Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need an Estate Agent?
Sappho Estate Agency is here to inform you how things work in Greece, to help make an agreement between purchaser and owner (which often involving translation) and assist you with the entire bureaucratic process of buying/selling properties in Greece. Our commission, and that of every estate agent in Greece, is set by law and is 2% (including 13% VAT) of the actual purchase price. Please note however that there is a small extra service fee for non Greek citizens from outside the EU due to the extra paperwork and organization.
Will I need a lawyer?
You are obliged by Greek law to have a lawyer to function as a witness to the signing of the contract. The fee is around 1.2% to 1.5% of the contract price of the property. Included in this fee, your laywer will search for you through the public records to make sure that the property is free and clear of any debts, mortgages, and other potential unpleasant problems such as hidden rights on the property deeds from family members inside and outside of Greece.
Do I need a notary and what is his/her fee?
Yes. By law a contract is needed when buying a house in Greece and only a notary can authorize the sale of a property and create the proper paperwork for you. The notary will not be able to sign any contracts if the property for example is not clear of rights on the property deeds by family members. The fee of the notary is between 1-2% of the value listed in the deeds.
How many extra expenses can I expect?
In total, you need to consider extra expenses between 7 & 10% of the actual purchase price. These expenses include purchase tax, notary's fee, lawyer's fee and our commission.
Do I need to pay taxes?
Yes, you will need to pay transfer taxes when buying a property in Greece. However, depending on your situation you may be eligible for a 50% exemption from the property transfer tax, if you are making the purchase with funds imported from abroad. There is also a yearly local tax to keep in mind. It depends on the size and location of your building but the local taxes are very light and an average would be between 150 to 300 Euros per year. This also includes your TV and Radio license.
Do I need to justify the source of funds when I buy?
In most situations YES, unless you are buying a property from a non Greek and are paying the money outside of Greece. The year following your purchase, you must file an income tax return to declare the property (Greek Tax Form E9) and you then must indicate the source of the funds used to buy the property in Greece. It is always better to import your funds into Greece as it avoids any possible complications with the Greek tax authorities at any later date. You will always have to import sufficient money to cover the notary's fee, lawyer's fee and the purchase tax.
You will need to open a bank account at a local bank and then transfer the money from abroad into this account. The bank will then give you a receipt which you can declare to the tax office to show that you did not earn your money in Greece. You will then not have to pay income tax on this money in Greece. If you intend to live here for long periods (or retire here) you must import sufficient funds on a regular basis, this again to prove that you are not earning money in Greece. If you are buying property in joint (or more) names, the bank account should be opened in both (or all of these) names.
Can I get a mortgage for a property in Greece?
Yes, there are quite a number of ways to get financing through Greek banks, this usually depends on whether you have the appropriate financial profile. Sappho Estate can assist you in finding a mortgage for you so you can buy your property on Lesvos Island in Greece. Please contact us for more information about possible mortgages and equity loans.
How to obtain an AFM? (Greek Tax Number)
You can obtain an AFM number by visiting the local tax office and apply for one, or you can let Sappho Estate assist you with this. It is possible to provide us with a 'Power of Attorney' which enables us, on your behalf, to request the necessary number from the Greek Tax Authorities. In order for Sappho Estate to make such request, we must have a certified copy of your passport or Greek identification card and information included on M1 and M7 forms.