Question: I hope you can help. We have recently completed the purchase of a property on Kephalonia and have now received our “Deeds”. They are, of course, written in Greek and we would like to know if there is an address in the UK where we can send a photocopy to be translated.
Answer: Your lawyer handling the sale should be able to translate these documents for a fee. Otherwise, I suggest you contact the Greek Consulate in London.
Question: My partner and I have just been reading an article about French law on the inheritance and capital gains taxes. Would it be possible to include an explanation on this in a future monthly edition, as we are not married and both have properties?
My partner has made a Greek will, so that her property comes to me, (and I intend doing the same in May). We are told it is that simple and there is no capital gains tax when you sell or inherit.
As my partner has a property in the U.K. and we both have children from previous marriages. A detailed legal explanation would be welcome.
Answer: As you have made a will in Greece for your Greek owned properties, everything will be clear in Greek law as to who inherits them in the event of your death. You will still need a will in England for your UK based properties. There is a very small tax when you sell, but no capital gains tax in Greece when you sell or inherit.
Question: My wife and I have been looking to purchase new property in Crete for a number of years now, a 2 bed villa, with pool & sea view, but have always thought the prices very high, seemingly close to £200,000. However we haven’t given up hope yet as our dream is to retire to Crete and I wondered if you could give some advice please.
Is there a rough guide as to build prices for new build and renovation i.e. €500-€750 per m2?
Are there any grants available for renovation of old properties, and if so how can we find out about them?
We will probably rent it out until we retire so are there any features in a 2 bed property that would be really advantageous and are particular areas much better for rental, i.e. walking distance to tavernas/shops/village or 2 bathrooms etc.
Answer: Prices in Crete for ready properties with pool and good views come at a price.
If you are building your own dream home, then you must expect to pay upwards of 1000 Euros/m2 key in hand, according to your specifications, needs and requirements. The price for building is also related to the location of the plot, i.e. ease of transportation of materials, debris etc., as well as the inclination (for excavation works). As regards renovation, the price depends on the condition of the property, again what your needs are, location and so on. Some properties will require a building permit for renovation works and IKA (national workers’ insurance) must be paid on all major renovation projects. So this can make the renovation of a cheap tumbledown house, very costly in the end. There are no grants to renovate properties for private use.
There are ready properties available within purpose built developments and this type of house, often with own or shared pool, could be within your budget. However, they do not usually come with their own land, but you have shared use.
Generally, properties for rental are ideally situated close to a village/town and ideally two bedrooms. Most people hire cars now, but being a near bus route is a good idea. However, some people enjoy Crete for its culture, people and environment and do not want to be based at a coastal resort. So a village house perhaps 10 -15 kms away from the coast, can also be a good option.
Question: We have a lump sum which we want to top up with a mortgage to buy a property in Crete. I have been unable to track down many UK lenders who will lend against Greek property unless we increase our existing mortgage to release extra equity from our UK home, which we don’t want to do. We’d rather take out separate lending on the foreign property.
Can you give us any tips about responsible lenders who will help us, and what are the less obvious pitfalls we should try and avoid when taking out a mortgage for something like this?
Answer: There are Greek banks in Crete which will lend you money towards buying a property here. You will need to fulfill the same criteria as you would in the UK such as proof of income, previous years’ tax returns, who would take on the loan in the event of your demise or inability to pay and so on. Additionally, you will have to pay for papers to be translated from English to Greek and for your own use, from Greek to English. The bank will not lend on a general enquiry. It has to be on a specific property and the bank has to be sure that they can easily sell the property, should you be unable to repay the loan and the bank takes the property. They may also assess the property at a lower rate than the sale price and the loan will be reduced accordingly.
Property prices are rising at an extraordinary rate and it is indeed very surprising that the UK lenders have not caught on to this and yet are so willing to lend for Spanish and French properties.
Question: My partner and I have been going to Halkidiki in Greece for seven years now. We have decided to try and buy a house and settle there. Last year while we were in the mountains we found a derelict half-built house which had not been lived in for some time. We are enquiring how we find out who owns this property as the electric is not connected and there is also no sign of a meter number. The nearest neighbour is approximately 1.5km away. We have made enquiries with the locals but without any success.
We have really set our hearts on this property and are eager to know if the house is for sale or if we are wasting our time. We are on a tight budget and the property does need work so we are doing as much of the leg work as we can.
Answer: You really need to employ a local estate agent that can assist you. If the house is derelict, you will have to apply for a building permit to do the major works and IKA (workers national insurance) will have to be paid, even if you are doing a lot of the works yourselves. Quite often it works out that renovating this type of property cannot be done on a tight budget. Perhaps think more about buying a property in a better condition, whose owners are known and which can be renovated without too much expense and stress.