to.  When a daughter got married, 9 times out of ten she had to provide a dowry of at least her own house.  Nowadays, things have changed; it's like all the rest of Europe, where both parties work towards providing the family home.  Whereas in times gone by the wife stayed at home to raise the children, both parties now go out to work in order to be able to provide a home and a good standard of living.

 

Since joining the EU, more and more Europeans are finding Cyprus a good place to buy; after all we have a lot going for us!  Sun, Sea, good schools with private education being much cheaper than anywhere else in Europe, family life and family values (it's a great place to raise a family), security and location. Not only have private individuals decided to move or buy a holiday property here but large companies have decided to expand into the Country, joining the many resident off shore companies already here.  Property values in Cyprus have sky rocketed and it is becoming more and more difficult for the locals to get onto the property ladder.  The house prices have left most people breathless.  People starting out in married life struggle to get onto the property ladder but they still manage it somehow.

 

Being involved in providing holiday accommodation in Kalavasos has meant that I see more and more people coming over to purchase property in Cyprus.  Since our house is centrally located for the island, it's a great base for people to stay when decided where they want to purchase property.

 

There are a few points that I always stress to visitors looking to buy property on the island.  I do not claim to be an expert on property purchase but this is just a bit of common sense.

 

1)    Unless you have somewhere in particular you have decided on; take your time looking all over the island before you decide where you want to settle.

 

2)    Go to a reputable estate agent or someone you can trust.  There are quite a few people out there who are not registered to sell real estate but do so anyway.

 

3)    Real estate commissions are very high and you can sometimes find a property on your own without a middle man, saving yourself thousands of pounds, this is fine but make sure you use a solicitor and always get a valuation done.  The best way to make sure you are getting a good valuation is to go to a reputable Surveyor and Valuator.  If you are not sure who to use ask at the land registry office, your solicitor, a bank or the local chamber of commerce. If going to the bank do not just ask anyone sitting behind the desk; ask for the manager. It's a good idea to explain to the bank manager what you want to do and ask him to help you; you will find he is more than happy to help you as he will be handling your affairs when you decide to bring your money over.

 

4)    One thing all visitors must be aware of is that the island is divided and the northern part is occupied by Turkish Cypriots.  Since the invasion in 1974 and the expulsions of thousands of Greek Cypriots from their homes; their property was taken over by the Turkish Cypriots and the land has been exploited and is being sold to foreigners.  If you are buying in Northern Cyprus make sure the property does not belong to a Greek Cypriot as it will not legally belong to you. When a solution to the Cyprus problem comes about, you may find that the property you purchased is not legally yours any more and may be taken away from you.

 

5)    Make sure the property you are purchasing has a title deed, as some houses are sold before the title deeds are ready.  Your solicitor is the best person to sort this out for you.

 

6)    The most important point to remember is never, ever buy property without consulting your solicitor.  Make sure he handles the purchase for you.  I recently purchased a newly built house and was advised to hold back some money in case of problems with title deeds etc.  I was so glad I did as it was an incentive to get the developer to give final title.  The house was on a piece of land with 5 properties, I got the house deed but the land deed comes after all the houses are built sold and the land registry comes and inspects it.  If I had given the developer all the money, he may not have bothered to chase up the land registry to give final deeds as it will cost him money to do so.  By holding back a certain amount, gives him an incentive to get on with it.

 

 

Well I think I've covered quite a lot of the subject but I am sure that there is still a lot I do not know about so I will again reiterate that you should always consult a solicitor before going into any contract.

About the author

Christalla Vassiliou owns and runs 4 self catering apartments in her restored traditional and historical farmhouse in southern Cyprus in the village of Kalavassos. Christalla has recently renovated  two apartments close to the beach in Limassol and can now offer a combination holiday at both the beach and in a traditional village. Christalla is passionate about all things Cyprus and provides a flexible and unique holiday package for guests.

Christalla Vassiliou

http://www.kontoyiannis.com

 

The above article may be reprinted as long as you include the Author details.

 


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