How Much Deposit Do I Need To Buy a House in Cyprus

How Much Deposit Do I Need To Buy a House in Cyprus

Cyprus, the sun-kissed country, the Mediterranean jewel. This is a country that has come to be a prime destination for expatriates for a number of reasons, be it for vacation, work, business, holidays.

The stunning nature of this country is represented by its velvety beaches spread along the South Coast, the High mountains, and higher lands. It deserves the name "the diamond of the Mediterranean". All these have made it so attractive buying real estate in Paphos, and is a big achievement for many. Cyprus is predominantly peaceful and considered a haven by many, if you can acquire a property in this country, you should do it, the process is quite straightforward and the deposit you need is not quite much. We shall be considering this in this article, we have done our research and have presented the information as comprehensively as possible.

There are some things that should be considered before buying a property in Paphos such as restrictions, tax, charges, fees of the professionals that would be engaged in the acquisition of such a property, its location.

There are restrictions placed on renting out your property depending on your legal status. If you are a non-resident there are laws that strictly regulate your rights to rent your property, before you can purchase a property in Cyprus as a non-resident you must apply to the Council of Ministers for permission, in your application you must unequivocally state that you shall not use the said property for any commercial purpose, if your intention is to buy a property that you would be able to let out we advise that you look to getting advice from a legal expert.

Property Buying Tips in Cyprus/Things to Consider

  • Thorough research: once the thought of buying a house in Cyprus crosses your mind, you should embark on a journey of thorough and exhaustive research (it is safe to assume you are already doing that and that’s how you found this article), your research should span both the legal and financial fields. If you do not desire to do such research then you should find some professional that you can trust in this regard. The place of research is irreplaceable because if you do not do adequate research you might just end up wasting your money and buy a property that is more liability instead of a house, you could lose your deposit and/or be faced with circumstances that would defeat your goal of buying a house in Cyprus.
  • Get the Services of a Lawyer: whatever property transaction you want to engage in, it is invaluable that you use the services of a lawyer, and the lawyer should be independent of the seller because this ensures that your interest is fully protected by your lawyer without conflict of interest. A lawyer is properly educated to know the needful steps and actions to take to help you acquire your house without encumbrance and liability. Furthermore, a lawyer would be liable to you if they do not execute their legal obligation up to standard; this gives you layers of protection and assurance when you want to buy a house in Cyprus, even before you make your deposit. A lawyer can educate you and help you find the best deals and routes for the purchase of your house.
  • Use the right company for foreign exchange: if you are an expatriate or foreigner in Cyprus and you want to buy a property in Paphos it is good that you get the right foreign exchange company because most likely the funds you want to use to buy the house would be in another country and you would have to find a legal way to transfer it to Cyprus. This is where a foreign exchange company comes in, they would help you get your money in the right way, help you secure it, and educate you on several other things you would need concerning foreign exchange for the purchase of your house.
  • Regularly Contact Your Team: from the estate agents to the lawyer and foreign exchange company you would have gotten a team when you want to buy a house in Cyprus. Regular contact with this team would be advantageous to you as it would help you stay abreast with the latest information concerning your interest in purchasing a property, they would inform and educate you, as well as bring you up to speed with the latest trends concerning real estate, foreign exchange and the laws relating to purchasing your house.
  • Prepare for Possible Occurrences: you can hope for the best when buying a property in Paphos (which involves you getting the property without a hitch, encumbrance, or liability) but things may not pan out as you had hoped so you should prepare for possible eventualities as this could very much be the reason you would avoid negative outcomes. Your team might miss something, the seller may fraudulently have acquired the property with no solid root of Title Deeds and you might end up getting more than you ordinarily bargained for but this is not the end if you adequately prepare and anticipate these outcomes, you could very well end up on top at the end. However, you should adequately prepare. Even if everything goes without a hitch you might want to alter your position and interest in the property, you may want to sell it shortly after purchase, you might want your deposit back. It is imperative that you prepare.
  • Cyprus Real Estate Association (CREA): you might want to engage registered and licensed real estate agent who is member of CREA when you want to buy a Cypriot house, this can help you be assured that you have engaged professionals that adhere to the strict codes of the laws, they offer voluntary service and free legal advice, they further have professional indemnity insurance if things go wrong.
  • Cost of Lawyers’ Fees and Estate Agents’ fees: as would be stated below you have to know the cost that relates to you and if you are willing to shoulder them.
  • Purchase Cost of Property.
  • Cost of Transactions and Who Pays:
  1. VAT: Value Added Tax: This is paid only if the property is new, if you are purchasing a resale property then you will not pay any VAT. This tax is usually paid by the buyer and it is nineteen percent (19%). This is based upon the value of the property at the time of sale/purchase. You can get a reduced VAT figure if you meet certain criteria. Your estate agent or lawyer will be able to explain more.
  2. Transfer Tax: this is usually paid by the buyer and is usually three to eight percent (3% - 8%). This tax is based upon the value of the property at the time of sale/purchase. At the moment there is a 50% reduction in Transfer fees.
  3. Legal Fee: this is usually paid by the buyer and is around 1.00%. This is usually charged based on the value of the property in question. Each party pays its own fee.
  4. Stamp Duty: this is a duty that is paid to get the necessary documents of the transaction stamped, it is usually paid by the buyer and is from 0.15 – 0.20 percent. This also is charged based on the value of the property at the material time.
  • The difficulty of Property Purchase in Cyprus: if you are a foreigner you should know that there are some difficulties you will face when you want to purchase a property in Cyprus, there is a limit to the number of donums you can own. You would need to get a permit from the government before you can register any property.

How Much Deposit Needed to Buy a House in Cyprus ?

The process of property purchase in Cyprus is relatively straightforward, after agreeing on a price you should give a 3% reservation deposit to get the property off the market. You need to make sure that the deposit will be refundable if there are any encumbrances or any liabilities that you have not been informed arise in the due diligence process. By doing the preliminaries and considering the things already stated above, the contract of purchase is then drawn up, when it is signed you as the buyer would have to deposit at least twenty percent (20%) to thirty (30%) of the total value of the house. This is the fulcrum of your agreement and purchase of a house in Cyprus and therefore the purpose of this article.

After the agreement of the relevant amount based upon the above range of percentage, the remainder of the purchase sum would become payable to the relevant party upon the terms agreed to in the contract.

If you are not a citizen of Cyprus after depositing the contract of sale at the relevant land registry you would have to make an application to the body (Council of Ministers) so you would be permitted to acquire the said house or immovable property. In your application for permission, you would have to provide the council with your criminal records (if there is one), bank reference, a survey stating the size/mass of the land in question, and an unequivocal statement that the said house is the only house you will have in Cyprus.

The above process can be tedious and take about twelve months, however does not restrict the buyer from using the house or taking possession of the house. If for any reason the permission is not granted then the buyer can subsequently re-apply. In the unlikely event that the permission is not granted by the council of ministers over and over, the buyer has the right to possess the purchased house for seventeen years and could sell the house in those seventeen years. Furthermore, even if permission is not granted for complete legal ownership of the property the rights as to inheritance on that property are not affected. The buyer can still bequeath the house to beneficiaries of their choice. It is, therefore, safe to say that without the permission of the council of ministers a foreigner cannot get full legal rights to a property in Cyprus, only limited possessory and legal rights. This is not unusual to the legal terrain of properties as most countries practice this.

Conclusion

As already discussed above the decision to buy a house is no small endeavor in itself, so is the decision to buy one in Cyprus as a citizen this compounds when you are a foreigner. We have taken a gander at the difficulties one is likely to encounter in such an endeavor. If you decide to take on this noble and rewarding quest it is commendable. Britain and Cyprus have a special relationship; Cyprus was under the rule of Britain for decades, this gives Cyprus a feel that is unique to Britain. The people of Cyprus are very welcoming and courteous, there are about sixty thousand Britons that live in Cyprus. This diamond of the Mediterranean has a Legal system that mirrors that of the UK, this makes the understanding of its legal system quite straightforward even when it comes to the purchase of real estate.  It is however still important to ask yourself some questions when you want to acquire property there, these questions are in addition to the ones already mentioned at the beginning of this article.

  • You should ask yourself what you are purchasing the house for, is it an investment that you hope would make you good returns sometime in the future? Is it a home that you intend to live in and cherish? Is it a destination for retirement because of the peaceful nature of Cyprus?

When you can answer these questions you would be closer to getting the perfect house for yourself in Cyprus.

  • What do you intend to be doing in the house, when in Cyprus? Do you want to use the house as a place to host friends and family members, to you want it as a getaway for your partner, spouse and you or do you want to use it for leisure or work?
  • In picking the house which of the following factors is more vital to you?
  1. The cost of the house;
  2. Where the house is located;
  3. The type of house; or
  4. Are the facilities available at the house?

Having the answers to these questions would help you decide the right house, the right place, and the amount you would be willing to spend on it.

We wish you the best in this endeavor and hope that our exposition has been beneficial to you.

Christos Nikolaou

Author: Christos Nikolaou

BEng Mechanical Engineering, MSc Real Estate, ETEK Property Valuer, Register and Licensed Real Estate Agent.

Christos Nikolaou is the founder and Managing Director of Property Canvas, he holds a license as an Estate Agent from the Association of Real Estate Agents of Cyprus and he is a registered Property Valuer in the Technical and Scientific Chamber of Cyprus (ETEK). He is the author of our “How Much Deposit Do I Need To Buy a House in Cyprus” and is a certified advance negotiator.


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