Ten Tips for Finding Cheap Greek Property
So far, we have concentrated upon the higher end of the investment property market in Greece, but many people just want to own a second home in Greece, a place where they can come in the summer and relax for a couple of months. This is still possible in many areas, but buying budget property in Greece requires changing your mentality a little and playing the Greek game.
The Greek property market is very strange in that location is the most important factor in the market value of properties. For example, a pile of rocks on a decent sized plot on Mykonos will sell for more than a villa in Messinia. Prestige also plays a huge part and a house that can cost a few hundred thousand Euros in Sparta will cost a tenth of that just a few kilometres away. This discrepancy can be used to your advantage. If you are looking for a budget property in Greece, you can find some real bargains
Buying Budget Property in Greece
So, without any further ado, here are the Ten Tips for buying a house abroad in Greece.
- Seaviews are Expensive: Wherever you are, buying a property with a sea-view is going to be much more expensive. Moving a few kilometres inland, up in the mountains, can drop the price by over half and you can still drive to the sea.
- Cast the Net Further Afield: Look at the fringes of Greece, such as the Southern Peloponnese and Northern Greece. There, you can still find some genuine bargains and find a beautiful home for less than €50 000. These areas used to be very isolated, but infrastructural improvements have opened up most of Greece. The roads are now so good that many Greeks accidentally arrive at work on time.
- Invest in life, not profit: Budget properties can be fairly had to sell quickly so, unless you are prepared to take on a renovation property, you are not going to make a quick profit. Buying budget property in Greece is an investment in life, not a financial investment.
- Choose your Renovations Carefully: Renovation projects are always a good way to move onto the Greek property ladder, but do your research. For example, you may have the romantic notion of owning a traditional Greek stone house, but hiring stonemasons is extremely expensive and the raw materials are pricy. If you want to go down this route, you want a house that is structurally sound, with only interior work, doors and windows required.
- Self-Building is a Great Option: It may be more economical to look at a self-build property; with the depressed construction market, you should be able to negotiate a good price with a contractor. This way, you will only be looking at paying costs and taxes for the cost of the plot and the final tax burden, as VAT, will be on the taxable value of the house, which is much lower than the market value.
- Haggling, the Greek National Sport: Negotiate hard when you are buying budget property in Greece. Greeks love to haggle and you can significantly lower the price. At the end of the day, ignore the real estate agent’s patter about sudden interest because they desperately want you to pay top dollar; their fees are assessed as a percentage of the final price. The owner will give you the usual sob story about how the house has been in the family for generations, but granny needs money for an operation. That is not your problem, even in the unlikely event that it is actually true.
- Private Sales: Real estate agents in Greece, especially the thieves at Re/Max, vastly overprice houses. Greece revolves upon networking and word of mouth. If you rent a place in Greece for a couple of months and put the word out, you will be surprised at the amount of locals with property to sell at a price that will amaze you. However, with this approach, make sure that you have a top quality lawyer to go through the legal documents with a fine tooth-comb.
- Poverty is a State of Mind: If you are foreign, Greeks will always assume that you have a lot of money and will try to squeeze it out of you when you negotiate. Don’t flash expensive jewellery and watches about, dress in smart but casual clothes, and avoid carrying wads of money. Avoid talking about installing swimming pools or visiting car dealerships. Eventually, they will get the message that you are no better off than they. Put it this way, I know one millionaire who drives around in a battered old Ford Escort and buys his clothes from the infamous Chinese stores.
- Shift your Mentality: Relieve yourself of the Northern European/North American mentality. Once you start installing fitted kitchens, with granite countertops, you are looking at some serious money. Think functional and go for furniture that works, rather than the top of the range bespoke fittings. Quite seriously, one of my neighbours picked up some wonderful traditional Greek chairs from a skip. A little sandpaper and a touch of varnish and they are now a beautiful addition to the décor.
- Take your Time: As the Greeks say, siga-siga (slow, slow). Everything in Greece runs slowly, so don’t expect things to happen overnight. Make sure that you leave yourself plenty of time for finding a property and completing the formalities. There is a cheap budget property in Greece for you, but you have to be patient and look for the right one.
Buy A House Abroad: The Next Steps
The first stage of buying budget property in Greece is to arrange an overseas mortgage, if required. Once you know how much you have to spend, you can begin to look at properties within your budget, finding the professionals to make sure that your purchase runs smoothly.
Budget Property in Greece
If you follow these tips, you will be able to find your dream budget property in Greece, for very little money. Local houses in my area have sold for 30 000 to 50 000 Euros, before taxes, with about another 50% to fix them to a reasonable standard. We live up in the Greek mountains, amongst unique natural beauty and ancient history, and would not change it for the world.
If you are looking for the sun, sea and sand lifestyle, that might be stretching your finances. If you want a home a few minutes drive from the sea, amongst friendly people, traditional culture and rugged, unspoilt scenery, then buying budget property in Greece is possible.
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