How do I find the perfect property?

The answer to this question is often related to the buyer’s budget; however, this is not the only criterion. The area and infrastructure play a major role, as well as any prospects for the future development of the neighbourhood. Naturally, one should also take into account the property’s construction quality; energy classification, in particular, is directly related to energy costs for occupants. Finally, everyone has their own personal criteria that usually have to do with the aesthetics and functionality of each space.

 Newly-built or older property?

Moving to a brand-new property is an extremely attractive prospect for everyone. It is true that modern structures meet the needs of modern people most efficiently, offering large balconies, beautiful bathrooms, state-of-the art kitchens, parking spaces, storerooms, independent heating, and heat- and soundproofing. They meet the standards of the new seismic code and ensure their buyers the maximum possible goodwill in the event of a future sale.

Naturally, the value of a brand-new property is significantly higher than that of an older one. However, there can be no extensive interventions, while bedrooms, in particular, are not very spacious.

Older properties show much better ‘reflexes’ in value fluctuation and are often available in very affordable prices. The surface area-to-value ratio of these properties is markedly better and, when renovated, can give excellent results both aesthetically and economically. These properties are often in nice areas, with easy access to public transportation and shops. Furthermore, they are usually roomier, since architects used to give more emphasis to sufficient space.

Naturally, there is always the risk of unforeseeable damage, so every property must be thoroughly inspected before changing hands. Given that previous building regulations affecting older properties set lower standards, the static adequacy of each structure must also be carefully assessed. In addition, these properties are inferior in heat- and soundproofing. Finally, the possible goodwill that might result from selling an older property, even a renovated one, is not as guaranteed as with newly-built properties.

 What are ownership transfer costs?

Ownership transfer costs are the costs that the property buyer has to pay.

Transfer tax. It can be either:
- VAT equal to 3% of the value stated in the contract. It pertains to properties not newly-built; or
- VAT 24% of the property’s commercial value; it pertains to newly-built properties put up for sale by construction companies.

Lawyer fee. The use of a lawyer is now optional; however, legal support when buying a property ensures maximum ease and safety in the completion of the process. Our company’s legal department can undertake this task with a 0.8% surcharge on the value stated in the contract.

Notary fee. Usually 1.2% - 2% of the highest value stated in the contract.

Real estate agent fee. 2% of the real commercial value of the property.

Land Registry. The registration fee is 0.475% of the highest value stated in the contract.

Local Authority tax. 3% of the ownership transfer tax.

 What can I do to ensure the highest possible rent for a property?

One of the factors affecting rental prices is property quality. An apartment that is not new often needs maintenance and/or renovation. The more carefully maintained a property is the more attractive it will be for potential lessees. Generally speaking, there should be a balance between the cost of renovation necessary for each property and the benefit this might offer, always taking into account the neighbourhood and size of the property.

A costly renovation in a less popular area can prove unprofitable. Nonetheless, freshly painted apartments, especially when shown in full light, create a good impression to visitors.

 What is an Energy Performance Certificate? Whom does it concern?

An energy performance certificate assesses how environmentally-friendly a property is. It is issued by an engineer-energy inspector and must be issued before a property is sold or rented out. All property owners must obtain such certificates.

 What is an Electrical Certificate and when is it necessary?

Electrical installations must be checked for continued service and safety every seven years for business premises and every 14 years for residences. This check is performed by an electrician, who then issues a certificate which is valid for a specific period of time, depending on whether it is for a residence or a place of work. The electrical certificate is submitted to the pertinent service of the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator.

 What are the obligations of a property seller?

For every property that is put up for sale there should be an engineer’s certificate stating dimensions, floor plans and whether any transgressions have been regularised. Any change in a property’s surface area often generates a discrepancy in the Single Ownership Property Tax (ENFIA) of previous years, which appears as an outstanding debt towards the tax office. These amounts must be paid so that a tax clearance certificate can be issued, since it is mandatory – along with a certificate of insurance – in order for the sale to be completed.

The ever-changing legal and tax environment, as well as overregulation in recent years often necessitate the help of an accountant, an engineer and a lawyer so that one can be sure they have completed all necessary formalities.