Topic: Blog

Buyng Property in Athens

Buying Property in Athens – things to know about investing in the capital

Low property prices, a metropolitan lifestyle and a launching pad to the Greek islands makes Athens an appealing option for property buyers, but careful planning and research is required.

Buying property in Athens has never been more enticing.

It’s a city blessed by the gods with its crystal blue coastline, magical sunsets and mountainous landscape. But before you sign on the dotted line in a post-holiday haze, it helps to do some homework.

Greece has traditionally been a nation of land or home owners who proudly passed on the property deeds to the next generation through death or marriage. But as the realities of the Greek economic crisis set in, high unemployment and the collapse of the real estate market quickly followed, leaving many to inherit debts and taxes they couldn’t service and properties they couldn’t maintain.

With low residential prices and high yielding short-term rental income, investment from overseas buyers has surged in recent years, allowing many to realise their dream of owning a summer holiday house in Greece and indeed, Europe.

The five year residency visa via Greece’s Golden Visa programme has also helped push things along. Enterprise Greece estimates one billion euros have been invested in the overall real estate market in Greece, since the programme began in 2013. Buyers however should proceed with caution as the Greek economy is still in recovery and investing in real estate is not without risk.

Why Athens and why now?

Athens offers an easy lifestyle against the backdrop of a buzzing and dynamic city that is steeped in history and legacy. The harsh economic climate has seen some positive change and exciting developments in food, art and culture, providing a much more rounded urban experience and making it one of the most exciting cities in Europe right now.

The sea and its southern coastline of Blue-Flag beaches are easily reached from the centre, as are the many hills you can climb to admire its beautiful landscape from above.

Central Athens is built around the Acropolis.

Peering through a wider lens, things are looking up for Athens, with increased flights, strengthening tourism numbers and new hotel and residential developments, you simply can’t help but be optimistic. The newly built Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center has been the most ambitious cultural and architectural project to date. The €617 million development by the prominent Greek shipping family was the largest donation made to the city so far.

Many central suburbs are in the midst of a reboot too, as gentrification takes hold in various pockets around town. The southern coastal districts from Piraeus to Vouliagmeni will get a boost thanks to recent plans to transform the major shipping and passenger terminal of the Port of Piraeus and its surrounding area. Plans are also in place to finally resurrect the former Athens airport near Glyfada, into a modern hub of residences, retail and leisure facilities.

The urban sprawl of Athens

Be prepared and do your homework

It goes without saying that you should find a reputable team of professionals to guide you through the purchasing process. You’ll need a lawyer to protect your rights and represent you in contract negotiations and a notary when you are in the final stages of closing and transferring the property.

When purchasing existing property, it’s also wise to have an engineer conduct an inspection to make sure your property is structurally sound and complies with relevant laws and regulations.

Non-EU residents must demonstrate their connections with Greece and their intent for property use. This application is made to the Ministry of National Defence and involves a submission of documents. EU residents will have almost no restrictions in purchasing a property in Greece.

Fees

There are a number of additional and up-front fees to consider and some of the standard ones include:

  • A property tax transfer set at 3 per cent* is paid for by the buyer. You will need to get a Greek tax file number (equivalent to a social security number), which you can obtain by filling out various tax forms (*note this transfer tax is subject to change at any time and you should consult your lawyer for the latest percentage).
  • Real estate agency or agent fees are usually between 2-2.5 per cent of the sale price and you should be aware that Greek real estate agents often represent both the buyer and seller. Many transactions in Greece happen privately to avoid these costs and property owners can advertise and represent themselves.
  • Notary and lawyer fees could either be a set cost but no more than 1 per cent each of the total transaction value (plus 24 per cent VAT on the fee).
  • Look out for exchange rates when paying for your property, which will vary from bank to bank.

Note – This is not an exhaustive list and depends on what consultants and advisors you decide to retain. Government charges may also change from time to time.

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An expert’s perspective

Property consultant, George Sagirakis from First National has assisted many overseas buyers through the myriad of paperwork and overcoming language barriers to purchasing real estate in Athens and all around Greece. We reached out to George to get her insights and experience on buying property in Athens.

George, as a property consultant, how can you assist overseas buyers in the purchasing process?

We usually come in when the client needs help to find a property or has decided on buying a property or has narrowed down options of properties they are interested in.

We all know that buying a home is going to be one of the biggest purchases we are ever going to make. However, this doesn’t mean that you should simply throw good money away on an emotional whim. We live in the Information Age and the key to buying a home is gathering as much information as possible in order to pitch your offer at the correct level and to ensure that you don’t buy somebody else’s problem

The next important step potential buyers must keep in mind, is to make sure that the property they are buying is lawful.

When selling Greek land or buildings, all owners are required to provide a Legal Technical Certificate which is proof that the property is lawful. This is where we step in on behalf of my clients. We will conduct a legal check to verify if all built structures comply with lawful building permits. An example of an illegal structure could be an enclosed veranda that was built without a permit. If illegal structures are identified, this should not be considered as a deal breaker. Before the purchase is completed, the seller can legalize their property by paying an applicable fine, after appointing an architect-engineer to handle the process.

Where do people commonly find properties advertised for sale in Athens?

The most common methods are through real estate agents and less often privately. Walk-by signage is also effective especially if you have the time to explore areas. I always suggest clients walk or drive around neighbourhoods they are interested in during the day and also in the evening.

Athens, a city of rooftop living.

What is a realistic time frame for someone from overseas coming to Athens to buy a place from scratch. Do they need to be physically present the entire time?

The time needed to negotiate the purchase deal and conclude the actual property transfer differs for every transaction. Foreigners do not have to be physically present in Greece for the final closing, appointing a Power of Attorney is equally efficient.

What are the general steps to securing a property?

To secure the purchase, a down-payment of up to 10 per cent (depending on the property value) is usually deposited by the buyer but is not mandatory. Once negotiations have been concluded, the owner gathers all tax, legal and technical documents that are required. Once the purchase-transfer tax is paid for by the buyer, the purchase is ready to go. Keep in mind, once the purchase-contract deed has been signed, it must be registered with the relevant Hellenic Cadastre and/or the Mortgage Registry depending on the location of the property. Only then, does the buyer obtain full ownership rights.

Can you explain how apartment buildings are maintained through strata schemes or owners groups?

Apartment buildings are made up of separately owned units, often referred to as condominiums by many foreigners. Within the apartment building, there are also common use areas, jointly owned by all owners. Each owner of an apartment owns a certain percentage according to the Deeds of Establishment of the building and transferred upon purchase. Maintenance, amenities and utilities of these areas are paid for collectively by owners (or renters) depending on the ownership entitlements of each unit. Common use funds are handled by one of the owners, referred to as the “Diaxiristi” or an appointed management company in many cases. Decisions on how funds are distributed and used are made in the owners general assembly meetings. A common issue in many older apartment buildings in Athens, is central heating, which is usually not connected due to the high running costs. Owners will usually need to arrange for their own independent heating system in compliance with the Deeds of Establishment.

Uncovering details inside some of Athens’ grand apartment buildings.

What things are there to be aware of if an apartment or property needs renovating?

Besides the actual hard cost of materials, there is of course worker’s wages and contractor fees. It’s a good idea to have a contingency budget in place too. When redesigning and upgrading older apartments, there are often hidden costs which only present themselves once renovation has started, especially if existing walls are being knocked down. The good news is that property owners no longer have to obtain a permit for minor repairs or upgrades. In some cases when an apartment is located in a building of historical heritage, the process can become more complicated and restrictive. This is one more reason why it’s a good idea for buyers to consider appointing an architect-engineer before purchasing property, as they can potentially help quantify in advance, the cost and time involved to renovate a place.

Monemvasia, Castle, Peloponisos, Greece, Waterfront, Heritage

How does the buying process in Greece differ from the rest of the world?

Buying property in Greece can be a different experience for foreigners compared to what they are used to back home where it is more common to work directly and solely through real estate agents. In most cases, buyers will work directly with local agents who have signed an agreement with the sellers to showcase the property and not agent to agent. Once you have found a place you love, your agent, attorney or you as the buyer can negotiate the final price. The entire procedure of the closing thereafter is usually handled by your attorney, who will often speak directly with the sellers and/or their attorney.

For people who may be wanting to purchase a property with the view of holiday renting, what are some of the things they should be aware of?

One important factor owners must have in mind is that short-term or holiday rental income must be declared as if one were renting to a long-term tenant. Many property owners have tried to avoid and hide this income, which is why the government is planning to introduce an electronic platform for short-term rentals. Owners must now declare the property, names of renters and the duration of the lease on this platform. Those that do not comply will face heavy fines.

George Sagirakis was born and raised in Greece. He moved to Australia where he lived and worked in the retail and construction industry for over 22 years. He is now based in Athens and is a licensed Realtor. His second office is in Limassol, Cyprus.

He provides consulting services for real estate and renovations matters in Greece and Cyprus. His property management services are handled by registered Attorneys and/or Accountants.

George is experienced in Real Estate marketing, buying/selling/rending properties, designing, constructing and renovating residential and commercial property, as well as assisting with all property-related matters such as obtaining certificates and permits. You can contact George directly via his website: www.firstnational.gr or www.firstnational.com.cy

DISCLAIMER: The information provided is general and should therefore NOT be considered as advice or consultation to act upon. Links to third-party websites do not constitute an endorsement or recommendation of products and services.

George Sagirakis

ENTERPRICE GREECE

https://www.enterprisegreece.gov.gr/en/greece-today/living-in-greece/residence-permits#top


Τι να προσέξω στην ενοικίαση σπιτιού

Coolweb
Ενοικίαση σπιτιού. Τι πρέπει να προσέξω; Τι παγίδες κρύβει; Δείτε τις απαντήσεις στο άρθρο που ακολουθεί.
Η αναζήτηση σπιτιού για ενοικίαση είναι μια ομολογουμένως δύσκολη υπόθεση. Η προσφορά είναι σίγουρα μεγάλη, ωστόσο πάντα υπάρχουν παγίδες στις οποίες μπορούμε πολύ εύκολα να πέσουμε αν δεν είμαστε υποψιασμένοι.

Τι να προσέξουμε, λοιπόν, κατά την ενοικίαση σπιτιού.

Καταρχήν, το πιο σημαντικό είναι να βρούμε ένα σπίτι που να καλύπτει τις πραγματικές μας ανάγκες.

Σίγουρα είναι καλό να μας αρέσει ο χώρος που ζούμε, αλλά δεν πρέπει να επικεντρωθούμε μόνο στην εμφάνιση παραβλέποντας άλλα πιο σημαντικά στοιχεία.

Δεν πρέπει για παράδειγμα να νοικιάσουμε ένα σπίτι μεγαλύτερο από ότι πραγματικά χρειαζόμαστε. Γιατί τι να τα κάνουμε τα έξτρα δωμάτια αν για παράδειγμα μένουμε μόνοι μας.

Όσο ωραίο κι αν είναι, ακόμη κι αν το βρήκαμε σε καλή τιμή, είναι πολύ πιθανό να μετανιώσουμε για την απόφαση μας όταν έρθει η ώρα να το καθαρίσουμε και πολύ περισσότερο να το ζεστάνουμε.

Επίσης, εκτός από τα αυξημένα έξοδα θέρμανσης, τα μεγάλα σπίτια έχουν και περισσότερα κοινόχρηστα.

Ένας άλλος βασικός κανόνας όταν ψάχνουμε σπίτι είναι να επισκεπτόμαστε τα υποψήφια διαμερίσματα πάντοτε με το φως της μέρας.

Έτσι βλέπουμε ατέλειες που ίσως να μην παρατηρούσαμε.

Καλό είναι να ελέγξουμε προσεκτικά το σπίτι για τυχόν ζημιές και να ζητήσουμε από τον ιδιοκτήτη να τις επιδιορθώσει πριν μπούμε.

Επίσης σημαντικός παράγοντας είναι η περιοχή. Επιλέγουμε προσεκτικά την τοποθεσία του σπιτιού, ειδικά αν πρόκειται για άγνωστη σε μας πόλη.

Καλό είναι να θυμόμαστε ότι κατά κανόνα, τα σπίτια στο κέντρο είναι ακριβά, παλιά και πολλές φορές και κακοσυντηρημένα.

Προτιμάμε ήσυχες γειτονιές εκτός κέντρου με πρόσβαση όμως σε βασικές ευκολίες όπως σούπερ μάρκετ, στάση λεωφορείου, σχολείο αν έχουμε παιδιά κλπ.

Προσέξτε όμως! Αν επιλέξουμε να μείνουμε σε μια περιοχή αρκετά μακριά από τη δουλειά μας για να γλιτώσουμε κάποια χρήματα από το ενοίκιο, θα τα δώσουμε, πιθανόν πολλαπλάσια, στις μετακινήσεις (καύσιμα, λεωφορεία κλπ).

Αν το σπίτι προορίζεται για φοιτητή, τότε καλό θα ήταν να έχει εύκολη πρόσβαση στο πανεπιστήμιο είτε με τα πόδια, είτε με λεωφορείο δεδομένου ότι οι πιο πολλοί φοιτητές δεν διαθέτουν μεταφορικό μέσο.

Αν έχουμε αυτοκίνητο καλό θα ήταν το σπίτι που θα νοικιάσουμε να διαθέτει δική του θέση πάρκινγκ ή να είναι σε μια περιοχή που θα βρίσκουμε εύκολα μια θέση για να παρκάρουμε για να μην αγανακτούμε κάθε μέρα.

Γενικά πριν αποφασίσουμε πρέπει να σταθμίσουμε πολλούς παράγοντες όπως είναι η θέση του σπιτιού, η παλαιότητα του και η περιοχή.

Τυχόν ευκολίες που πιθανόν διαθέτει ένα σπίτι (καινούργια κουφώματα, θερμομόνωση, ηλιακός θερμοσίφωνας κλπ) είναι ευπρόσδεκτες καθώς θα μας εξοικονομήσουν χρήματα από τη θέρμανση και τον λογαριασμό του ρεύματος.

Ασφάλεια Meshtec

Επίσης καλό θα ήταν πριν προχωρήσουμε στη μίσθωση να χτυπήσουμε το κουδούνι κάποιου γείτονα για να ενημερωθούμε για τυχόν προβλήματα στη γειτονιά ή την πολυκατοικία αν πρόκειται για διαμέρισμα (πχ θόρυβος, υγρασία κλπ).

Τέλος πριν υπογράψουμε τα συμβόλαια ενημερωνόμαστε για άλλα έξοδα πέραν του ενοικίου όπως πχ για τα κοινόχρηστα, για το κόστος θέρμανσης κλπ για να ξέρουμε τι θα πληρώνουμε συνολικά.


Styling The End of Your Bed

Clever renovation ideas and tips for the home renovator

Styling The End of Your Bed, A Guide

Source: Onthehouse

Repeat after me, the end of my bed is not ‘dead space’! The end of your bed, although it may feel useless, has such potential to offer a functional element to your room. Particularly when space is tight, and you have limited wall or cupboard vacancy, the end of your bed can act as an additional storage function for your room. Fusing together aesthetic elements that expertly complement your bedroom style, this small space is where you can explore stylistic and functional elements at a very minimal expense.

Think seating, ever find yourself at a loss for somewhere to lace up your shoes? Find yourself carting your shoes to the lounge room to find a seat? Utilizing your end of bed space with a bench means that you can get completely ready in the comfort of your room. Sourcing a bench seat for the end of your bed gives you extra seating and if used as a multi-purpose space, storage and style as well.

If you’re thinking storage, the end of your bed can be used to house clothes baskets under, or, depending on the bench or ottoman you purchase, the storage can be inbuilt into the feature. At the lift of a lid you can have access to extra pillows or blankets, your favourite books or clothes. You can utilize the space under the bench to house clothing baskets or shoes to maximise the utility and capitalise on as much space as possible.

Now for the style stakes! If you’re looking to use this as both a stylistic and practical feature in your home the trick is balancing out these elements to ensure that neither are compromised. Opting to keep one end of the bench clear and laying the other with beautiful coffee table books mean that the practical element still remains useable. Add layers and depth to the feature with textural throws and detailed baskets. Steer clear of anything breakable, this is not the ideal place for candles and glassware, as the occasional movement can shuffle these items into precarious locations.

Start small and build up until you’re satisfied with the look and feel. This includes choosing the appropriate bench as well. Think about its primary purpose and use that to guide your decision making. If this will predominately be a seating space, then choose a bench with cushioning to ensure maximum comfort. Keeping the primary function in mind will help you decide what to sacrifice and what to invest in.