Buying Property in Athens – things to know about investing in the capital
The unique metropolitan lifestyle and the proximity to many Greek islands makes Athens an appealing option for local and foreign property buyers.
Buying property in Athens has never been more enticing.
It’s a city blessed by the gods with its crystal blue coastline, magical sunsets and mountainous landscape.
Greece has traditionally been a nation of home owners who proudly pass-on their properties to their children.
The resent economic crisis forces many to sell properties they can’t maintain.
With low residential prices and high yielding short-term rental income, investment from overseas buyers have surged in recent years, allowing many to make true their dream of owning a summer holiday house in Greece.
Why Athens and why now?
Athens offers an easy lifestyle against the backdrop of a buzzing and dynamic city that is steeped in history and legacy. The harsh economic climate has seen some positive change and exciting developments in food, art and culture, providing a much more rounded urban experience and making it one of the most exciting cities in Europe right now.
The sea and its southern coastline of Blue-Flag beaches are easily reached from the center, as are the many hills you can climb to admire its beautiful landscape from above.
Central Athens is built around the Acropolis.
The newly built Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center has been the most ambitious cultural and architectural project to date. The €617 million development by the prominent Greek shipping family was the largest donation made to the city so far.
Many central suburbs are in the midst of a reboot too, as gentrification takes hold in various pockets around town. The southern coastal districts from Piraeus to Vouliagmeni will get a boost thanks to recent plans to transform the major shipping and passenger terminal of the Port of Piraeus and its surrounding area. Plans are also in place to finally resurrect the former Athens airport near Glyfada, into a modern hub of residences, retail and leisure facilities.
The urban sprawl of Athens
Be prepared and do your homework
It goes without saying that you should find a reputable team of professionals to guide you through the purchasing process. You’ll need a Lawyer to protect your rights and a notary to transfer the property to your name.
When purchasing existing property, it’s also wise to have an engineer conduct an independent inspection to make sure your property is structurally sound and complies with relevant laws and regulations.
Property transfer Fees
- Buyers tax fee 3% .
- Greek tax file number (equivalent to a social security number): no fee
- Real Estate Agency fees are usually between 2-2.5 % of the final purchase price.
- Notary and Lawyer fees can be a fixed fee but no more than 1% each on the contract value.
- All above are subject to 24% VAT/GST.
An expert’s advice
Property consultant, George Sagirakis from National Real Estate has assisted many overseas buyers through the paperwork and overcoming language barriers to purchasing Real Estate in Athens and all around Greece.
We asked George to get his expertise and experience on buying property and Visa in Greece.
Q: George, as a property consultant, how can you assist overseas buyers wanting to invest in property and in obtaining the Golden Visa?
A: We usually come in when the client needs help to find a property or has decided on buying a property or has narrowed down options of properties they are interested in.
We all know that buying a property, either as an investment or to leave in, is going to be one of the most careful decisions we make and you should not throw good money away on an emotional decision or a decision made by ignorance.
Buying good property means to gather as much information as possible in advance, in order to make an educated decision and make sure that you get Value for Money.
Q: Where do people commonly find properties advertised for sale in Athens?
A: The most common methods are through Real Estate Agents or privately advertised properties. Walk-by signage is also great idea providing you have available time. We advice potential buyers to walk or drive around neighborhoods at different times of the day.
Athens, a city of rooftop living.
Q: What is a realistic time frame for someone from overseas coming to Athens to buy a place? Do they need to be physically present the entire time?
A: The time required to view, inspect, negotiate and close a property is more or less the same as in any country.
Property Buyers may appoint a specialist Lawyer or a Real Estate Broker to do all is required. Overseas buyers don’t have to be physically present in Greece for the documentations.
Q: What are the usual steps to buy a property in Greece?
A: A deposit of 2-10 per cent (depending on the type of property and its value) is usually required. When an agreement has been reached, the seller should provide all legal and technical documents required by the Law.
Signed contracts will be lodged to the local Registry Office in your name/s as well as at the Hellenic Cadastre Office.
Property owners no longer have to obtain a permit for minor repairs or upgrades. In some cases when an apartment is located in a building of historical heritage, the process can become more complicated and restrictive. This is one more reason why it’s a good idea for buyers to consider appointing an architect-engineer before purchasing property, as they can potentially help quantify in advance, the cost and time involved to renovate a place.
Renting a property
Short-term or holiday rental income must be declared as if one were renting to a long-term tenant. Owners must now declare the property, names of renters and the duration of the lease.
George Sagirakis was born and raised in Greece. He moved to Australia where he lived and worked in the retail and construction industry for over 22 years. He is now based in Athens and is a licensed Realtor. His second office is in Limassol, Cyprus.
George provides consulting services for Real Estate and renovations matters in Greece and Cyprus. All property management services are handled by registered Attorneys and/or Accountants.
George is experienced in Real Estate marketing, buying/selling/rending as well as renovating residential and commercial properties, as well as assisting with all property-related matters such as obtaining certificates and permits.
You can contact George directly via this website.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided is general and should therefore NOT be considered as advice or consultation to act upon. Links to third-party websites do not constitute an endorsement or recommendation of products and services.