Last update01:19:34 PM

Back You are here: Home Legal and Finance Finance Property Buying Mistakes Which Cost

Property Buying Mistakes Which Cost

Although the credit crunch seems is in full swing, the appetite for buying property in the Greek Islands seems little diminished. The British and Irish alone have nearly 4 million overseas properties and experts predict that this will grow enormously over the next five years: then there are the other foreign buyers, on top of which is a heavy influx of Russians, Germans and Scandanivians. If you're thinking of becoming a Greek Island property buyer we take a look at ten costly buying mistakes which are most frequently made when buying overseas.

If you're considering Greek property, here's a checklist of what to look out for to make sure it doesn't cost you tons of money on top.

Wrong location

Not every spot in the Greek Islands is going to be especially profitable. Always look carefully at an area to see if the locals are also driving future growth. If the locals are buying there, then the property market is sustainable. Consider the location with sharp eyes and reflect upon what will ensure its continued success. Many people have bought in a village only to discover a couple of months later that the place down the road was so much better. Don't commit until you are sure there is the possibility for long term growth and profit.

Wrong property

Look at the overall market position. If there is an oversupply of apartments, then don't buy an apartment. Consider where demand exists and buy there. Were you only looking at where you'd put the kitchen or sleep the kids, rather than considering that you really need four bedrooms when the property only had two?

Tax means money

Remember your tax liability at home. If you resell your property in the islands or have a rental income from the property, then you'll have to pay tax on profits and capital gains tax. Add this into your calculations.

Title deeds

Get a lawyer who will act for you only - not the agent or developer. Title deeds must be very carefully checked to ensure that it is clear if the vendor has the right to sell you the property. In Greece, with inheritance laws, it is possible for many family members to own a property jointly. They must all agree to sell the property before it can be sold to you.


It is common place to think Greece has the same inheritance laws as in your own country, particularly as it is part of the EU. This is not the case. It is also unlikely that your Greek Island property will be covered by your UK will. You may think that your property will pass to your spouse when you die but actually, because of inheritance laws, the property is likely to be divided up among many members of your family.


Currency fluctuations will have an impact on you if you are not inside the euro zone. When you sign your preliminary contract on your new home, the price may translate at that time into, say, 80,000 pounds. However, when you come to sign the final deeds, the price, due to fluctuations in exchange rates, may have risen to 88,000 pounds. Avoid nasty surprises like this and talk to specialist currency brokers about how to offset negative currency fluctuations.

Tax Liability in the Greek Islands

Property tax, capital gains tax, income tax, inheritance tax... check all these out before you buy so that you are fully informed as to any taxes you may have to pay.

Selling on

Many buyers never consider what might happen when they resell their Greek property. It's all well and good buying a property and thinking you'll make a profit when you come to resell. But what if you can't sell it ? When buying, think long term about resale when the time comes.

Happiness is an independent professional

Don't buy without having your own independent lawyer, who will act solely in your own interests. Ensure they are experienced in property and that they speak English as well as Greek. In the UK you wouldn't dream of buying a house without having your own solicitor, why would you do differently elsewhere?

Local advice

If you were buying a property in Cornwall, would you use an agent based in Ireland? Not at all! So endeavour to find an agent who has representation on the island you have chosen, particularly in the area you want to buy in. This source of local knowledge will be invaluable to you.

The above are the ten most common and the most expensive mistakes when buying property in overseas. Common sense and thinking about your property purchase in the same way you would at home will mean that you won't go far wrong.

Get an independent lawyer, take your time and trust your own personal good instincts.