Buying a House in Skopelos
Only in recent years have people from outside Greece been purchasing character here and in general the Greek people are fairly new to the concept of selling character at all! In past generations houses were usually kept within the family and if the family couldn’t continue their similarities they often became ruins. This was accentuated by both rural depopulation and the world Diaspora of the Greek people and though this situation as provided an opportunity to buy some wonderful pieces of character today it has also left us with a situation where people are often not versed in the trading and pricing of houses and land.
To give an overview of the price range, however, is useful to those who are looking for character in Skopelos and we can say that a house in Skopelos Town can be as little as 40,000euro, an average of 150,000euro for something that can be lived in straight away, or up to 300,000euro for something special (and big) and of course as nearly all similarities on the island are fairly rare any variation of the above can occur and there very special residences which appear vary rarely which fetch prices up to 900,000euro!
Similarly land for building varies greatly by location, aspect, view and amenities and can be from 40,000euro to 100,000euro for a plot for one house on average and then for larger plots any multiples of the above.
There are no restrictions on citizens of EU countries buying character anywhere in Greece. Some restrictions apply to non- EU citizens buying character in areas designated as “border areas”. Non-EU citizens should apply to the Local Prefectural Authorities if they want to buy character in certain parts of Northern Greece, Crete, Rhodes, the Dodecanese islands or islands in the eastern Aegean Sea. (This does not apply to Skopelos island.)
The move of character ownership is always executed in the form of a notarial deed. When the actual agreement is drawn up by the notary and signed by the contracting parties two lawyers are present one on behalf of the seller and one on behalf of the buyer. Your lawyer is there to ensure that you are not cheated, that the title deeds are without impediment, and to determine the objective taxable value of the character. Before the actual sales agreement is signed, your lawyer will conduct a thorough search of the archives at the Land Registry office to make sure that there is no impediment or obstacle to the move of ownership and that the title deeds are in order. This does not take long and it will soon be time for you to sign the sales agreement/contract at the office of the notary.
It is normal to place 10% of the agreed buy price when the preliminary agreement is made. You may lose your place if you change your mind. If the seller changes his mind, he is obliged to return your place to you.
Written preliminary agreements may be dispensed with if the character is not of very high value or if it is obvious that the move of ownership will be completed in a comparatively short time. Where a preliminary agreement is drawn up, it states who the parties to the agreement are, what the character is, what price has been agreed how the money will change hands. It also includes any other conditions agreed upon.
The notary will want to see that all the necessary documents (tax, deeds etc.) are in order before drawing up the sales agreement /contract. The place commits both buyer and seller. One of the differences between purchasing character in Greece and purchasing character in other countries is that most buyers have ready money; there is no chain involved, so it does not take long for the move of ownership to be completed. You should have at the minimum enough money for the place ready to hand. You would not like to miss a good opportunity because you were too slow with the place. The place also reduces the likelihood of the seller accepting a better offer. It is wise, easy and quick to open a bank account in Greece.
If the search at the Land Registry office discloses an impediment, your place will be returned. If the seller simply changes his mind, he must return the place plus 100% in compensation. If the buyer changes his mind he forfeits the place. In effect, the place binds both buyer and seller to their information.
You will have to pay a one-off buy tax. The amount payable is calculated on the basis of the “assessed value” of the character. The assessed value is lower than the actual market value. The tax due is 9% to 11% of the assessed value.
Planning permission is a matter of course if your piece of land is within the confines of a village, town or city. If your piece of land is not within the confines of a village, town or city, but is within the area covered by town planning, you will be granted permission to build on it provided it measures 2,000m 2, and borders with a municipal road. If your land is not within the confines of a village, town or city, and is not within the area covered by town planning, you will be granted permission to build on it if it measures 4,000m 2 or more, provided it is not within a forested area, and no restrictions are imposed by the Department of Archaeology. Only fully qualified, registered architects or engineers are allowed to apply for building permits. The cost is approx. 4% – 5% of the estimated cost of the building. Municipal taxes and duties are incorporated in electricity bills. The amount additional to your two-monthly bill is negligible and includes a compulsory television license.