Buying a Property in Cyprus
Cyprus has long been a popular destination for Expats looking to buy a property in the sun. Prior to the country’s economic difficulties up to 30,000 British expats owned a property on the island. Many expats now however are seeking to offload their properties in order to get away from the countries financial problems. Whilst this may be bad for those expats that are being forced to move elsewhere, it is good news for others looking for a property.
Due to the increase of properties going on the market house prices are set to decline. As stated previously, you should only consider immigrating to Cyprus if you have plenty of cash in reserve and are it is strongly advised that you do not move if you intend to work. For wealthy retirees however now is as good a time as any to invest in a Cypriot property, as long as you are prepared for the inevitable austerity measures that will soon be introduced.
Where to look
The best places to find properties for sale are the obvious places, such as in Cypriot Newspapers and magazines, property exhibitions, estate agents and the most useful by far, the internet.
Many sellers in the country tend to try and make private sales in order to avoid paying an estate agents commission. If you choose this option make sure you hire an experienced Cypriot lawyer in order to protect your interests.
When buying land or a property make sure that you check to see whether it is already covered by a mortgage. It is common practise for developers to take out mortgages on land or property in Cyprus. If it is the case that the property already has a mortgage then you is likely to become liable for it if the developer goes bankrupt. Several expats have fallen victim to this in the past. Make sure you hire a lawyer before entering any sales agreement and get them to check to see whether the property already has a mortgage against it.
Other potential issues include:
- Lawyers also acting for builders and vendors, therefore not being independent and raising the possibility of you being scammed.
- Adverse currency and interest rates affecting mortgage payments.
- Unauthorised or shoddy building work.
- Difficulty obtaining title deeds or problems resolving an identified issue with the property.
In all of the above cases make sure you hire a reliable independent lawyer to protect yourself. With the difficult economic situation the possibility of being scammed is sure to rise.
The only professionals legally qualified and permitted to give legal advice in Cyprus are lawyers, so don’t take legal advice from anyone else. Always go with a lawyer that is highly recommended and not just any old one.
Check the areas planning department
Your lawyer should be able to handle ensuring that your new property is safe to buy but their checks do not cover researching whether any new major developments are due to be built nearby to the property. It’s a good idea to check your chosen areas town planning department to see if any major construction projects such as new roads or motorways are due to be built in your area. Many a time has an expat moved into their dream home only to have the experience ruined once some new road is built right outside their front door.