Any EU citizen may buy property in Crete. For non-EU countries, it is possible but with a few additional requirements.
How long will it take before the purchase is finalised and I am the owner?
If all documents are correct it could be possible to have it finalised within 3 weeks, however, our experience is that it is more likely to take 6 weeks –3 months. Of course there are those cases where it takes even longer, but if you want to own your dream property/piece of paradise, persistence will get you there.
Do I need to return to Crete to sign the contract?
No, not unless you would like to be here for the great occasion. You can sign a Power of Attorney with a lawyer and you will be kept informed every step of the way. Alternatively, if you want a few days to think it over at home before making your final decision, it is possible to have a Power of Attorney drawn up in your home country.
Is there anything I should do while I am in Crete to make the transfer of property easier?
Open a bank account with the minimum amount and make sure you give the appointed lawyer signing power or have the availability to do this should you need to do so. If things do not work out you can always close the account or revoke the signing power.
How much extra should I allow to cover costs involved with the purchase?
Additional purchase costs include the Notary, lawyer, courts, deeds registry, taxes and commission. Under the current laws, cost of taxes relate directly to a particular property and can vary substantially. An exact amount for the particular property you are interested in can be calculated before you make your final decision and we would be happy to do this
What about property tax?
There is a title transfer tax when the property changes hands. Annual property tax is calculated according to the value of the particular property. Once you have chosen a property, the taxes for this can be calculated and you will have this knowledge before making your final decision. However, in comparison to other European countries it is much lower.
What is required when I am sending the funds for payment?
It would be prudent to have proof of transferring the currency to Crete and declare it as being for the purchase of property.
Are mortgages available in Crete?
EU law states that you can now raise money in your home country to allow you to purchase property in Greece
What is a realistic budget for a property?
Looking on the crete4me website will show the varied properties and price ranges to suit all budgets.
What if I find a property without the help of an agent?
Nothing stops you from proceeding directly with acquiring your dream property. If you have found a property in the area in which we operate we would, for a reasonable fee, be prepared to introduce you to our legal and architectural teams and any other services that you may need. My experience is that if you proceed without a good conveyancing lawyer or real estate agent you are not assured of protection of your investment.
Building and renovating
What is the difference between building inside/outside the village or city limits?
Building within the village limits means that you may build on a smaller plot, where the infrastructure is set up and you pay only connection fees to services such as electricity and telephone. The density which you may build on a village plot is much higher. Building in the countryside, means that you are required to have a minimum of 4000 sq metres, but there are a few exceptions. You are responsible for costs involved for services to be brought to your property. This can be expensive and problematic, so be sure to understand how these will be provided
What is involved in building a house?
You need to have a plan drawn by a locally registered architect/engineer who will do all the necessary work to make sure your plans and requirements comply with local building office laws, and will submit these to the planning office. Once the regional planning office has approved the plans a builder would need to be appointedIf you wish, we can introduce you to an architect/engineer and to builders who can assist you through the whole process to completion
May I do renovation or building work myself?
Yes, it is possible, however, major renovations or building which requires a building permit will need locally registered tradesmen to either do the work or sign off on any work carried out by yourself. There is an estimated number of days work to be covered by the National Insurance (IKA) and this will need to be paid, even if you did the work
May I ask friends and family to come to Crete to help me with building, plumbing and electrics?
Yes, but the above conditions still apply
How reliable and good are Greek builders?
We can recommend builders to suit both the luxury end and those who are maybe on a tighter budget. It is possible to get a builder to do only the basic structure, but should any work be continued by yourself the above rules regarding IKA apply.
Living in Greece
Do I need to learn Greek?
You will be able to get by with a few phrases, but if you are in a small village you will soon find yourself frustrated to the point of making an effort to learn more. There are always Greeks who are willing to help you when you attempt to speak Greek and I am often surprised at how many people do manage to learn Greek, despite the fact that it is not the easiest of languages to acquire. Many of the younger generation and certainly many professionals, speak English
May I bring my car?
Yes and No. If this is going to be your first home, then yes you are entitled to bring the car, tax free, into Greece and acquire Greek number plates. There is a fee for this registration and you do need to arrange all the paper work with the Greek Embassy in your country of origin before coming to Greece. It is not possible to initiate this procedure once you are here. If this is your second or holiday home, then you will only be able to bring the car for a 6 month period in each year. After the 6 months expires you are obliged to take the car out of Greece. The penalty for not complying is high and expensive. Cars imported into Greece must be gasoline-operated with a catalytic converter. There are several more rules which apply to the type of vehicle you are allowed to bring and it would be best to obtain the details from the Greek Consulate in your home country. You may buy a new or used car in Greece, register it in your name, and keep it here for your own use but you should research this as used car prices in Crete are higher than in many other countries. Alternatively, one can rent a car at quite competitive rates
May I work or open a business?
All European Union citizens have the right to live and work in Greece. You will need a residence permit which also serves as a work permit which is obtained at the nearest Police Headquarters. An accountant or lawyer will help you with the formalities involved in opening a business
Do I need to register for tax purposes?
If you want to buy property, work in Greece, or buy property or a car, you will need a tax number. It has become a fairly simple procedure, but is usually obtained by your lawyer or accountant
Do I need to pay tax?
Like any of the other EU countries, if you earn a living in the country, yes. If you have an income from outside of Greece, you will still need to do an annual tax return as a formality, but you will not need to pay tax
How will I pay for services such as electricity and telephone when I am not resident?
It is possible and a fairly simple procedure to sign a debit order against your bank account for such payments
Do I need to carry ID documents with me at all times?
Yes, it is law that you carry your identity documents and your drivers licence. If you would prefer to keep your documents in a safe place, certified photocopies are acceptable