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Old Property on the Greek Islands

Greece is still a property hot spot for those who want to build a new life or own a second home in this established holiday destination.  Years of tourism, relaxed ex-pat property ownership laws and a cost of living still well below that of most European countries mean that Greece is a tempting place to put down your property roots and if you are looking for something rural and authentic rather than a new build, the islands hold many treasures.

Like many countries with a thriving ex-pat property market, there some great bargains to be had if one chooses to buy off plan.  Whilst this appeals to a certain market, it is the older properties, whitewashed and cool against the glittering sea and endless blue skies, which truly sum up all that is attractive about Greece, but it’s worth remembering that renovation projects are a gamble and can cost around double the purchase price and often exceeds the cost of a new build.

That said, your lovingly restored Greek idyll is more likely to appeal to fellow ex-pats than the locals.  Ironically Greeks value the chic and modern properties, which tend to be bigger and built to today's high specification than the older properties.  In general a traditional stone built older property will be around 50 -75 sq m. Toilets and bathrooms are likely to be added on later if at all.

Points to Consider

When you have found your dream home, take these important facts into consideration:

Check the infrastructure; are the surrounding roads suitable for the transportation of your building and renovation materials? Many old stone properties were built well before the road system was introduced to the islands and some of them are tucked away on dirt tracks that only a donkey and cart could reach. Thus, the delivery of larger renovation items will be affected by your property's location.

Many older properties are usually owned by several members of a family passed down through generations according to Greek inheritance laws, which for locals mean that everyone gets a share and this can slow your purchase considerably if clean title is hard to establish.

Balance the cost of renovation against the likely value of the property once finished and don’t bite off more than you can chew. A renovation does not mean a quick lick of paint and waving the magic wand of the house doctor; it is hard work and many aspects require specialist skills.


North western Crete is often the first choice for those wanting a Greek property.  It offers good airport links and fine weather. There is a variety of older buildings here and most require a significant level of renovation. Entry costs start at around £55,000. However renting the property out once completed is a sound option as many fellow tourists want to recreate a traditional Greek way of life whilst on holiday.


Finding old stone properties to renovate over on the island of Samos can prove somewhat difficult if you are not very knowledgeable in the Greek language – there are not many English-speaking estate agents here to make your search easy and you will need to raise your budget if you intend on making Samos the base for your rustic retreat; prices here are much higher than on some of the neighbouring islands although there are still some bargains to be had if you are prepared to take on a derelict property; a large derelict stone house in Mitilini village costs a mere £25,000, otherwise prices jump to around £115,000 for a stone house with land in need of some renovation and rises even higher to £250,000 for old, two bedroom properties in Heraion on the southern coast. Traditional two-storey, stone houses in Agios Konstantinos cost around £170,000 and still need renovation. If you want something where the refurbishment has been taken care of yet the old Greek style remains look to pay in the region of £310,000.


Like Crete this popular holiday resort has an established market and its fair share of secluded villages for those who want to get away from the tourist bustle.  Many refurbished older properties are here as well as untouched stone buildings.  The ready holiday market makes Rhodes a popular choice thanks.

Buying property on the Greek Islands is a well established process and there are plenty of English speaking agents who operate both in and out of Greece.  Old or new, the choice of property is vast and most will be sold freehold and thankfully do not have the 'land grab' clauses, which have turned many dream holiday retreats into living nightmares - particularly in Spain.  Unlike many other European resorts, there is an absence of over developed high-rise complexes. An older property offers potential owners the chance to put their stamp onto it and create their own dream home with all the character an aged building affords.  What's more, the locals will be pleased that you are putting something back in to the area.