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Property Rules  
Steps to follow in Greece
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Buy or Sell Properties in Greece

Steps to follow for buying property in Greece

1. Appointing a lawyer in Greece

Why do I need a lawyer?

Representation by a solicitor / lawyer in a property transfer contract is optional. It is usual however for the Purchaser and the Vendor to engage different solicitors / lawyers to fully represent their legal rights, who will be in attendance during settlement.

What does a lawyer do?

The Greek lawyers drafts the contract deeds and provides all necessary legal advice. However, most importantly, the buyer's lawyer must conduct a factual search at the Registry of Mortgages and ensure first, that the seller holds a sound title to the property. The uncertainty of the Greek law and of the system of the Registry of Mortgages is resolved in practice through the examination of the legal relationships in connection with the specific asset over period of 20 years.
The lawyer must also make sure that the property is unencumbered (free of burdens like mortgages or prenotations of mortgage) and free of claims (no injunctions and enforcement measures or actions pending). Further, the lawyer has to examine if all real estate taxes burdening the seller have been paid.

2. Apply for a tax registration number in Greece
In order to deal with the Greek fiscal authorities, it is necessary to have acquired a Greek Tax Registration Number (AFM). Foreign buyers should apply for the acquisition of a Tax Registration Number issued specifically for taxpayers incurring a tax liability at the competent tax office (Tax Office for Foreigners).

3. Appoint a public notary in Greece
The Greek public notary's function and duties are very limited in Greece. The notary's duty to explain to the contracting parties their obligations and rights that arise from the respective transaction and make sure they are aware of the implications of their commitments is fulfilled in practice through the reading of the contract deed before signature. The instructed lawyer usually suggests a notary of his preference and trust.

4. Sign the purchase and transfer deed before a notary
Both the purchase and transfer contracts require notarisation. Contracts not concluded in the required form shall be null without possibility of remedy.


5. Appoint an architect in Greece

The presence of an architect is not obligatory for the conclusion of a real estate transfer. It is, nevertheless, of great value so as to examine if the construction works are based on lawful permits, if the land on sale can be built, or if any other problem exists.

Do I have to be in Greece to complete the transaction?

Procedure at the Consulate
The existence of a Greek consulate is of huge practical importance for foreign purchasers, as the consulate can carry out legal actions which, in Greece, fall within the scope of a notary's competence. That means that the purchase and transfer contract can be signed abroad before a Greek consular official. It should also be pointed out that no fees are chargeable for the conclusion of contracts by the consulate.

Representation through proxy
Each contracting party can give authority of representation to another person by signing a Power of Attorney. The proxy can also be given to the lawyer of the contracting party.

Content of proxy
Proxies concerning real estate transactions must be specific. That means that the precise conditions of the contract (purchase price, etc.) as well as the specific object thereof must be clear and specifically set out. Where one or more of the real estate assets in question are not mentioned explicitly in the proxy, nor are they precisely described therein, the authorisation given by virtue of the proxy shall be treated as ineffective.

Form of proxy
Proxies by the real estate seller and purchaser must take the form of a notarised document. A proxy may be granted before a Greek notary or, when abroad, a Greek consular official.

6. Registration with the Registry of Mortgages
The notarised contract for the transfer of property can be effective only if combined with a registration of the transfer with the Registry of Mortgages or the Land Registry. The registration is constitutive of a transfer.

Other issues
When a region is taken out of the system of Registries of Mortgages and into the Land Registry system, existing property owners are required to declare their property rights on real estate with a specific deadline. When declaring a right, the acquisition title should be attached. The rights declared shall then be tested for legality. The declaration and filing of property rights on real estate assets in the new Land Registry system is a prerequisite for the completion of property transactions and granting of planning permissions. 

Note: As far as the procedure of buying a company ,whose only property is the building or the plot of land on sale, is regarded the steps to be followed are different from the above mentioned.


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