A Step-by-Step Guide
Buying a House in Greece

Athens News-Property
By Vanessa Tsourides

This article will guide the reader through the process of buying property in Greece. The first part will outline the process. The second part details many of the fees and expenses an interested buyer may expect to incur when buying real property in Greece.The third part highlights other issues of special interest that arise in conjunction with buying and owning property in Greece.
By no means is this article exhaustive.

Its purpose is to provide a general overview of the process and the laws currently governing these matters in Greece. It should also be noted that a general overhaul of the applicable tax legislation is expected in the near future.

Selecting the property

A person interested in buying real property in Greece will conduct the market research required to find the property. In Greece buyers often use real-estate brokers. Additionally, one may review relevant newspaper ads, where interested sellers often list their property. Having chosen the property (in this article the use of the word "property" will always refer to "real property"), the recommended first step is to hire an attorney.


Greek law requires that a buyer hire an attorney when the value of the property to be bought exceeds €29,347.03 for the Attica region, and €11,738.81 for all other areas. The purpose of this legal requirement is to protect the buyer. For this exact reason, it is recommended that an attorney be hired in all cases.

In Greece, it is lawyers who conduct title searches. Title searches are conducted at the relevant land registry, which is determined by the location of the property. The attorney typically reviews title documents covering at least a twenty-year period. The attorney also reviews the special and separate records maintained for any and all encumbrances that may burden the property. These liens and encumbrances include mortgages and pre-mortgages, title contests, attachments etc.

Depending on the type of property being purchased (ie whether it is a plot of land, a home or an apartment, the size and the location of the property etc) there are other matters that may also need to be researched.These may relate to the archaeological, authority, the forestry department, the building authority [poleodomia], the water company or relevant ministry for existing or covered-over riverbeds etc. It is also important to find outwhether a house is historic and therefore protected by law. These are examined on a case-by-case basis. It may be the attorney whowill look into some of these matters. For others,a civil engineer is required.

Civil engineers

A civil engineer may be hired to review a specific plot of land to ensure that the boundaries of the land do conform with the description of the property in the title documents. A civil engineer may also be hired to review the relevant laws on what may be built in any particular area where specific laws and restrictions may be in place (relating to style of home/structure, permissible height of structure, how much one may build and where on the property, zoning laws on uses of land etc), and how those apply to the plot the buyer wants to acquire.

Notaries public

Once it has been determined that the buyer wishes to proceed with the purchase, the sales document itself will be drafted by a notary public. As per article 369 of the Greek Civil Code, contracts relating to real property (such as a purchase document) must be drafted and executed by and before a notary public. It should be noted that in Greece, notaries public are lawyers who receive an additional license in order to be permitted to establish a notarial practice. Once licensed as notaries, they no longer practice law. Once the sales document is signed by the parties (buyer, seller, notary, attorneys etc), it should be forwarded as soon as possible to the relevant land registry, to be filed as mandated by article 1192 of the Greek Civil Code. This is extremely important as title willr vest in the buyer only upon such registration with the relevant land registry (article 1199 of the Greek Civil Code).

In the areas where the National Land Registry [Ethniko Ktimatologio] has taken effect, this too must be addressed. For the areas currently included in the National Land Registry, you may refer to www.ktimatologio.gr

Taxes and other fees

In Greece, the transfer taxes due in the case of a purchase of property are borne by the buyer. As per applicable law, in the areas where there exists a fire department, the tax rate is set at 9 percent for a value of up to €15,OOO and at 11 percent for the value above and beyond this amount. There are circumstances that may decrease these tax rates.

Transfer Taxes must be paid before the execution of the sales contract at the notary public.

Bar Association fees

Article 37 par 1 of law 2915/2001 sets the value above which a lawyer must be retained to appear and be a signatory to a notarial document. These limits are: €29,347.03 for the areas of the Athens and Piraeus Bar Associations, and €11,738.81 for the areas of all other bar associations of Greece. Article 37 par 2 provides the following rates that must be paid to the bar association:

Up to the value of €44,020.5429--- 1%

From a value of €44,020.5458 through €1,467,351.4306 --- 0.5%

From a value of €1,467,351.4336 through €2,934,702.8613--- 0.4%

From a value of €2,934,702.8642 through €5~869,405.7226--- 0.3%

From a value of €5,869,405.7256 through €14,673,514.3066--- 0.2%

From a value of €l4,673,514.3096 through €29,347,028.6133--- 0.1%

From a value of €29,347,028.6162 through €58,694,057.2267--- 0.05%

From the remaining value above €58,694,057.2296--- 0.01%

Thus, for the first €44,020.55 of the property's value, the bar association fee is €440 (ie 1%). For the value of the property above €44,020.55 and up until €l,467,351, the bar association fee would be calculated at a rate of 0.5%. Bar association fees must be paid before the execution of the sales contract at the notary. If the presence of the attorney is required (as per Article 37 par 1 of law 2915/2001 above then each contracting party - both the buyer and the seller - must each pay these fees for their respective attorneys.

Capital gains tax

It should be noted that, currently, Greek law does not provide for a capital gains tax for the seller. In fact, upon sale of property, the seller pays no taxes (transfer taxes or capital gains taxes), no notary fee, no land registry fee.

Notary public & land registry fees

These too are determined on a sliding scale, based on the value listed in the notarial document (sales agreement). As a general rule of thumb, one should expect to pay approximately 2 percent in notary public & landregistry fees.

Real-estate brokers

In Greece, real-estate brokers generally charge 2 percent of the market price to each of the parties, ie to both the seller and the buyer (provided such person is their client). The real-estate broker's fee is a matter of private agreement between the broker and the client.

Attorney fees

The mandatory amount that must be paid for attorneys fees is included in paragraph 2 above, and must be paid, as a bar association fee, prior to the execution of the sales contract at the notary public. The attorney's fee is a matter of private agreement between the attorney and the client.


Greek tax number - AFM

In order to buy property in Greece, the buyer must have a Greek tax number. It is much like a social security number in the US. It is assigned once, for life, and must, once issued, be thereafter always provided to the tax authorities for any and all transactions with the tax authorities.

A non-Greek resident may execute a power of attorney so that their attorney-in-fact will be able to appear in Greece before the relevant tax authority and request the issuance of the tax number. In addition to holding this (valid) power of attorney, the attorney-in-fact should also have a copy of the person's passport.

The tax authority forms to be filled out when requesting the issuance of a Greek tax number are the Ml and M7 tax forms. For the tax number to be issued, all information contained in these tax forms must be filled in, including first and last name, father's first and last name, mother's first name and maiden name, date and place of birth etc. It should also be noted that the non-Greek resident must designate a person resident in Greece as his/her representative in Greece, to receive all communication from the tax authorities on his/her behalf.

Justification of source of funds

When a person buys property in Greece, in the year following the purchase, the buyer must file an income tax return to declare the property in the E9 tax form. Additionally, in this same document, the buyer must declare the source of the funds used to buy the property in Greece. For those who are permanent residents outside Greece, one way to satisfy this requirement is to show that the funds were wire-transferred into Greece from abroad. Thedocument that is generally used to establish this fact is the "pink slip" issued by banks (in Greek, for the bank, this would be themonadiki veveosi agoras sinallagmatos).

Income tax filing

Owning property in Greece may, in some cases, also create the obligation to file an annual income tax return.

Large property holdings tax filing - FMAP

Everyone, independent of nationality or place of residence, must file the tax filing for large property holdings (FMAP) if such person'sreal property holdings / interests in Greece have a value higher than €243,600 for those who are single, and €487,200 for those who are married. These are the limits currently in place for property owned as of January 1, 2005.


Obtaining a loan to purchase property is becoming more and more common in Greece.This is a matter that must be negotiated directly with the private credit institution.

Border regions

There are certain areas of Greece that have been designated as "border regions" (paramethoria periohl). In order to buy property in these areas, one must apply for and receive the permission from the relevant state committee. Samos, Hios, Lesvos (Mytilini), Skyros and Santorini (Thira) are all among these areas.

Vanessa Tsourides is an attorney at law (licensed to practise in New York, USA & in Athens, Greece). For further inquiries and information ring 210-800-1810 or e-mail vanessa.tsourides@otenet.gr

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