Greece Country Guide

Why Should I/We Buy in Greece

Buying property in Greece offers a unique blend of benefits, making it an attractive destination for investors, retirees, and those looking for a second home in a beautiful, historically rich, and culturally vibrant location. Here are some key points on why you should consider purchasing property in Greece:

  1. Stunning Natural Beauty: Greece is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, including idyllic islands, pristine beaches, lush mountains, and tranquil countryside. This variety ensures that there’s something for every preference, whether you’re drawn to seaside living or the tranquility of rural areas.

  2. Mediterranean Climate: The country enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate, characterized by sunny, dry summers and mild winters. This weather is ideal for those who seek to enjoy outdoor activities and a healthy lifestyle year-round.

  3. Affordable Real Estate Prices: Compared to other European countries, Greece offers competitive real estate prices, providing excellent value for money. This is particularly true for the property market in some of the less touristy areas and even in some surprisingly scenic locales.

  4. Rich Cultural Heritage: Living in Greece means immersing yourself in a world of historical sites, ancient ruins, and UNESCO World Heritage sites. The country’s rich history and culture are evident in its architecture, traditions, and local festivals.

  5. Quality of Life: Greece is known for its laid-back lifestyle, friendly locals, and vibrant social culture. The country places a strong emphasis on family, community, and enjoying life, offering a high quality of life to its residents.

  6. Strategic Location: Situated at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa, Greece offers a strategic location that’s great for business and travel. Its proximity to other European countries and the Middle East opens up numerous opportunities for travel and international business.

  7. Growing Tourism Market: Greece’s tourism industry is booming, making property investment here especially appealing for those looking to enter the rental market. The demand for vacation rentals is high, offering a potential return on investment through short-term leasing.

  8. Residency Through Investment: Greece offers a Golden Visa program that grants residency to non-EU investors who buy property worth at least €250,000. This program is an attractive option for those seeking a foothold in Europe, offering visa-free travel within the Schengen Zone.

  9. Culinary Delights: Greek cuisine is celebrated worldwide for its delicious and healthy dishes. Owning property in Greece allows you to enjoy fresh Mediterranean food, including an abundance of seafood, olive oil, fruits, and vegetables.

  10. Expatriate and International Community: Greece has a thriving expatriate community, especially on its islands and in major cities like Athens and Thessaloniki. This makes it easier for newcomers to integrate and find a sense of belonging.

  11. Safety: Greece is considered a safe country with low crime rates, especially in its many small towns and islands. This aspect makes it an ideal place for families and individuals seeking a peaceful and secure living environment.

Whether you’re looking for a holiday home, a permanent residence, or an investment opportunity, Greece offers a compelling array of reasons to consider making a property purchase. With its combination of natural beauty, historical significance, and welcoming culture, Greece provides a unique backdrop for a rich and fulfilling lifestyle.

Buying Process in Greece

The process of buying property in Greece is straightforward but involves several key steps and awareness of the associated taxes and fees. Whether you’re an EU citizen or a non-EU national, understanding these elements is crucial to successfully purchasing real estate in Greece. Here are some key points on the buying process in Greece, along with information on taxes and fees:

Buying Process in Greece

  1. Find a Property: Start by identifying the property that suits your needs. Many opt to work with a real estate agent for a broader access to listings and professional guidance.

  2. Legal Representation: It’s advisable to hire a lawyer who can conduct due diligence, ensuring the property is free of any legal encumbrances and debts, and to navigate the legal aspects of the purchase.

  3. Obtain a Tax Identification Number (AFM): Buyers, including foreigners, need to obtain a Greek Tax Identification Number from the Greek tax authorities to proceed with the purchase.

  4. Opening a Greek Bank Account: Often required for the transaction, especially for transferring funds and setting up utilities and taxes post-purchase.

  5. Sign a Preliminary Agreement: This step involves signing a pre-contract that outlines the terms of the sale, and paying a deposit, usually 10% of the purchase price.

  6. Conduct Searches: Your lawyer will conduct searches on the property, including checking the land registry and ensuring there are no outstanding mortgages or liens.

  7. Final Sale Contract: The final sale contract is drafted by a notary and signed by both parties in the presence of the notary. The balance of the purchase price is paid at this time.

  8. Transfer Tax and Registration: After the contract is signed, the buyer is responsible for paying the transfer tax and registering the property in their name at the Land Registry.

Taxes & Fees

  • Property Transfer Tax: Buyers are required to pay a transfer tax, which is either 3% of the property value or based on the assessed tax value, which can be lower than the market value.

  • Notary Fees: The notary’s fee is typically 1% to 1.5% of the property value.

  • Legal Fees: Expect to pay approximately 1% to 2% of the property value for legal services, although this can vary.

  • Real Estate Agent Fees: If you use a real estate agent, fees are typically 2% to 4% of the purchase price, paid by the buyer.

  • Annual Property Tax (ENFIA): This tax varies greatly depending on the property’s location, size, and other factors.

  • Capital Gains Tax: If you sell the property, capital gains tax may apply, calculated on the profit of the sale.

Additional Considerations

  • Value Added Tax (VAT): New constructions may be subject to VAT at 24%, but this is often included in the sale price.

  • Municipal Taxes: Included in the electricity bill, these are relatively small and based on the property’s size.

Understanding the buying process, taxes, and fees in Greece is crucial for a smooth property purchase. It’s also advisable to consider the ongoing costs of property ownership, including maintenance, utilities, and annual taxes. Given the complexities involved, engaging with professionals such as real estate agents, lawyers, and accountants can provide valuable guidance and ensure compliance with Greek laws and regulations.

Popular Areas in Greece

Greece’s diverse landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture make it a coveted destination for property buyers from around the world. Whether you’re drawn to the allure of island life, the vibrancy of city living, or the tranquility of rural settings, Greece offers a myriad of choices. Here’s a look at some of the most popular areas in Greece for buying property, each with its unique appeal:

1. Athens

  • Characteristics: As the capital city, Athens is a bustling metropolis blending ancient history with modern living. It’s known for iconic landmarks like the Acropolis, alongside vibrant neighborhoods, shopping, and dining.
  • Property Market: Offers a wide range of properties, from apartments in historic central districts like Plaka and Kolonaki to more modern suburbs such as Glyfada and Kifisia. Ideal for those seeking urban living with easy access to cultural sites.

2. Mykonos

  • Characteristics: A cosmopolitan island famed for its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and luxurious lifestyle. Mykonos attracts a global crowd, making it one of the most sought-after locations in the Aegean.
  • Property Market: Dominated by high-end villas and traditional Cycladic homes. It’s a prime spot for investors and individuals looking for luxury holiday homes with strong rental demand.

3. Santorini

  • Characteristics: Known for its breathtaking sunsets, white-washed buildings, and blue-domed churches, Santorini is a symbol of the Greek islands’ beauty. The island offers a romantic and tranquil setting.
  • Property Market: Features luxury properties with stunning views of the caldera, making it a popular choice for honeymooners and tourists. A great location for boutique hotels and vacation rentals.

4. Crete

  • Characteristics: The largest Greek island, Crete boasts diverse landscapes, including beautiful beaches, mountains, and archeological sites. It offers a rich cultural experience with its unique traditions and cuisine.
  • Property Market: Provides a broad range of options from beachfront villas to traditional stone houses in rural villages. Crete appeals to those looking for a slower pace of life or a property with land.

5. Corfu

  • Characteristics: An island with Venetian influence, known for its lush green landscapes, stunning coastlines, and rich cultural heritage. Corfu has a more aristocratic feel, with beautiful old towns and fortresses.
  • Property Market: Offers a mix of luxury villas, traditional Corfiot homes, and newer apartments. Popular among Europeans seeking holiday homes or permanent residences in a picturesque setting.

6. Rhodes

  • Characteristics: Famous for its historical sites, medieval town, and beautiful beaches, Rhodes is a blend of historical charm and natural beauty, offering a vibrant lifestyle.
  • Property Market: Includes options for all tastes, from ancient stone houses within the medieval city to modern seafront villas. Rhodes is attractive for those interested in history and Mediterranean living.

7. Chalkidiki

  • Characteristics: Known for its three picturesque peninsulas, crystal-clear waters, and sandy beaches, Chalkidiki is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, offering a more laid-back lifestyle.
  • Property Market: Features a range of affordable apartments, holiday homes, and villas close to the beach, making it an excellent choice for families and investors looking for value for money.

8. Peloponnese

  • Characteristics: A region rich in history and natural beauty, with ancient sites like Olympia and Mycenae, stunning landscapes, and beautiful coastlines. It offers a quieter, more authentic Greek experience.
  • Property Market: Provides a variety of options, including traditional stone villas, rural homes, and beachfront properties. It’s ideal for those seeking a connection to Greek history and nature.

Each of these areas in Greece offers its own unique lifestyle and investment opportunities, catering to a wide range of preferences. Whether you’re seeking the hustle and bustle of city life, the serenity of island living, or the charm of rural settings, Greece has something special to offer every prospective property buyer.

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