Before buying a property in Turkey, due diligence is a must and certain precautions shall be taken to avoid any possible pitfalls and potential problems.
After the recent financial crisis, housing market became one of the key parts of Turkish economy and has been greatly supported by Turkish Government. Due to rapid increases in house prices across the country, the housing market creates perfect investment opportunities for foreign and local investors. The economical and political stability decreased risk perception of investors and created a safe market. Therefore, for international buyers, Turkey is not only one of the world’s great countries, but also buying a property in Turkey means a holiday home for their families to use and a potential investment opportunity.
I hope these timely and carefully written article will contribute much to current and future considerations when buying property in Turkey.
√ The first thing you need to consider is to know the construction company, real estate and the people you are dealing with. Do not buy a property from a friendly man that you just met saying his friend is selling a property at a very low price. This is most likely to be a scam and you would lose your deposit or at the worst your entire savings. Do your research; check the background of the company, verify company information from Chamber of Commerce and Turkish Trade Registry Gazette.
√ If you chose a property and thinking buying it, do your comparison, look at similar properties from other estate agents in the same area and check them out. At this point, you might want to visit Turkey, inspect the property, look at the materials that used in the property, identify material defects if there are any.
√ Always negotiate on price and terms of purchase.
You also need to be aware of that there are some other costs, beyond the purchase price, such as levies and taxes (title deed duty calculated over the sale price, fixed circulating capital duty and if the seller is a legal entity, then 18% of VAT may be levied subject to certain circumstances), premiums for compulsory earthquake insurance, circulating capital fee for the map prepared by the Cadastre Directorate, the monthly paid maintenance fee for the property and real estate tax.
√ Under the Turkish Law, the ownership of property is transferred only after an official deed and registry which is signed at the Land Registry Directorates. All other transfer instruments, contracts and covenants in relation to a property ownership are null and void. Although, it is possible to sign a “sales commitment agreement” before a notary, legal ownership to the property do not pass with this agreement or any other kind of sales agreements even they are to be signed before the notary. Hence, you need to be extra cautious for people who try to convince you to make payment without title deed organized on your name. It is advised to make payment at the Land Registry Directorate.
Furthermore, there are certain must check outs.
√ Before making any payments, check the title deed of the property. Ownership of property is recorded at the relevant title deed registries. Title deed registry records are open to public. The rightful owner, limitations on the property such as mortgages or any obstacle which prevents the sale of the property, encumbrances and other liabilities attached on the property may also be reviewed from such records. Title deed registry records are final and, all bona fide purchasers hence are protected by Law.
√ However, checking the title deeds is not enough. Foreigners purchasing property in Turkey has to get military clearance stating that their property is not close to a military base. Therefore you need to make sure, the property you interested in is not within the military or security zone.
√ Another point that needs to be checked is that occupancy permit and if there is any demolition order as these cannot be seen at the title deed registries. It might be a small chance but still there are some squatter buildings and illegal constructions in the center of the cities. These properties may not have valid occupancy permit or at the worst, a demolition order for the property might have been given by a court. The relevant municipal records needs to be checked for such orders.
√ Last but not least the sale agreement shall be drafted carefully and all conditions of the sale shall be clearly stated.
√ Make sure that the estate agent you are dealing with is in your side. You can believe that most agents in Turkey are more trustworthy than they're given credit for. As they survive on repeat business, they want and need happy clients. However, still you might encounter with some dishonest agents. As estate agents only get commission if you buy the property, they may tell you what you wanted to hear to buy the property.
√ Always but always, get your own extra layer of protection from an attorney looking after your interest. Do not forget, almost all of the people who suffer from fraud or heavy contract terms are the ones who did not use a registered Turkish attorney.
By providing a simple Power of Attorney you can ask your attorney to
⇒ make all necessary checks on the property on your behalf;
⇒ ensure that the title is clean, habitation permit has been taken, no demolition order has been given for the property;
⇒ confirm that he property is not within the military or security zone;
⇒ negotiate contract terms on your behalf;
⇒ draft and finalize purchase contract;
⇒ convert the title to your name, finalize all the procedures for the property purchase at the Land Registry Directorate;
⇒ and as a final step apply for Residency Permit for you.
Please be aware that, foreign commercial corporations which are established according to the relevant laws of their countries of origin are not subject to this article. Special regulations shall be considered for these purchases.