Popularly known as UNESCO's World Heritage town, the beautiful Paphos lies on Cyprus' southwestern coast. This location is very popular for being a favorite spot for British residents, as well as, tourists. It is definitely one of the favorite places you would want to reside if you love to have closer proximity to the beach, including some of the ancient ruins and still remain flocked by shops, cool bars, and also nice restaurants. If you are looking at Cyprus as the perfect country to retire or wish to relocate to Cyprus to have a better life for your family, Paphos will make a great choice. The town is very popular and has a school which is top-ranked in the international scene. It also sports a great hospital, amazing shopping malls, and a town center which has a fascinating history. Paphos was pronounced as the capital of culture in Europe in 2017, and it has an international airport in close proximity.

The legal process in Cyprus is basically straightforward, and it's similar to the laws in the UK. So, if you’re looking to buy in Paphos, here’s what the legal process encompasses –

  • Step 1

As soon as the seller accepts your offer, you will likely be required to sign an agreement of reservation which is proof of your commitment. This will prompt the seller to take their property off the market and, then, your attorney will do some due diligence while a bank valuation must be carried out if a mortgage is required by you.

Recent times, you will be required to make a little holding deposit which can be paid to the seller directly. Changing your mind may lead to your losing the deal, so, make the payment and have your lawyer draw out a receipt which stipulates that your deposit is liable to undergo satisfactory checks. This serves to protect you. At this point, the buyer and seller will exchange the details of their lawyers.

  • Step 2

It is the duty of your attorney to conduct property checks to ensure that there are no other debts. This is because developers in the past usually took out land mortgages without repaying and if this happens to be the case, you will only be entitled to the house without owning the land.

Then again, your lawyer must conduct a Title Search. This is done to ensure that the seller owns the property lawfully and has the right to sell. Also, your lawyer will conduct Boundary Searches and verify every planning consent.

Voluntary Plan Searches are to be conducted to determine the development plans in the area. Even if there is no way of guaranteeing the erection of a new property just in front of your own property as time goes on, this search can help to limit the risk.

  • Step 3

Once you are satisfied with the surveys and there are no problems which have been discovered by your attorney, you can now proceed to the sales contract. In the Contract of Sale, every essential detail is included.

For buyers that are absent from Cyprus and cannot make it at the time, you can simply give a chosen representative the power to sign the documents for you. You will, also, have to make a deposit which will not be refunded and ranges from 10-30% of the total price. That is why you should ensure that you wish to go through with the deal before appending your signature.

  • Step 4

As soon as you have signed the sales contract in agreement with the seller, it is the duty of your attorney to get it registered at the Land Registry Office of the district. Once this is done, the seller will not be able to remortgage the property or resell it to another buyer pending when the property’s Title Deeds are presented. This is called the Specific Performance Law which serves as a protection to you until you get issued with the title deeds.

Accompanying your registration will be a bank, as well as, character references. Since you are not a citizen of Cyprus, you will be required to submit an application for a Council of Minister's permit, and this might be granted within a couple of months.

  • Step 5

Now is the time to get all the funds ready to seal the deal. If it happens that payment will be made through a mortgage, arrangements will be made for the lender to send the money to the seller. However, your bank or the company in charge of your currency exchange can make the payment by transfer if you’re to pay by cash.

 There are times when Title Deeds can be presented to be transferred quickly into your name. In cases like this, a fee of transfer will be paid directly to the office of the Land Registry to complete the sale. In many other cases, Title Deeds may even take months to be issued to you and sometimes, it may extend into years. However, there is no cause for panic as this is a common experience in Cyprus. Simply carry on with the deal, make the required payments, and move into the property. It is, also, advisable to contact your lawyer and get practical advice as to whether it would be the right move in line with the new laws which have been enacted.

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 “LOOKING TO SELL YOUR PROPERTY IN PAPHOS IN 2019? - PART 3” and is a certified advance negotiator.

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