The Purchase Process

What to expect from the purchase process when buying a house or apartment in Turkey. Information on the transfer of title deed and registering the property...

A foreign buyer needs approval for a sale from the Turkish military authorities to ensure that it complies with the restrictions placed on foreign property purchases. This is done by sending a translation of the buyer's passport and the deeds of the property to be purchased to the local army headquarters. Approval usually takes between six and eight weeks.

To get the buying process under way, a deposit of about 10 to 25 percent of the purchase price is needed when the sales contract is signed. This ensures that the property is taken off the market during the process of the deeds being changed. The deposit can be paid in cash or with a credit card.

Contracts can be drawn up with a notary or at the office of the local Land Registry. Turkish law dictates that they must be written in Turkish. They should include the following information:

  • Description of the property and its surface area (including land)
  • Full details of the seller and buyer
  • Purchase price - including a breakdown of fees and who is paying which fees
  • Purchasing schedule
  • Full details of the sales agent and lawyer, if used. Both should sign the contract
  • Information on any fittings and fixtures to be included in the sale
  • Details of any penalties should the sale not go through

The buyer needs their passport and two standard passport photographs so that the paperwork can be completed.

Transfer of Title Deed

Once permission for the sale has been received from the military authorities, the transfer of title deed (TAPU) can take place. This should be done at the local Land Registry Office.

A TAPU is an official document stating ownership of property. It includes detailed information on the property and a photo of the owner. The buyer is not legally required to use a lawyer but is advisable to ensure that all the paperwork is done correctly. Both the buyer and the seller must attend the transfer of deeds. Turkish law stipulates that a government-authorised interpreter must notarise the sale of property to a foreigner. Once the contract has been signed in front of the appropriate officers, the buyer receives the certificate of ownership.

If it is not possible for both parties to go to the Land Registry, the contract can be signed with a notary. In this case, it is considered to be a preliminary sales contract and it must be registered with the Land Registry as soon as possible. Once the sales contract is registered, it is considered binding and the new owner has all rights to the property.

Registering a Property

Registering a property takes nine days to complete. It then takes between three and nine months for the Turkish government to process and release the title deeds for transfer. It is advisable to have a lawyer manage this stage to ensure everything is completed correctly. Once the new deeds (TAPU) have been received, the rest of the money owing on the sale is paid. It is advisable to check that all the details on a TAPU are correct before finalising the purchase.