The majority of people who want to purchase property here in North Cyprus are not necessarily seasoned property investors who know the ins and outs of the international property game, rather they are people like us who dream of holiday homes or retirement properties in the sun.
Based on our own personal experiences of buying a property here in North Cyprus, we at Essential Cyprus have put together this article as a quick run down of the buying process and some tips about where to find more information.
Firstly, our advice is come to North Cyprus with a fixed idea of your budget in mind, and always factor the purchase costs into your total budget as well because remember that you will have to pay for legal work, transfer of title, taxes and duties too. It is all too easy to just add on another few thousand pounds here and there when agents show you properties outside your budget range – so unless you have set your own terms in advance, you could struggle and overstretch yourself!
A pointer would be to ensure that any agent or property developer that you meet with knows that the budget you have set is all inclusive of costs and is fixed, as they will have a better idea of all the additional expenses involved and won’t waste time in showing you properties that exceed your budget.
Before your property hunting trip it’s also a good idea to do some research into the island and get some ideas about particular areas of the island that you may wish to buy a property in; if you have children for example then perhaps beachside locations are more attractive to you, if you’re after peace and seclusion then maybe mountain properties are more suitable? Whatever your personal preferences, it’s a good idea to advise your agent or developer in advance so that they can do some pre-searches for your particular requirements.
Also it’s a wise choice to see a few different agents and/or developers too, otherwise how on earth will you really know whether what you’re buying is good value and well built? Seriously – it truly pays to view more than one developer’s properties. Even if the first property you see is the one you end up buying, at least you’ll know that it was the best value, best quality property in Northern Cyprus.
As an individual or married couple you can buy one property and own up to one donum of land in Northern Cyprus. If you want to own more than this amount you will have to incorporate a limited company in Cyprus which has the requirement of a Turkish Cypriot partner owning a 51% share. There are ways to negate the effectiveness of the majority share, but this would require expert assistance and you’d be better off speaking to a lawyer when in the TRNC if this is something you want to explore.
If you’re really hoping to buy a property when you arrive then you will need to bring your cheque book with you because you will have to pay the fees of the solicitor you instruct, and you will also have to pay a deposit for the property you decide upon. Occasionally the solicitor and property vendor, developer or estate agent in North Cyprus will be happy to accept a bank transfer once you’ve returned home, but if you have a cheque book then bring it – it’ll be simpler and less stressful!
Also it’s perfectly acceptable to negotiate on the price or indeed on some additional fixtures and fittings to be included in the purchase. Often you will find that properties come with white goods included, but you can also ask for an outside barbeque to be added, or perhaps a few air con units! In our opinion, the harder you negotiate the better, after all, agents and developers do want to sell their properties and if they have to reduce their profit margins a little, so what!
With the negotiations out of the way and your budget having been met, it’s time to sign the contract! You need to appoint a lawyer and give him or her power of attorney to act in your absence to apply for your permission to purchase and do all the title deed checks and land registry searches. As a foreign purchaser you are also required to obtain a report from your local police station back home confirming that you do not hold any serious criminal convictions – your lawyer will explain the details of this requirement to you.
There are many good lawyers operating in North Cyprus, with most having English, German and even Russian speaking staff these days, but do some research first by talking to other property buyers and reading some of the recommendations on forums, (beware though that one persons experience is sometimes not the same as another’s, so take opinions, whether they are good or bad as just that, opinions!)
Usually a client will provide their appointed lawyer with a power of attorney which will enable the lawyer to proceed with the property purchase in their absence. This is nothing to worry about as you will not be signing your life away, and this is a formality that most property purchasers are happy to do based upon the fact that they won’t be residing full time in North Cyprus during the buying process.
The lawyer will normally email or post the purchase contract to you when complete, and will not sign it on your behalf until you are happy that you are completely at ease with its contents. You may find that a contract will be ready for you to sign a day or so after you have decided to purchase. It’s not unusual as a developer often holds a standard contract, which the lawyer will can then run through and make any minor adjustments or alterations where necessary.
Don’t be afraid of asking a stupid question – there’s no such thing, there are only stupid answers! And if you don’t ask you may feel uncomfortable about the decisions you’ve made and that’ll make the buying process unpleasant – which it shouldn’t be.
Having asked everything, made sure you’re happy with the payment schedule if buying off plan and with the proposed completion date, it’s time to put pen to paper and sign the contract. Make sure you read and understand every word of the contract you’re signing and then expect to have to hand over a cheque for the deposit or to have 14 – 21 days to make the first payment.
Properties in North Cyprus are very competitively priced for a Mediterranean country, and with its inimitable climate, relaxing pace of life and atmosphere, it’s a great place to own a property. Prices are usually set in pounds sterling, so it’s an added bonus given the continual fluctuations in exchange rates!
And that’s it! It’s not difficult – the only hard part is choosing which property to purchase in the first place! If you would some initial help then why not try our North Cyprus Property Referral Service which can assist in finding the right property for you and can offer practical help and assistance on all things North Cyprus.