Notary public - Attorney
For the valid purchase of property in Greece it is mandatory that an agreement between the two parties (seller and buyer) is entered and signed before a Notary Public. When the value of the property exceeds certain amounts, the contract should be signed in the presence of an appointed attorney.
The notary public is responsible for the proper drafting of the purchase agreement and its registration in the public records. After the contract has been signed by both parties and their attorneys – when their presence is compulsory - the notary public prepares the file with the documentation required for the registration in the Registry of Mortgages – or the Land Registry Office, where available. Usually, the registration is carried out by the buyer himself or his attorney. The property passes on to the buyer only after the notarial deed has been filed and registered with the said authorities.
During a property transaction, both the seller and especially the buyer should be represented by an attorney. The presence of an attorney during the signing of the agreement is mandatory:
- when the property is located in the district of Athens and Piraeus and its value exceeds the amount of 29.347,02 Euros
- for properties located outside Athens or Piraeus, if their value exceeds the amount of 11.738,81 Euros.
The attorney of the buyer conducts a full search in the competent Registry of Mortgages or the Land Registry Office in order to ensure that:
- The seller is indeed the sole owner of the property and there are no claims raised from third parties with regard to the property in question.
- Previous transactions regarding the property have been performed in accordance with the Greek Civil Law.
- The property bears no encumbrances such as mortgages, pre –notations of mortgages etc.
- The seller has paid all property taxes.
According to the Greek legislation, in order for a person or a legal entity to be deemed as the owner of real property in Greece, a notarial deed should be registered in the competent Registry of Mortgages, where the property is located. Registry of Mortgages is a public authority operating in every municipality within the Greek State that registers and keeps all titles of property ownership under the name of the owner as well as any encumbrances on the property.
Lately, the Greek State has developed another system for land registration – “Land Registry System”, in which every property throughout the country is registered in a new state authority – “The Land Registry Office” - under a unique number for each property – “Land Registry Number”. For the time being the said system has been fully implemented in few municipalities, however within the nearest future it shall be introduced to every municipality in Greece.
As for foreign ownership, it should be noted that foreign citizens and foreign legal entities are forbidden to acquire property in areas near the borders of the Greek State, which (areas) have been strictly defined by Law 1892/90. The said restriction is more flexible for citizens or legal entities of EU members. In the last case, following an application by the interesting party to the prefecture where the property is located, the administration may authorize the acquisition.
Property transaction fees
The buyer is required to pay the following fees for the acquisition of the property:
- Notarial fees for drafting the contract, which are set to approximately 1,2 % of the value of the property. There are also additional charges for the issuance of copies of the contract.
- Legal fees for the attorney, which are set by the Bar Association.
- Tax for the property transaction, payable to the competent Tax Authority.
- Registration fee payable to the Registry of Mortgages or the Land Registry Office.
The above text is merely a short summary pointing out the basic issues of the Greek Property Law with respect to acquiring property. Under no circumstances, should it be regarded as legal advice. Prior to any property acquisition, please seek the professional guidance of an attorney.