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The real estate sector is often associated with intricacies that are not familiar to everyone. Any transaction involving real estate - buying, selling, gifting, inheriting, etc., is strictly regulated by the law. The purchase or sale of real estate is a significant event in everyone's life. Given that real estate transactions do not occur daily, mistakes are often made that negatively impact the outcome of the transaction. Therefore, below are described some steps of the real estate transaction process that may help you.

I. Selection of the Suitable Property

When selecting the appropriate property among properties located in the same or different areas, the interested party can compare specific characteristics to arrive at the most advantageous solution. The comparison can be made based on the following characteristics:

a) the area of the property, as stated in the contract, in the tax declaration, as well as in the electricity bill, as taxes and fees that burden the property are determined based on the latter,

b) the technical condition of the property,

c) the building potential of the plot you are interested in, as well as adjacent plots,

d) the possibility and rental price of the property.


II. Legal Due Diligence of the real estate object

The purchase of a property hides certain pitfalls and requires caution on the part of the buyer. A critical point is the previous legal due diligence of the property, which involves checking the Property Transfer Books of the relevant Mortgage Registry (or the land registry records of the relevant Land Registry Office) to ascertain the existence of real rights, as well as checking the Mortgage, Seizures, and Claims Books of the Competent Mortgage Registry (or the land registry records of the relevant Land Registry Office) to determine the existence of burdens or claims on the property.

III. Verification of Urban Planning Legality of the Property

Essentially, this is the first check that must be done on the property, as non-compliance with the building permit can certainly create serious problems in the future. If urban planning violations are significant, they may lead to a prohibition on transfer (donation/establishment/modification) of horizontal property, as well as a prohibition on the issuance of establishment and operation licenses (for commercial properties), resulting in its complete depreciation.

IV. Signing a Private Agreement or a Notarial Preliminary Agreement

Drafting and signing a private agreement or a notarial preliminary agreement usually aim to secure the amount of the down payment. However, it does not mean that signing one of these documents will prevent the seller from eventually selling the property to a third party. In fact, if such a thing happens, the only option available to the buyer is the refund of the down payment. Therefore, signing a private agreement or a notarial preliminary agreement does not fully protect the prospective buyer.

V. Assignment to a Notary Public, who will gather the necessary documents and draft the final contract

The notary public will specify to the seller the required documents necessary for drafting the purchase agreement, such as tax clearance, insurance clearance, certificate of urban planning approval (issued by the Municipality where the property is located), energy performance certificate (EPC), engineer's certification regarding no unauthorized construction on the property, etc.

VI. Payment of Property Transfer Tax

Before signing the final contract, a declaration of property transfer tax is submitted to the Tax Office. This declaration is drafted by the notary public and signed by both the buyer and the seller. It is submitted by the buyer or an authorized person to the Capital Department of the Tax Office to which the property belongs. The property transfer tax is paid by the buyer in full, calculated based on the objective value of the property as officially determined by the annual tax tables for each area.

VII. Signing of the Final Contract before the Notary Public

The final contract is signed before the notary public between the buyer and the seller in the presence of their lawyers and the real estate agent (if involved in the property's identification). Subsequently, the notary public will provide the buyer with a copy of the contract and other necessary documents for the transfer or registration of the contract with the Mortgage Registry or the Land Registry (if applicable) of the property's area.

VIII. Transfer to the Mortgage Registry or Registration in the Land Registry of the Contract

The process of purchasing the property by the buyer is completed with the transfer of the final contract to the transfer books of the competent mortgage registry or registration in the land registry books of the competent Land Registry office.

IX. Declaration of Wealth Status to the Public Revenue Service (PRS)

The last obligation of the buyer and the seller after the completion of the sales contract is to declare the transaction in Form E9 (Wealth Status) within 30 days from the signing of the contract. The seller removes the property from their wealth status, while the buyer adds it to theirs.


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