Crete Homes | Crete Property | Real Estate http://www.crete-homes.com Because we care Wed, 28 Sep 2016 09:22:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Art Exhibition “Three Painters” | 17-30 Aug http://www.crete-homes.com/articles/art-exhibition-three-painters-17-30-aug/ Tue, 02 Aug 2016 11:12:01 +0000 http://www.crete-homes.com/?p=19967

July-2016-poster-webIt is summer in Crete and there are many wonderful events happening all over this beautiful country.

Here in our own Aghios Nikolaos, “the heartbeat of Crete” from 17 August to 30 August, 2016, there will be an exhibition at the Municipal Art Gallery, entitled, “Three Painters”. The three are from Norway, Italy and Denmark.

We are very pleased to note that the Danish artist is one of our many talented clients. Joergen Faerk is a Danish painter and sculpture living in Kritsa. His wife Christine says, “Kritsa was the place we wanted as it is a good size with friendly people. Together with Crete Homes we found a small house with magnificent views. The following year we bought another small house, to be used as a studio and guest house for our family. As we realized we wanted to spend more time there, especially after retiring, we sold the original house and bought the larger house next door, which needed complete renovation. We really enjoy the way of life in Kritsa and in Crete generally”.

Also contributing to the exhibition is another of our clients, the Norwegian writer and journalist Odd Birger Groenli, who also bought in Kritsa. Continual visitors to the island of Amorgos, he and his wife chose Crete to buy because it was easy to reach, warmer than the Cycladic islands and an excellent island on which to have different kinds of adventures.

Odd relates, “We got a lot of professional help from Hilary Dawson at Crete Homes, who also lives in Kritsa and so had several stories to entertain us and could share her vast knowledge of the area, with us. Our main purpose was to find something real in a place with a nice atmosphere, nice tavernas, nice people and a great view; a village not too big and not too small. Kritsa. A place to rest, write and feel good. Or as John Lennon used to say: ‘Peace and love’”.

Odd will be reading poetry while John Paal plays saxophone. He is one of Europe’s leading saxophonists. Odd continues, “Together with some friends in Sitia Kritsa and Norway we are planning an art exhibition with three painters and including poetry and music, in Aghios Nikolaos from the 17 – 30 August. The texts will be in English and some of them are about Aghios Nikolaos, Kritsa, locals and tourists”.

Participating in the Exhibition are Emma Paganini, a painter from Genova, now living in Sitia; Frode Aarvik, a Norwegian painter; John Pal Inderberg the award winning saxophonist.and professor in music improvisation.

The opening will be at 20.00 on 17 August and entrance is free throughout the Exhibition, which will be open from 17.30 to 22.30 every day. Since the planning of the Exhibition there are two new guest exhibitors, Maria Kontogiorgaki a jewelry designer from Sitia and Marin Iordanof, a painter from Bulgaria. The two Jazz Poetry concerts are on Saturday the 20th August and Tuesday 23rd of August, at 20.00 hours.

Everyone is welcome.

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Where there is room in the heart, there is room in the house. http://www.crete-homes.com/articles/where-there-is-room-in-the-heart-there-is-room-in-the-house/ Fri, 25 Mar 2016 22:56:25 +0000 http://www.crete-homes.com/?p=18718

I first came to Crete in 1998 and I t was one of the few places that I felt I wanted to return to. It was on my second visit, 10 years later, that the idea of acquiring a vacation home in Crete was born.

Once I began seriously looking, the name of a village in eastern Crete kept coming up: Kritsa. Living in Norway, I contacted Sol-Eiendom who work exclusively with Crete Homes in North East Crete. I had seen information for a very sweet house. It was the bright colors, the fact that it was a restored traditional house and that it was being sold furnished that appealed to me. And the price was right.

And so one day, after contacting Crete Homes and arranging an appointment, we drove to Kritsa to view houses. From my online research I wasn’t convinced that I would like Kritsa, however, as the village came into sight, clusters of white buildings in the shape of a scorpion, nestled against the cliffs, it was love at first sight.

Kritsa is a large village, inhabited mostly by Cretans but with a few ex-pats living there or having holiday homes. So the village combines the best of both worlds – authentic Crete as well as an international community of long-term visitors or inhabitants. Seasonal day time tour busses visit briefly after stopping at the nearby historic sites. In walking distance there is a Byzantine church with well preserved frescoes, a spectacular gorge, and a Dorian archaeological site. The village has shops and services and the seaside town of Aghios Nikolaos is only 10ks away and there is a bus service.

I was actually after a 2 bedroom house and Hilary, the lovely British lady from Crete Homes that I had been liaising with, met us and showed us around. She had prepared a prospect in advance detailing houses we were going to view. We looked at several and there were a couple that I really liked. Just for fun, we asked to see the house that had originally sparked my interest, even though it only had one bedroom.

I loved it! It may not have had the greatest view, or been the most spacious, but it had the best workmanship – and no wonder, it had been restored by the owner of Crete Homes for his own use – and it was ready to move into. I felt it was the house where I would get the most for my money. And there was something inherently cozy about it. So I thought: “What the heck, where there is room in the heart, there is room in the house!”

Now here comes the exciting part. When I wrote to Hilary saying that I’d decided on the small house, and mentioned that we’d figure out accommodation for guests as the need arose, she wrote back saying that the stable, which was tucked between my house and the neighbor’s had just come on the market. I didn’t hesitate for a second. “I’ll take it”, I wrote back.
One of the things that had most impressed me about my house was the quality of the workmanship, as well as the peculiar marriage of traditional and artistic details with modern comfort. So there was no question in my mind that Manolis Peponis, the architect owner of Crete Homes, who had studied restoration architecture in Venice (could there be a more appropriate place for that specialty?) should be the one to undertake the transformation of the stable into an annex to the house.

He kept me informed every step of the way. Originally he had showed me plans of a traditional enclosed sleeping alcove. However, when we looked at the stable together and I saw the hay loft, I thought: “why not keep the idea of the loft, making that a sleeping area, with a sitting place beneath it?”. And that is what we did. Where the fireplace had been there are now steps going up to the mezzanine, what I call the hay loft, where mattresses can be laid down to sleep 2 or 3 people. Manolis, ever practical, and with a fantastic eye for the use of space made the seating benches hollow, for storage, and the longer one exactly the size of a single bed! Under the stair is a Harry Potter style cupboard, with beautifully stained doors. For the floors, Manolis was able to acquire traditional tiles that people were tearing out of their houses. So it came about that I got the house I most wanted and it ended up having two, even 3, bedrooms, if you count the mezzanine.

Working with Crete Homes has been and continues to be the best experience. Fanis, the realtor in the partnership, speaks excellent English and takes care of everything. In fact, when dealing with Crete homes, you can be certain that all the regulations have been followed in every way, so that there are no unpleasant bureaucratic surprises. In Norway, once you have purchased your property and paid the fees, you never see the estate agent again. With Crete Homes, the relationship is ongoing. They will arrange for your bills to get paid, for repairs and upkeep, and promptly and eagerly address any problem. It is such a pleasure to work with them, and today I am pleased to count Hilary, Manolis, and Fanis among my friends.

Gudrun Lillekroken, Norway

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UNCAPTURED CRETE – By Diana Conyers http://www.crete-homes.com/articles/uncaptured-crete-by-diana-conyers/ Thu, 19 Nov 2015 11:51:50 +0000 http://www.crete-homes.com/?p=17233

Crete Homes is pleased to continue the theme of clients for whom Crete has been an inspiration.

We initially met Diana Conyers when she came into the office to discuss the sale of her apartment at the edge of town.

Diana had spent most of her working life involved in the field of international development, working and living in many countries. She had written several academic books and articles. 

She first visited Crete in 2006 with her late husband. They were so fascinated by the island that in 2010 they bought an apartment in Aghios Nikolaos with the intention of moving here. Unfortunately, Diana’s husband became seriously ill before they could move. It was then that Diana considered selling the apartment. However, before she could sell it, her husband died and she decided to move here on her own.

As well as enjoying the healthy outdoor lifestyle that Crete offers such as jogging to the beach every day for her morning swim, walking, taking Greek lessons and participating in various social activities, she began to write about her experiences and observations and research into the history, language and politics of the country.  She felt that because of its resources and strategic locations, the island’s history has been one of successive invasions, but the Cretans were always resistant to subjugation – in fact, they are an “uncaptured people”.   And Diana felt they were still being invaded – now by the forces of globalization, manifested by an influx of people and capital, through tourism and other trade and investment.   How are Crete and its people responding to this?

In UNCAPTURED CRETE, Diana argues and demonstrates, discusses and explains her thoughts and findings.  While these are backed up by extensive research, she also draws on her own observations and experiences.   As she says in the introduction to her book, “I hope that this will not only make the book more interesting, but also give readers some idea of what life is actually like for an outsider in Crete and, perhaps most important of all, convey something of the spirit of Crete that makes it such a fascinating place to visit”.

The book is published by Mystis Editions and available via their website | www.mystis.gr
In the UK via Gazelle Publishing Services | www.gazellebookservices.co.uk
Further information can also be obtained via Crete Homes | www.crete-homes.com

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Living in a house in Crete | Yvonne Payne http://www.crete-homes.com/articles/living-in-a-house-in-crete-yvonne-payne/ Mon, 18 May 2015 13:16:20 +0000 http://www.crete-homes.com/?p=14595

Crete Homes are proud that many of our clients have found inspiration in Crete, whether through its architecture, the varied countryside, the warm and hospitable people or the colourful history. We have clients who are artists and artisans, birdwatchers and botanists, photographers and writers and now we are happy to support Yvonne Payne in her efforts to bring an important local legend to a wider audience.

Yvonne says, “My Cretan odyssey began in 2001 with the purchase of a small house via Crete Homes, in the back streets of Kritsa village. Keen to learn more about our new “home” we toured the village with Hilary Dawson, who also lives in Kritsa and still works at Crete Homes. She shared an insight into local customs and stories, including that of a female rebel named Rodanthe. It fired up my imagination right away!

The people of Kritsa are so proud of their special rebel that they named the main street through the village, Kritsotopoula Street, and it leads right to Rodanthe’s front door where descendants of her family are working to open it as a museum.

I’ve always found the Crete Homes team professional, helpful, and knowledgeable. Since first buying our home in Kritsa, Crete Homes helped us every step of the way. Fortunately, they remain available to answer our questions, help with renovation work, and give us advice and information.

I took so much inspiration from the Cretan surroundings, my neighbours, and the many experiences my husband and I have enjoyed in Crete. My book, “Kritsotopoula, Girl of Kritsa” is available worldwide via Amazon, from Eklektos Bookshop in Elounda and Nikitakis gift shop in the Square in Kritsotopoula Street. If you’ll be in Crete on Thursday 28th May 2015, you are welcome to join the Kritsa book launch celebrations from 5.30 p.m. outside of Nikitakis gift shop and Aristidis Cafe.

The name day for Rodanthe, the heroine of the story, is 9th June. To celebrate I will be signing books at Eklektos Bookshop in Elounda where you’re welcome to join us for a coffee and a slice of cake from 10.30 a.m.

The team from Crete Homes will be present at both these events if you would like any information about buying a property, or renovating an existing one, in this wonderful country, Crete.

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Renovating an old house in Crete – What you need to know http://www.crete-homes.com/articles/renovating-an-old-house-in-crete-what-you-need-to-know/ Sun, 05 Apr 2015 10:43:42 +0000 http://www.crete-homes.com/?p=14025

10 useful things you should know about old house renovation in Crete:

1
It is a wonderful idea to renovate a house in Crete.  The house can take on your own style and personality and can meet your personal needs and requirements.

2
All renovations need a Building Permit.  If you want to re-sell the renovated house, it will need to have a Certificate of Legality (Law 4178).  This means the house must correspond 100% to the Building Permit.   If not, fines and taxes must be paid.

3
In Greece there is an authority called I.K.A.  This is the authority for national insurance.  On all properties being renovated, an I.K.A. file must be opened at the local I.K.A. authority office.   Works carried out on the house will have corresponding I.K.A. payments to be made, even if renovations are made by the owner.

4
Although not always required by Law, it is common sense to renovate a property according to its surroundings and environment.  In some traditional villages, facades and roofs must reflect the original style and build of the house.

5
Fortunately, electrical installations must now comply with strict controls with work carried out by a certified electrician.  This may seem expensive at first, but means you have a guarantee for your safely and security.

6
Many village houses can now be connected with a central sewer system.  If not, and there is not an existing septic tank, then one must be created in a suitable place by the house.

7
Water is usually connected to a property, however old it is.  If not, then again, suitable plumbing will need to be planned.  Most villages in Crete have water supplies from main systems.   An old house will anyway need a modern bathroom and sanitary facilities, which means that new plumbing will be vital.

8
Neighbours are usually most receptive to having an old house next door to them once again become a home filled with life.   But they are not so pleased if they think that their own boundaries are being abused.   When buying a property, all boundaries should be detailed on a Topographic Survey, which forms part of your purchase contract.  Under Law 4178 (see point 2) the vendor’s new Topographic Survey will prove boundaries in case of any neighbouring discontent.

9
Remember that it is very hot in the summer and can be cold in the winter.  While large windows can facilitate wonderful views, if they face the sun for most of the day, the house is going to get hot and uncomfortable.  Good quality double glazing or pretty shutters can alleviate this.  The idea of thick walled stone houses with small windows was to keep the summer heat out; and the heat in during the winter.  Flat concrete roofs should be insulated against the summer sun; and to protect against internal condensation in the winter.   Decisions early on should be taken whether to have cabling ready for air conditioning or central heating.  Perhaps your ideal is a traditional style fireplace or wood burning stove.   Many older properties have a fireplace with chimney and so these can be a bonus if already existing.

10
Here is where the Architect (or in some cases a Civil Engineer) is essential.   He/she can prepare all the documents for the Building Permit and make the applications for you.  They can prepare and submit all the documentation to the I.K.A. authorities.   They can design and project manage the renovation, ensuring that all the above points are taken into consideration and that all works are carried out according to the respective laws.

In particular, as many villages in Crete are traditional (Listed) only an Architect has the authority to stamp various documents and make certain submissions because aesthetics, environment and local laws must be taken into consideration.

For further information, contact the Crete Homes architectural team, via: office@crete-homes.com.

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Crete – An opportunity for real estate | Greece’s comeback http://www.crete-homes.com/articles/crete-an-opportunity-for-real-estate-greeces-comeback/ Thu, 22 May 2014 08:09:18 +0000 http://www.crete-homes.com/?p=5814

Welcome back to Greece… and CRETE.

After so much negative publicity and financial gloom, Greece – and the island of Crete in particular – is racing up the popularity ratings again and waiting to welcome you, whether you are just coming for a holiday or thinking about buying real estate in Crete, whether it is a property or plot of land upon which to construct your holiday or permanent home.

Tourism in general is set for a large increase in numbers, especially with new visitors from Russia, Israel and China.   Some tour companies speak of record numbers of visitors to Greece.  In Europe, Greece is the 4th most popular holiday destination.   With a well-known budget airline now running year round flights from the UK and other European cities to Crete, as well as the seasonal charter flights, it has never been easier to travel to this wonderful country of Crete.

The increase in tourism usually leads to an increase in prospective buyers of real estate in Crete, as they fall in love with the country and realize its many positive points. 

Crete represents an ideal country in which to purchase a property or to build.  Crete continues to receive funds to improve roads and infrastructure.   There are airports, ferry and cruise liner ports, marinas, hospitals, private clinics, bus connections throughout Crete, good telecommunication and Internet systems – in fact all the modern and everyday requirements can be met.

Known as the cradle of European Civilization, Crete is the most southern and largest of Greece’s islands with 1000 kms of coastline.  It has something for everyone:  historical and archaeological sites; fortresses and ruins; mountains and gorges;  plateaux and ravines; walking, hiking, mountaineering and cycling routes; scuba diving, sailing, swimming and other water based sports and activities; romantic and quiet tavernas, international restaurants, lively clubs and bars;   secluded bays and quiet beaches or busy organized beaches with facilities.  Hotels range from the super luxurious and spa resorts and the all-inclusive to smaller family run hotels, villas, village retreats and budget hotels and pension rooms. 

The Cretans are famed for their hospitable and welcoming nature.  The crime rate is very low and people of all ages, race and religion can feel safe and comfortable.

Without heavy industry the sea and air are pollution free.   Crete is also perfect for those interested in flaura, fauna, botany, painting, bird watching or those just wanting to relax and while away the days.

As the economy is improving, inflation and the cost of living in Crete are low.

Although Crete has always been a popular Greek island for those wanting a holiday or retirement home, Greece dropped out of the ratings during the crisis, when negative publicity was at its height.  It is now back in the Top 10.   In a recent PriceWaterhouse Coopers’ report it is noted that Athens has jumped from 27th to 13th in the rankings for new developments in European cities and this could lead to an improvement in Greek real estate generally throughout the country and Crete in particular.

Sadly, because of the global crisis, many Greek and non-Greek owners in Crete had to sell their Crete property quickly and at reduced prices, which lead to a large supply of properties available.   Prices here in Crete dropped for all types of properties, in some cases up to 40%, which was good news for those seeking a bargain.    Real estate prices today are at their lowest and so it is an ideal time to buy as with the upturn in the Greek economy, it is logical that prices for real estate will again rise, particularly in Crete, which is one of the most popular islands in Greece.   National and international investors are back already searching for real estate opportunities.  This is encouraging news.

Additionally, real estate purchase tax has dropped from 10% to 3% making buying real estate in Crete even cheaper.

Another important point is that the property in Crete and Greece is also open now for non-EU passport holders to buy and for properties with a value of over 250,000 Euros, they and their family members can take residence permits for 5 years. 

So now the real estate market in Crete has opportunities for buyers from all countries and for all budgets.   Crete is waiting for you……….  where better to enjoy your holiday home in this beautiful country of Crete?

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GREECE MAGAZINE PROPERTY CLINIC – ISSUE 24 – September 2006 http://www.crete-homes.com/property-clinic/greece-magazine-property-clinic-issue-24-september-2006/ Sun, 22 Sep 2013 17:31:03 +0000 http://www.crete-homes.com/?p=4004

Question:  My wife and I are in the process of buying an apartment in Crete. I would like to buy a renovation property but am a bit concerned about the IKA permit.  There are a few questions I would like answering please:

1) What is it?
2) Why can it make a cheap home so costly?
3) Why do you have to have it?
4) How is it paid?
5) How much is it?
6) Does it go on the price of the house before it was renovated or after completion?Answer:  I.K.A. stands for the Institute of Social Insurance and basically it is responsible for the national insurance for all workers.  The I.K.A. Authority is powerful and by Greek law all legal employees must have their I.K.A. paid, whether they work in a shop, office etc. or have a trade such as a plasterer, tiler and so on.  By you doing the work of a plasterer for instance, you are doing the State out of that worker’s national insurance and so must pay a percentage of the amount they would have received, even if it is no financial benefit to you.

As the owner of a property you are responsible for I.K.A. payments to the I.K.A. office and if a check is made by the by the I.K.A. authority you are liable for a fine if you have no I.K.A. receipts.  Often, an on site check is made by an I.K.A. representative to see if the works carried out match the works you state you have done and if the workers are covered with their I.K.A. contributions/payments.  You will not be able to re-sell the property without the final I.K.A. certificate (or Building Permit if applicable).

If you are doing major renovation works yourself, you are obliged to infirm the local I.K.A. office before the beginning of each building work stage.  To do this, you will need to complete in Greek, a special pre-printed form which you present together with various documents, including receipt that prove corresponding contributions have been paid to obtain a Building Permit (if required) relating to the relative works, plus passport and ownership contract.  You have to present paperwork within a certain amount of time and there is also a time limit for payments after which fines are imposed.

Once various works are completed the I.K.A. authority has to be informed at the end of each stage, in writing, so that they can go to the building site, inspect and balance the payments, update the file etc..   Their final stamped certification is important.

Depending on the size of the building, self employment is taken into consideration, if the owner of the building or his blood relatives can prove that they have been insured in whatever the pertinent trade is, for at least 600 days or at least 100 days for a simple manual labourer, for the specific job they are intending to do, i.e. if you want to locate tiles, you must have already paid contributions in the past for tiles.

The amount for each job is worked out to a standard formula at the I.K.A. office.

Now you can understand why what initially looks like a cheap renovation job, can turn out more expensive.  This is without taking in account whether you must apply for a Building Permit, for instance if you are changing a roof, altering m2 size of the property, putting in windows or doors and so on.  It is not just making the payments, but the paperwork and visits to the I.K.A. office that can be time consuming and sometimes frustrating.

If in doubt, it is worth consulting and paying an architect or civil engineer for advice and to complete the I.K.A. paperwork for you.

If you re-sell your property then you can take into account the amount of I.K.A. that you paid, plus cost for a Building Permit if it was necessary and incorporate this into your sale price.   In any case, during a sale it must be proved that you have no debts towards I.K.A. otherwise you cannot re-sell.

Question:  We intend to retire to Crete, around the Chania area. We would like to rent for the first 12 months to give us time to look for the home we would like to buy. Is there anyone you know that does long-term rentals? We do not want a holiday apartment but would prefer something like a house, as we may decide to rent long-term and keep our money as security, in case we feel the need to return to England.

Answer:  Some of the Estate Agents do arrange rentals and a lot of holiday home owners are happy to rent out their houses, although of course some of these homes are built for summer use only and may not be suitable for winter.  The best thing is to come to Crete and visit some of the Agents and see what is available.  However, when you come over, you will probably need to put down a deposit and make a contract for a rental term.  Make sure you use a LICENSED Estate Agent, which is registered with the Chamber of Commerce.

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GREECE MAGAZINE PROPERTY CLINIC – ISSUE 23 – August 2006 http://www.crete-homes.com/property-clinic/greece-magazine-property-clinic-issue-23-august-2006/ Sun, 22 Sep 2013 17:26:55 +0000 http://www.crete-homes.com/?p=4001

Question:   My wife and I are regular readers of Greece Magazine, particularly the property pages, as we aim to retire to Greece in two to four years time. We are regular visitors to Greece and are keen to retire to Crete but would consider other places if there is a suitable school near by.

Our son is nine years old and his education has to be our prime importance so by the time we retire he will be the equivalent age of our secondary school students. Apart from the usual tourist phrases we do not speak Greek although it is our intention to start to improve this situation. We would therefore be pleased if you could advise us if there are any English speaking secondary schools in Greece but particularly in Crete, however we are not keen to live in Athens.

Answer:   Athens does have an international school and I there is one here in Crete in Heraklion, but only for children under 8 years old.   (Contact the European School for Education on 0030 2810 301780).   Otherwise, contact the British Embassy in Heraklion for the latest information.

With the wonders of the Internet there are self-tutoring classes of course.  Otherwise, the children must attend whatever is the nearest state school, where do bear in mind, they will probably be put into classes younger than their age group, be taught only in Greek and you and they will have to deal with several hours of homework every day.   There are no choices of schools, you go to the local one and that’s it.   If your son does go to school in Greece, to get any sort of job in Greece, your son will need a school leaving certificate.

I think if you want the best for your son academically, I would suggest that you think about buying a smaller holiday home, so that you can enjoy all the school holidays here.  Then when you are a bit surer about the lifestyle here, work opportunities etc. then think about a more permanent move.  Perhaps while you are still working, you can buy a piece of land and build over the years, so that it is ready for as soon as you can make the permanent break.  Meanwhile, you will still have your holiday home, which anyway is a good investment and you can re- sell it or perhaps rent it out.

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GREECE MAGAZINE PROPERTY CLINIC – ISSUE 22 – July 2006 http://www.crete-homes.com/property-clinic/greece-magazine-property-clinic-issue-22-july-2006/ Sun, 22 Sep 2013 17:18:27 +0000 http://www.crete-homes.com/?p=3998

Question:   A couple of years ago we bought some land and had a lovely house built just outside Stoupa in the Peloponnese. Although we have paid for IKA, building and swimming pool permission at the time of building we have not as yet seen any documents.

I have asked the Civil Engineer but all you get is “oh yes I will let you have them” and so it goes on. A neighbour told me it was probably all right as I have just had mains electricity put on and they would not do this if the documents were not right – I am still rather sceptical. The Civil Engineer is an hours drive away, is very busy, illusive and hard to tie down   – you get the picture!If I can’t get these original documents what course of action is open to me? Worse still what is the position if the house has been built without the various permissions and IKA? The engineer is quite a large concern, advertises in your magazine and been on Place in the Sun so he has a reputation to keep!!!

Another worry is, are these documents government standard or are they produced locally? I know of someone who got his documents from the same civil engineer and when he used them they were forgeries!  He had made them using rubber stamps etc in his office (you know how they like their stamps!)

When we bought the land it seemed to be carried out properly in front of a notary, translator, solicitor etc. and took an hour or so to complete. So as far as I can be I feel comfortable about the purchase of land, but then you begin to wonder!!!!

My second question is, when I bought the land I needed a tax number. I have since been told that I need to do tax returns every year. Is this correct?  I do not earn any money in Greece whatsoever, I only PAY!! My house is 137 square metres and I spend about 3 – 4 months a year there.  I have a 5 year residence permit that I needed in order to buy a small car that we leave in Greece. The car has been taxed every year from 1st January.

Sorry for this long letter but it could be useful to others who may be in the same position and do not realise it. I look forward to hearing from you. By the way we love your magazine and have been subscribers from very early on – only missed the first 3 copies!!!

Answer:  There is no reason why you should not have the original copies of your documents and so insist on them.   You must have the original papers for the Building Permit in order to confirm that the house is legally built and also for the swimming pool, which must also be shown on the Building Permit.   If the Building Permit is in your name the authority will hold you responsible for any illegalities and not the Architect.  In any case, you can ask directly, in person, at the IKA and Urban Authorities for these papers.   It is best to finalise this as soon as possible, as there may be interest mounting.

Regarding the IKA papers, you must have the file finalised at the IKA authority.   Yes, you get electricity connected, but the IKA file may still be open, without the final certificate being given.

The first year after you bought your land, you should have made a tax declaration, via an accountant.  He/she would need the receipts (often called “pink slips”) from the Greek bank which prove the money to buy the land came from outside of Greece and you are not liable for income tax.  If you are building a house, you also need to make a submit these with the tax declaration.  Additionally, last year, the government required every householder in Greece to make a tax declaration for 2004.   If you have not done any of these tax forms then the next time you come to Greece you must do these and you are probably liable for a fine for not doing them previously.   As a car is a point of tax, you will need to have declared this too the year after you bought it.   Hopefully, you have proof that the money was imported to buy the car, as you will be liable for income tax on that.  A new law has been passed anyway now, that every householder with a house larger than 150 m2 (as well as the previously existing  tax points of  car/boat/motorbike ownership) must made a tax declaration EVERY YEAR, regardless of whether you live here or not.  These tax declarations can be done through an accountant and I am sure by asking around when you come over, you will find a good English speaking accountant that will assist you.

Your estate agent should have informed you of the above when you bought the land and began building.

It is sad you are having these problems.   Do let us know when they are resolved.

Question:  We are building a house in the Peloponese near to the resort of Chrani with the help of a local Greek couple and some English friends already living there.

We originally wanted a small renovation but after being shown several by the local estate agent who kept saying because my husband is a builder we should buy land and build ourselves, that is what we did.

We will send photographs and a more detailed email eventually but one
question we must ask is about the IKA. The architect worked it out to be
35,000 Euros for our build which is an awful lot of money.  My husband is a bricklayer by trade and wants to undertake the brickwork himself but does that mean we still have to pay the IKA for the bricklayers we will not be using?

Answer:  On a new build, I.K.A. is worked out by the Architect and checked by the I.K.A. Authority when presenting the file to the authority in relation to your Building Permit, i.e. the size of the property and what works need to be done, internally and externally, landscaping, stone walls etc.. Everything is finally cross checked by I.K.A. with an on-site control, which can be made at any time during the works and when works are completed. You will receive a monthly receipt for the I.K.A. you, your Architect, or whoever has your power of attorney to do this, is paying on your behalf every month.  This receipt is only issued on payment.  The final I.K.A. certificate is necessary for the final connection to the electricity mains.  Also, in the future, if you need to sell your house, the final I.K.A. certificate must be produced.

Please also note, that in the end, it is only you as the owner of the land, who has the ultimate responsibility to ensure all I.K.A. is paid.

I.K.A. provides a large income for the Greek state and I am afraid that even if you do some of the work yourselves, you must still pay the I.K.A. that the State would lose if you were employing someone to this work for you.  So you must declare whatever works you do to the I.K.A. authority and pay the necessary contributions.   Really, I would suggest that you ask your architect for advice, as you risk very high fines if a representative from this very powerful authority carries out a check on the completed or works in progress and I.K.A. has not been paid.

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GREECE MAGAZINE PROPERTY CLINIC – ISSUE 21 – June 2006 http://www.crete-homes.com/property-clinic/greece-magazine-property-clinic-issue-21-june-2006/ Sun, 22 Sep 2013 17:16:28 +0000 http://www.crete-homes.com/?p=3994

Question:   We are hoping to buy a property on Crete next year to live in all year round but before we commit and whilst we choose our ideal location we would like a long term rental.

We would be grateful if you could supply any information regarding deposits, bonds, what it covers, are we better to rent direct from the UK or are we better to be on the island?  We ideally want a furnished property, two bedrooms with a reasonable kitchen and bathroom.We have looked at many of the websites in the Greece magazine, however, most are geared towards sales rather than rents.  Can you recommend any reputable agents in Crete that offer rentals and can you advise what information they are likely to want from us.  For example, in the UK agents want to see references, utility bills etc.

With regards to buying property, a few questions:

1. Do you have to be resident for so long before you can buy?
2. How difficult is it to get a mortgage in Crete?
3. If we were to buy outright, how does it work with the exchange rate?
4. What are the usual hidden extras (i.e. what can we expect to pay for solicitors etc?)

Any information would be greatly appreciated as we want to be armed with as much detail as possible before we jump in and make any mistakes!!

Answer:  I think you will find it easier to find a property to rent while you are here in Crete.  It is very much a matter of talking to as many people as possible and putting the word out that you are looking for a long term rental.  Many estate agents will know of properties available for rent.

Once you have found a property, find a local English speaking lawyer to arrange the contract of rental.

Usually you will be asked for a one-three month deposit, although some landlords want a year’s rental up front.  Of course, if you want to leave after three months, then you are going to have a battle to get the rest of the money back.   The landlord will not want any referrals, references etc.    Most landlords want a guaranteed period or rental, at least 6 months, but preferably one year.

Agree at the beginning, written into the rental contract by a lawyer if needs be, who is exactly responsible for what.   Most landlords expect the tenant to carry out their own general repairs, painting and decorating etc., plumbing etc.   If you want the landlord to be responsible for these, you must state it in writing.

You will also need a contract of rental if you want to have a telephone line in your name.   Also ensure that the electric is in your name and who is paying for the water, which will also be on a meter.

As regards to buying property, the answers to your questions are as follows:

1. You need not have to be a resident in Greece in order to buy a property; only hold an EU passport.

2. To get a mortgage in Greece, you need to fulfill the same criteria as you would with a UK lender, i.e. Proof of income/how you will repay the loan, previous years’ tax declarations, and a guarantor should you default on your repayments; and of course you will need to pay a lawyer to have all these documents translated.  Plus, the bank will only lend on a property they know they can get their money back on if they default, so it is not a generic loan.  You choose the property and then go to the bank.  Even then, you don’t know how much they will lend – it is often not as much as you ask for.    Not all banks give mortgages or loans to non-Greeks.

3. You can set up a sterling bank account when you open a bank account at a local bank.    Then when you transfer the money over it can be taken out when the rate is good.   Otherwise, you just send the money over in sterling and it is taken out in Euros here – it is just luck if you have a good exchange rate at the time.

4. There are no hidden extras.  On top of the sale price, expect to pay between 10 – 15% of the purchase price, to cover purchase tax, notary fees, lawyer fees, land registry and stamped copies.    The lawyer’s fees will include the cost for a legal search, arranging for the issue of tax numbers, representation for contract signing as your power of attorney (unless you are present and prepared to pay the taxes and do all the work related to the contract signing).   Also included is a cost which goes to the lawyer’s union (lawyer’s community rights).   Something we don’t have in the UK.

The most important thing is to find a good, LICENSED Estate Agent, who has an established office where you can meet the agent and staff and get a feel for how they work.   You need to feel confidence in the Agent and be able to trust them.  They are there to ensure the smooth running of the purchase and ensure your dream becomes a problem free reality.

Question:  We noted your address whilst browsing through the February edition of ‘Greece’. This magazine is a really good informative read and has strengthened our resolve to seriously consider permanent residency on a Greek Island. We are due to visit Crete in early May 2006 with a view to purchasing a plot on which to have a 3 bed stone faced house built, probably with a pool. We have already established contacts on the Island (Crete Escapes, Hellenic Homes & Foremost Villas) having met them all initially at last years Excel ‘Living in the sun’ exhibition. We are in the process of establishing as much background information as possible so that we are as well prepared as possible to make this all important transition in our life style. Are you able to confirm (or do you know anybody that can?) certain aspects of the likely monthly cost of living on Crete, in particular ‘typical’ monthly (or annual) charges for:-

(1) Local Tax (as the UK’s council tax)
(2) Gas
(3) Electricity
(4) Buildings Insurance
(5) Contents Insurance
(6) T V License
(7) Water Rates
(8) Telephone
(9) Any other charges?

Any information or contacts you can provide would be much appreciated.

Finally, from experience are we best advised to use ‘agents’ , as those established above or can you recommend a more direct approach to purchasing a property in Crete i.e.:- somebody who will co-ordinate everything required.

Answer: Local tax is nothing like the UK massive council bills.   There is a small charge for local tax which appears on your electricity bill and one for the two State TV channels, even if you don’t have a TV.   There is no TV licence.

There is small tax for houses over 150 m2 which is payable annually to the tax office.

Your electric bill is going to depend on the size of your house and the electric usage.  Go to:

www.ppc.gr and which is the Electric Company’s web site, click on the Union Jack for English language, then Customer Services, How Much and Price List.There is no natural gas system on the islands, though there is Athens and Thessalonica on the mainland.   You can buy gas bottles for your bbq or gas hob and some people do have huge gas tanks instead of CH oil, or for large scale gas supply (tavernas, hotels for instance).

Buildings and contents insurance are not required by law, but there are plenty of insurance companies around and you can get a few quotes once you buy your property.  Unless you have a huge house, cover is not expensive.

Water rates are very low, unless you have a big garden and are watering the land throughout the summer.   If you live in area which has water problems, then you are going to have buy tanks of water.   This is something to bear in mind when you buy a plot and in relation to supplying water for a swimming pool.

For telephone, go to the OTE (telephone company) website:

http://english.oteshop.gr/ where you can find a list of telephone charges.There are no other major charges.

As an Agent, of course, we are biased to advise you to use a licensed Agent, but honestly Iain, this is the safest and most direct way.

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