9 need-to-know tips for buying a property in Turkey
1. You need clear objectives
Are you planning to live in the property? Rent it out? Or will it be an investment? The answers to these questions will affect which property - and which part of Turkey - is right for you. Not every property is a good investment, and not all properties are ideal rental homes. Options seem limitless when you don’t know the country well, and it’s difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. Call us to talk about your options.
2. Keep your options open
While it seems obvious only a visit can really do a property justice, a number of people do fall in love with pictures of a sun-drenched villa and then are disappointed when their expectations fall flat. Conversely, that two-bed apartment you discounted at first glance might well look very different upon viewing. Keep an open mind when it comes to buying property, and view a variety of homes.
3. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is
Even in Turkey, where property is still inexpensive, if that low-cost villa or apartment seems too good to be true, it’s probably because it is.
A number of properties on the market lack the correct paperwork - for example, zoning and planning permissions, which means you’ll be unable to get a TAPU (title deed). When the owner of an illegally built property wants to offload it, they’ll often target foreigners, knowing that they have little knowledge of the law. A good agent will not have these properties on their books.
4. Not every agent is a bona fide agent
The property market in Turkey is booming, and real estate agents are popping up like mushrooms. Walk around your average resort town and you’ll see more agents than you can poke a stick at. Some last for a season, some make it to two years, but few go the distance. Choose a reputable agent who has been around. They’ll know the market and have the contacts to get the best deals - with reliable developers and owners.
Worse than the here-today-gone-tomorrow agents are the chancers: people you’ll meet with an unmissable bargain to present. This might be a waiter at your hotel, or a friendly person you meet in the street who has an apartment for sale at a knockdown price. Avoid at all costs - this person will be selling an illegal property, or an off plan home that will never see the light of day.
5. It’s not compulsory to have a lawyer - but it’s a good idea
An independent lawyer could cost up to £1000 - but will be worth their weight in gold. They’ll check your future property is legally built and has all its permissions, and that no money is owing on it. They’ll make sure everything’s above board and will apply for military clearance on your behalf, and they’ll keep you up-to-speed on the buying process.
Ask us for a list of trusted professionals, or have a look on your consulate website for accredited solicitors.
6. You can negotiate
Turks love to haggle, and buying property is no exception. A good agent will negotiate for you - and an established agent will most likely get a better deal than you can on your own as they will have relationships with the local developers.
It’s not only the price that is up for debate, but added extras as well. Some developers and private sellers will include furniture, and some might be up for renegotiating terms - such as the payment schedule and guarantees.
7. You can make a few changes
Want three smaller bedrooms instead of two large ones? Want to add an extra WC? Hate the colour of the kitchen? Check with your agent or your developer and find out what they can do. If they are keen to make a sale they might just accommodate you. Of course, this is much easier when you’re buying off plan, but a few tweaks are also possible with new builds. Give it a shot: if you don’t ask, you’ll never know.
8. You’ll need a translator
Even with the services of an English-speaking lawyer, it’s imperative you translate all documents pertaining to a potential purchase. Translator services are available in every larger centre, find one who is familiar with the ins and outs of property purchases. Your agent should have a list of reliable translators.
9. First-time buyers get an automatic residence permit
The Turkish government is doing its best to encourage foreign buyers, and over the last few years it’s introduced a number of incentives to ensure people keep buying homes. From 2013 first-time property buyers have been granted an automatic year-long residency permit.
Applying for a permit can be time consuming, but there are a number of companies who can check all your documents are in order and help guide you through the process. This is helpful if your Turkish language skills are still developing. You can read more about applying for a residence permit here.
Note: you don’t need a residence permit if you’re not planning on living in Turkey year-round.