There is nothing better than first hand experience in providing an article to guide people through the potential pit falls of buying property in Cyprus. I have purchased through a large developer and commissioned a bespoke house to be constructed. What I certainly did not do was start off knowing the ropes. I had to learn – but not the hard way !! It is said that property purchasers often leave their brains at the airport – don’t let it be you !!
The first thing is to make sure that the property or plot of land is what you want to meet your living needs whether for holiday use or permanent living on re-location. If you are buying to let or for investment then you also have to make a good study of the costs and likely returns.
In addition there will be laws and regulations to meet and comply with as well as taxes to pay both in the place you come from and Cyprus.
When buying off plan I went to see other properties that the developer had built and to talk to an owner or two. Then I pawed over the plans of the place that I wanted to buy and the overall development in the offices of the developer asking loads of questions making sure I knew the layout of the house and its gardens. And I also looked at the standard finishes from the samples in the office to make sure that I was not going to have to pay extra for something half decent.
Only then, several hours later, did I venture onto the site and having fully understood the plans put the location into context including the house in relation to other houses and the sun.
Next stage back to the office to negotiate a price including any extras or minor modifications to the property. Discounts are always available if you ask but don’t expect to keep going back a few days or weeks later to nibble away at the price. Ask to see the contract and ask the developer’s legal department to explain it all to you. Is there a penalty clause for later delivery? Can you cancel? Are there any legal costs if you wish to sell before the title deeds are issued? Does the property have planning permission and a building permit?
Then go and find yourself an independent local lawyer, who has no relationship with the developer,and is registered at the Cyprus Bar. Discuss his or her fees for the legal process of purchasing and then ask your lawyer to explain how the formal process works and how your interests will be protected in the period when you are paying the developer for the house until you get possession and the title deeds are eventually issued to you and you pay your Land Transfer Tax and Immovable Property Tax. Even though you may be an EU National you will still have to get permission to own a property in Cyprus unless you are already registered as a permanent resident of Cyprus. Do also ask your lawyer to help set up a bank account, a power of attorney for him to act for you and the supply of water and electricity by direct debit. It saves so much time and hastle later when you can’t wait to move in.
Nothing much about money so far. How much will you pay as a non returnable deposit? Credit Card or Cash?
But do you need a local mortgage to pay the rest? Do you need a guarantee to the bank from your developer? What will it cost? What currency to borrow in? How long do you want a mortgage for? Medicals? Life Insurance? Evidence of Earnings? Copy of passport? A plethora of things to arrange before you fly home.
Stage payments. You don’t want to pay for nothing so make sure you appoint a RICS qualified surveyor to check the construction out as you go and before each payment you make. They can also make sure that you are delivered an almost snag free property leaving very little to be covered by the final retention payment paid after possession.
Or will you be raising the funds against another property back home? How long will that take and how does it fit with the stage payment schedule?
So much to remember and not everything is written down in this article. But there is often a lot of help and advice at hand from others who have done it before you on the internet or in a local library back home.
Good Luck with buying a property in Cyprus – your dream home – enjoy.