Buying Property in Crete

Owning a home in Crete

If you are thinking of living in Crete, you may already have an idea of which area you will choose to live. However you may have only visited in the summer months and you may be surprised to find that an attractive village near a small resort, but far from town becomes much less attractive in the winter months when everything in the nearby resort is closed down.

Before you buy a home to live in Crete, it is well worth renting a house or apartment in the area you are considering to get a feel for the area and the people or to give you time to discover other unknown locations before you commit. Location is one of the most important consideration when buying a property abroad, particularly if you are moving to live in Crete permanently.

Some things to consider are:

• How far are the nearest shops & taverns for year - round living?

• Accessibility of the property - steep tracks, steps etc may be a problem in the future.

• What types of schools are in the area, if you have children.

• How far are the nearest medical facilities / hospital, if this is important for you.

There are numerous estate agents, property developers and construction companies, in Crete, selling land and properties.

Take your time. Shop around, compare prices and credentials. Existing properties may be offered by more than one agent, and the price for the same property may vary considerably. If buying off plan compare companies, their finished properties and what the price includes. Don’t be rushed into a purchase.

Whichever company you choose, they will be able to advise you on the legalities arrange surveyors (civil engineer) and put you in touch with English speaking lawyers. Beware! Your lawyer is the most important person in your Greek property purchase so you need to be confident that he/she will be looking out for your interests, and one recommended by the builder/estate agent will not always be the best option. An independent lawyer can be sought through the recommendations of friends or other third parties who have had similar dealings in Greek property purchase.

Before buying, and particularly before you sign on the dotted line for an off plan property purchase, you are advised to check out the company; search online, read buyer reviews (on independent sites, not on the company's own website) and ask to be put you in touch with previous buyers for recommendations.

A reliable building company should be able to deliver a new build on time... get a delivery date in writing. If you are not around to supervise the work being done you can appoint someone to do this for you, such as a lawyer or surveyor / inspector.

Buying land / DIY building / Renovation

This often looks like a great alternative to buying an existing or off plan property, but beware!

Quotes for plans and building costs are very often underestimated and you can easily end up spending much more than you anticipated.

Renovations very often work out more costly than quoted due to unknowns. Just one example is the state of the walls beneath old plaster. This will only become apparent when work starts and it is stripped away; knocking down whole walls may then be the only option and this may not have been coasted in to a quote.

Capital Gains

The property market in Greece saw property costs rise steeply between 2002 and 2006, but has now slowed down. Don't expect to make a quick profit if you are buying property as a short term investment. Resales are generally slow; Greeks often have their own family plot of land to build on while expat buyers tend to first opt for a new build.

Remember that you will also need to recoup the high purchase costs of around 12 % (lawyers, estate agents, notary fees & taxes) and pay capital gains tax.