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 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 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.
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 €300. This is
normally paid by the vendor.
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 at 8% of the first €20,000 of the
taxable value of the property, per buyer, and 10% of the rest. So for example if a couple buy a house valued at
€50,000 they would pay 8% of €20,000 (€1,600) plus 10% of the remaining €30,000 (€3,000) which makes a
total of €4,600. There is also a small stamp tax of 3% of that tax - in this example that would be €138. The
‘taxable value’ of a house is a bit like the rateable value in Britain - it is based on location, size, condition and the
tax paid by previous buyers in the village. The exact amount is battled out in the local tax office, but normally is
less than the price you actually pay the vendor. 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) . 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. A lawyer is compulsory in any sale of over about €11,000 and their fee
varies depending on the amount of work they have had to do but there is always a minimum of 1.3% 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, 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 once the search and the topographical have been made and
the money and tax clearance have arrived.