Selecting the Type of Property and Location
Find out where to go and who to contact to make sure you get the right property for you...
Once assurance of a bank loan has been given and a budget has been fixed, the next step is to establish the type of property required and its preferred location. Research can easily be done via the Internet but a visit to the desired area is recommended. An estate agent can help with this by showing some properties - this gives a general feel for what a market has to offer.
Buying a property with a title deed is always preferable as it is a clear-cut transaction. However, buying without a deed, or even from plan is fine, providing the deal is done properly (buying property in Cyprus is relatively a very safe investment, as long as professional advice is followed correctly). There is also an advantage to buying off-plan as it is often cheaper than buying a completed and ready-for-immediate-delivery property; also, stage payments apply.
Angloinfo ed: Those who prefer to build their own property in a particular location can look into buying available building land plots in the area. For more information and advice on buying land in Cyprus visit Angloinfo’s Building Property pages.
It is important that a purchaser deals with a registered agent only. By law, a registered agent carries an insurance policy to indemnify any wrong doings, and follows a national code of conduct - this assurance is only available with registered agents. It is illegal in Cyprus for anyone who is not licensed and registered to operate as an estate agent; a buyer should request evidence of registration when enquiring about property.
Legal estate agents are members of the Cyprus Real Estate Agents Association, CREAA.
Angloinfo ed: CREAA’s role is to advise and protect property buyers and act as a watchdog on national legislation related to the real estate industry.
Once a property has been selected, and an offer accepted, a small holding-deposit (or reservation fee) is paid. The seller should then provide the necessary paperwork for the property - title deed, architectural plans and other relevant documents - to the lender and agent. On the buyer's instruction, the lender begins the mortgage process which usually takes three to four weeks, and the agent will, if you choose to use a lawyer, co-operate with him/her in the Land Registry search, etc. and preparation of sales contracts. If you decide not to use a lawyer, a registered agent is qualified to do this for you.
Lawyers' fees vary from office to office but are generally charged by the hour, and of course the work involved. Buyers are advised to ask for an approximate figure before instructing a lawyer as it can be fairly costly. Always use an independent lawyer. Avoid using the seller or developer's lawyer, even if the service comes free.
If either buyer or seller is not Cypriot, the contract can/should be in English. Once it is prepared, and the deposit (usually between 20 and 30 percent of the purchase price) is in place, the parties can sign. This contract contains a clause that determines a completion date, usually within 28 days, and completion must be made by this date, otherwise the deposit can be lost and the purchase cancelled.
Note: The contract is legally binding - there are no let-out clauses.
Angloinfo ed: Stamp duty must then be paid by the buyer of the property,. The stamp duty rate is 0.15 % per thousand euro up to the value of €170,560 and thereafter at the rate of 0.2% per thousand euro (2014). This should be paid within 30 days of signing the contract otherwise a penalty will be imposed. The contract should then be deposited as soon as possible at the Land Registry Department. This is essential as it officially commits both parties to the transaction. Note: Laws regarding taxation in Cyprus are often subject to change. For up to date information visit the Web Portal of the Republic of Cyprus for law amendments and information.