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)
(4) Buildings Insurance
(5) Contents Insurance
(6) T V License
(7) Water Rates
(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.