6 costly mistakes to avoid when buying a property in Cyprus
USING AN UNREGISTERED & UNLICENSED ESTATE AGENT
Just a decade ago, Cyprus was inundated with unlicensed agents taking part in illegal and illicit real estate deals.
These days, the government has introduced a range of legislation to ensure that home buyers, sellers, and renters are properly protected. This led to the demand for licensed estate agents – with the obligation being that each agent and company possesses professional indemnity cover of €200,000.
If you fall victim of miss-selling, you can be assured that this insurance will cover you.
In Cyprus, to be eligible to work as an estate agent you should pass professional examinations that test your knowledge on various aspects of property related matters such as law, economics and planning procedures.
How to recognize a registered & licensed estate agency?
All registered & licensed estate agents have to state their registration no. and license no. on their website and other company material.
E.g.: Property Canvas is a fully Registered & Licensed Estate Agency, A.A.846 & A.M. 432/E
USING AN UNKNOWLEDGEABLE AGENT
Not all estate agents are made equal. Even though all licensed agents have a basic understanding of the law, not everyone is up to date with current or new legislation coming into force or really understand the dynamics of the market. Thus, do not be afraid to challenge them about the overall conditions of the market; including what new legislation is coming into force which may affect the market and what is their opinion and how do they back up their opinion.
Do they know the steps of the buying process?
Once you agree to buy a property in Paphos or Cyprus in general, some agents will let the lawyers do the rest of the job and have no input or knowledge regarding the following steps.
This may become an issue if something goes wrong. You are supposed to get guidance and have someone who will lease with the lawyers and look after your interest.
So pick wisely.
“An expert can deliver knowledge & enhance potential.“ - Christos Nikolaou MD. Proprety Canvas
VIEWING PROPERTIES WITHOUT TITLE DEEDS
Even though this might be a bit of a shock, not all properties in Cyprus have Title Deeds.
The Title Deed issue is well documented in Cyprus. The reality is that once you buy a new build it might need some time (usually 3-4 years) to get the official title deed if everything was done under Planning Department guidelines. If there are issues with the property it might take over 10 years and many changes that you will need to do to be able to get the Title Deed in your name.
Hence, it is always in your best interest to look for properties with Title Deeds. This way you will have peace of mind.
Below is an official Title Deed from Land Registry.
What is a title deed?
It is the official certification from the Land Registry of the Republic of Cyprus that you are the legal owner of the property
USING AN AGENT WITHOUT CONNECTIONS
The way the Cyprus real estate market works is completely different to other countries (e.g. UK, Germany, Russia).
The majority of listings are multi-agency based which means that a well-connected and knowledgeable agent will have access to pretty much all the listings currently available in the market.
Well-connected agents might not have all properties on their website but most likely they will be able to arrange to show you the property you liked on another website.
Hence, it is really important to find a knowledgeable, professional and honest agent who will show you what is available in the market and how you can secure your ideal property rather than moving around to different agents.
Do not be afraid to ask if they work with other agents or not.
Ask questions so you increase understanding and make an informed decision.
GOING FOR THE FULL ASKING PRICE
Hopes and dreams, estate agent targets, economic conditions, supply and demand can all affect that guide price.
You as a buyer need to be price savvy because if that property purchase is going to be used as a holiday home or for a permanent home you have to make sure you pay a realistic price, and not an inflated one.
If you are looking for an investment that will earn you money, year on year, you still have to make sure you do not overpay. We can advise you on prices, as real estate experts.
NOT USING A LAWYER OR USING AN UNRELIABLE LAWYER
It might be a costly mistake avoiding the fee of a lawyer. Your lawyer will be responsible to take the following steps to make sure that when you are buying a property in Cyprus (Paphos) the property you are buying is free of any mortgages or any other form of encumbrances and can be transferred in your name as soon as possible.
Your lawyer should:
- Make sure that the vendor is the legal owner of the property and that there are no outstanding debts relating to it, such as a mortgage. This is done via the Lands Office.
- If you’re buying a new property or one that’s under construction, make sure that the vendor has obtained the agreed Town Planning and Building Permits. If they haven’t, ensure that your lawyer makes this a condition of the sale contract. This will ensure that the vendor is legally authorized to carry out the construction of your property.
- Make sure that your sale contract is deposited with the local Lands Office, especially if the property is part of a new development. A developer may tell you that there are no separate title deeds for your apartment or house. This means that the title deeds cannot be transferred to your name until the whole development is finished, which may take some time. To protect your rights, the sale contract must be worded in such a way that the vendor is legally committed and your property protected until such a time that a separate title deed can be issued to you.
- Make sure any co-owners sign the sale contract. There are often co-owners of a property and/or land in Cyprus and they must all sign your sale contract to avoid any future disputes.
- Make sure that your sale contract is stamped and registered by the Lands Office.
Problems can be avoided if you use an experienced local lawyer to draft your sale contract; do not be afraid to ask for recommendations from your agent. Usually, we work with a plethora of lawyers and have a clear understanding of the lawyers that are fast and reliable.
The aim when looking to buy a property in Cyprus is not only to find your dream property but at the same time being able to secure it at the best possible price.
Things to bear in mind:
- It is important that one expert estate agent - who you can contact easily - is handling your sale from start to finish. They will be the one who is most knowledgeable about you, your property and the procedure.
- Always look for properties with Titled Deeds that will secure your property and give you peace of mind.
- Although it has been described as one of the most stressful activities, buying an house overseas should actually be an exciting time.
With this plan, you’ll find that each stage of the process becomes more structured and organized meaning you can relax, safe in the knowledge that the process, the plan and your personal agent are doing all the hard work. Follow this advice and I assure you, you will experience a smoother, less-stressful buying procedure of your overseas property.