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Financial Pitfalls When Buying

Quest Greek Islands investigates some of the most common financial pitfalls when buying Greek property and how to mitigate these. With some careful research and consideration you can ensure you do not lost a centime of your hard-earned money and make a wise property investment.

You can never do enough research. Take your time and investigate thoroughly.

The internet is a really useful tool and sometimes you will find the same property offered with different agents and considerably varying prices. Regarding estate agents - look for longevity, if they have been in business for some years, they must be doing a good job.

If you are buying off-plan look very carefully at any finished properties they have and examine what the price actually includes. Whatever you do, be ready to buy but don't be rushed. Do as you would do at home and don't be blinded by sunbeams and blue skies.


Consider carefully why you are buying the property. If it is going to be a permanent move, is the location going to be suitable in the winter months. For those retiring to the islands, amenities and facilities on hand are a must, so check them out. Where are the nearest doctors and shops?

Legal issues

You should appoint your own independent lawyer. Do not rely on the lawyer recommended by the agent for obvious conflicts of interest. Your lawyer is vital to you regarding your property transaction and will act in your interests. There is a list on the British Embassy site of lawyers on the Greek Islands.

Initial or preliminary contracts. If things go wrong during the buying process, it is this contract which will be referred to. You must understand this contract, so get it fully translated by a registered translator in order that you know exactly what it says. Too many have been caught out by not reading and understanding the initial contract and come to rue it later in the day. If your purchase is reliant upon your receiving a mortgage, ensure a clause is included in this contract that the sale will only be concluded subject to your obtaining such finance.

So, you want that old house

If you are looking at property with a view to renovation, then be aware of the potential complications regarding planning premissions and building requirements.  You will need an architect who will ensure you meet the strict building legislation on the isles. Make sure you only employ Greek registered tradesmen. Not only to be able to get proper invoices for the works but also because only registered trades people can provide the correct certification for certain items, such as water and electricity. Be prepared that renovations, as a rule of thumb, are likely to cost twice what you pay for the property, so plan for this in your budget.

Talking of water and electric - beware prices of utility connections. If the property is remote, it can cost thousands if additional pylons are needed to get electricity to your home. Ditto with telephone and water connections. If you are purchasing off-plan, check that the cost of connecting utilities is actually included in the price and is included in the contract.


If you are buying property purely as an investment, 'buy to let', then do not rely on rentals to cover your mortgage. Rental income can never be guaranteed. Remember that to rent your property you should obtain a licence from the Greek National Tourism Organisation.

Financial issues

Don't pay cash. Always transfer funds bank to bank and make a note on the paying slip what the money is for. This way, you'll always have a paper trace.

When you buy your property, you register for a Greek Tax Number and once this is given you to you must submit a yearly tax return in Greece, even if you are not resident there. It does not matter whether you have made any money or have any revenue in Greece, this return still have to be submitted. Finding a local accountant will be very beneficial as they can advise you on your personal circumstances.