Our law firm offers expert legal guidance for property transactions in Greece.
We make sure our clients are aware of, and can react to, the complex issues which real estate transactions often raise.
We supervise the whole process ensuring flawless transactions since we provide – during the past 15 years – support on key issues regarding the property investment, such as:
- Negotiation with the seller’s attorney to finalize the terms of the transaction
- Draft a PoA for all actions related to the property acquisition
- Pre contract property’s deeds check at the local Mortgage office
- Appoint Notaries & engineers
- Issuance of Greek Tax identification Number (AΦΜ) in cooperation with our accountants
- Opening of Greek bank accounts
- Drafting and checking of private purchase agreements.
- Notarial pre-purchase agreements
Legal support until the final contract
- Review notarial drafts and sellers’ certificates
- Attendance of the execution of the purchase deed
- Provide oral translation in English on the date of signatures
- skype / zoom / teams meeting (if necessary)
Buying and selling a property in Greece
The procedure of buying real estate property in Greece requires two legal professionals that are involved: A lawyer, to search for the property and a notary public to draw the contract and register it officially to the local Mortgage Office. Buying and selling Greek real estate property is implemented only by executing a Notarial Deed before a Greek Notary Public and is accomplished through the registration of the Notarial Deed before the competent Greek Land Registry (Ypothikofilakeion or Ktimatologio) of the property’s location.
Greek Land Registry office (Ypothikofilakeion or Ktimatologio)
The ownership of property in Greece is secured, by the mentioned state authority. Titles to property are kept there, where all encumbrances on properties are registered. Property is filed under the names of the owners and lawyers are entitled to check property belonging to any individual or company. A title search is performed to find out if there are any claims, liens, and encumbrances on the property. A title search will also show you if the property was properly transferred. Non recordation has as a result the non-transfer of the property’s ownership. More specifically, there are two different recordation systems in Greece, the above-mentioned system of Land Registry Office (“Ypothikofylakeio”) and the system of Hellenic National Land Registry (cadastre, “ktimatologio”). The first system is based on registrations on individuals, while the second system, is based on listings on real estate, which facilitates the direct control of the legal status of a property and creates a greater certainty and transparency at the trading transactions. Although in Greece, currently both of systems operate in parallel, the purpose of the State is to abolish the first system and replace it by the cadastre. The cadastral survey has been completed for only certain areas of the territory, while the rest is in progress. As for most areas, however, until the completion of the long-term project of the introduction of the system of the land register, and the supersession of the system of transcriptions, the latter remains in force. So, a visit to the local Registry Office where the property is placed is necessary to confirm the holder of the legal titles and if there are any claims, liens, and encumbrances (mortgages) on the property. To proceed with the title search, the buyer obtains a copy of the property’s title from the seller.
As mentioned above, the purchase is concluded only by signing a notary deed, which is a public document drawn up, signed, and ascertained by a Notary Public. The notary public is an important person in the whole process who goes through the paperwork. The public notary does not represent the interests of the Buyer. (S)he is a public official in the presence of whom the contract is read, understood by both parties, and signed. The notary drafts the contract and is responsible for the verification and registration of the transaction in the public records, so that the buyer acquires the official title of the property. In other words, the Notary Public functions as a public servant; Usually, it is the purchaser’s right to choose and appoint the notary public, since he bears the notary fees.
A lawyer is responsible for the protection of your interests in the transaction and assist/represent you in the process (legal due diligence). The lawyer will be also responsible for the Land’s Title search. The search must be carried out to secure that the property truthfully belongs to the seller and is free of any obligations such as loans, repossessions etc. The lawyer ensures in cooperation with the public notary that the property’s title it has been drawn up correctly and we will also oversee the finalization of the purchase.
We strongly advice to also appoint a civil engineer to make sure the land that comes with the property really does come with the property, zoning laws which tell you what you are allowed to do with the property and a number of other things. An engineer will visit the property and inspect all exterior, interior, structure, electrical, plumbing, heating, and ventilation systems. Then will inspect the overall state of the home, raise your attention to any safety issues or necessary repairs and they will estimate the cost of any renovations, if needed. The seller must provide the buyer with copies of all updated topographic diagrams and architectural plans of the property. It is quite common for illegal building works to Greek properties to exist, such as prohibited extensions or added spaces that were never included in the initial architectural plans. Fortunately, the law prohibits properties with illegal building works to be sold and it is the seller’s responsibility to make sure that his property’s illegal additions, if any, have been settled at the local tax office. As mentioned, the technical due diligence is the seller’s responsibility, but nonetheless it is advisable that the buyer hires an independent civil engineer to double check that all diagrams and plans are in order and that any illegal works have been successfully dealt with.
Tax identification Number (AΦΜ)
To proceed with the purchase firstly you must issue a Greek Tax number (ΑΦΜ) and get codes from the local tax office. Every foreigner and Greek must have one for any kind of transaction. Before anyone – a citizen of Greece, the EU or another foreign national – can purchase real estate in Greece, he must first obtain a VAT identification number, known as ΑΦΜ in Greece. This number is easy to get and can be obtained at any tax office in the country. Therefore, you just need to show your passport and fill in an application. The ΑΦΜ is then given automatically. Due to the necessity of ΑΦΜ, our accountant visits the local tax office and submit the relevant requests through a power of attorney (that usually is provided and legalized before the client’s embassy or consulate office). To get the tax number it is necessary also to appoint a Greek person as your tax representative in Greece (According to POL. 1283/2013 each taxpayer, that complies with the tax procedure code, does not have a mailing address in Greece, from 1/1/2014, is obliged to appoint a tax representative with tax residence in Greece, the mailing address of which, the Tax Administration can send all correspondence relating to the taxpayer. The tax representative has no responsibility for the performance or non-tax obligations of the taxpayer).
Greek Bank Account
Also, a bank account in Greece for the payment of the transfer tax and the future property’s tax obligations is also necessary. The bank requests the following documents (given that these documents are executed in a foreign language, the bank require that they be also translated into Greek):
- Proof of address (a recent utility bill e.g. power bill)
- Local AFM tax number
- Tax clearance certificate from the client’s country of residence or
- Evidence of salary (either pays lips or a letter from employer)
- Contact number (telephone bill)
Certificates / Documents
The seller will also need to submit a Tax certificate proving he has a clean record with the Hellenic Fiscus (tax office) and some other documents (e.g. buyer’s tax and Insurance information and a certificate of non-debt from the competent department, only in the case that the seller maintains a commercial business or is a legal entity of any form or participates in a company of any form in any capacity, declarations, Engineer’s certificate for the declaration in Law 4495/2017 of Non arbitrariness or settlement in case there are arbitrariness, special permit from the local council if needed, certificates that the fee of immovable property to the local municipality has been paid, submittance of the tax transfer declarations at the local tax office, ENFIA certificates that the property tax has been paid, Energy Performance Certificate etc.).
Property purchase in Greece is subject to taxation. The tax regime regarding property ownership in Greece is complex, we can give you just general information at this point. The tax is calculated on the contract value and is obligatory to be paid, by the purchaser, prior to the signature of the notary deed. The notary requires proof of payment (the receipt) to authorize the sale. Transfer tax paid by the buyer is levied appr. 3,09 % calculated on the value of the property mentioned in the notarial deed. Instead of tax transfer, there is VAT 24% on the commercial value of the property and concerns newly built properties offered for sale by Construction Companies.
Land Registry office
When the procedure has been completed, the final step involves submitting copies of the deed and transfer certificate to the Registry office to change property ownership to the buyer’s name.Land registry fees include registrar’s rights, certificates, and stamp duty. Registration fees are around 0,475% -0,575% of the property value plus a small sum for other duties and certificates.
A translator is required to be present to translate the content of the deed and sign the contract deed. A translator is not necessary if the contract deed is signed by your lawyer through a power of attorney.
Following the purchase
As the owner of property in Greece you are required to comply with the following main tax obligations:
a. File the Property Data Statement (Ε9)
The Property Data Statement is due to be filed within the first (30) days from the date the contract was signed. The Ε9 statement is submitted only electronically through the application Δήλωση Ε9/ ΕΝΦΙΑ (E9-Property Statement/ Property Tax) at www.aade.gr.
b. Pay the annual Property Tax (ENFIA)
The annual Property Tax (ENFIA) derives appr. as a percentage of 1/1.000 on the property’s value as such, on an annual basis. There is an option to make either a one-off payment or in equal monthly installments.