Unlike many of the islands, the Peloponnese has always been a simple and straightforward area to buy in. On
completion the property becomes yours freehold to be passed on to your heirs whether or not you make a Greek
will. Death duties on houses up to the tax value of about €130,000 can be avoided by a ‘Parental Gift’ of the
theoretical ownership of the property to your children, best done as soon as possible after purchase, as the
value of the property will inevitably increase.
It is to your advantage to put down a deposit if you find a property you wish to buy. It fixes the agreed price within
a time limit (usually not more than two months) and can be done formally in front of the Notary Public, or
informally with a hand-written agreement in both languages, signed by both parties. This informal agreement is
free, but it takes longer to get your money back should something go wrong. Should the vendor renege on the
deal he must return twice the deposit, should the buyer renege he loses his deposit. If the sale falls through
because the search reveals problems previously unknown, the deposit is returned. The deposit varies with the
vendor, but 10% is usual.
As the Greek authorities require evidence that moneys for purchase from a Greek vendor were legally imported
and then exchanged (the famous Pink Slip) and as the sale is usually in euros, it is recommended you transfer
the price agreed plus tax etc. in its sterling equivalent to your sterling account in a Greek bank - I can help you
set one up. Most British high street banks can telex the money to your account in a couple of days, and you get
a better rate of exchange in Greece. People from another euro country simply get a certificate of having legally
imported funds into their euro account in Greece. HOWEVER as more and more sales nowadays are from
foreigners to foreigners, you can transfer the price of the house abroad - only the relatively small amounts for
tax, lawyers etc., must come to your Greek account.
Under Greek law a qualified surveyor’s plan of the size and boundaries of the property must be submitted to the
tax office before a tax assessment can be made. This can be done in a week and costs around €400. This is
normally paid by the vendor.
Tax PROPERTY PURCHASE TAXES HAVE CHANGED - FOR THE BETTER!
Before you can proceed officially, you must have a tax reference number and clearance from the Greek Inland
Revenue that you don’t owe Greek income tax. A one off ‘purchase tax’ must be paid to the Greek government
before the property can exchange hands. In the Peloponnese this is calculated a 3% of the price of the house.
(It used to be 10%!) There is also a small stamp tax of 3% of that tax. Recently it has been made compulsory for
every house owner to complete yearly income tax returns; however providing you have your Pink Slips from the
sale this does not involve paying tax unless your house has a tax value of over €160,000 (rare in the Mani - the
tax value is a bit like the rateable value in the UK and nothing like the market price.) There’s an English
accountant living locally who can help you with the forms for a very small fee.
You choose your lawyer, who must be registered in the county you are buying in. I can recommend three or four
English-speaking ones, or you could contact the British Bar Council or the Greek Embassy to recommend one.
The lawyer’s job is to check the title deeds in the Property Registry, make sure the property is unencumbered
and that the contract is water -tight. The lawyer's fee varies depending on the amount of work they have had to
do but there is always a minimum of €1,000 which has to be paid direct to the Bar Council.
Each district has a government-appointed Notary Public, who is usually in charge of the Property Registry for
that district and who draws up the contracts of sale, witnesses the signatures and payment and registers the
new ownership. Again their fee depends on the value of the property, but is around 2% with the registration fee.
The original deeds will be kept in the Property Registry; you get an official copy covered in coloured stamps.
The whole process can be completed in 48 hours if the vendor understands the system and has everything he