Turkey:  is a NATO ally and occupies a strategic location between Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the former Soviet Union. It straddles both Europe & Asia, what is generally referred to as Eurasia.

This guide helps guide you through the steps of the purchase process for property in Turkey. While foreigners are allowed to purchase property in the country, with more and more overseas purchases taking place each year, there are certain restrictions that are worth noting, as well as variations from the British property buying processes.

Historically, it was nearly impossible for a foreign national to purchase property in Turkey. In fact Turkey maintained a nearly complete ban against foreign nationals having the ability to purchase and own property in the country. In 2003 the Turkish government took steps to liberalise the property ownership laws of the country as far as foreign nationals were concerned. With the growing liberalization of property ownership laws in Turkey a growing number of foreign nationals are looking at the possibilities and opportunities that exist when it comes to buying property in Turkey. 

Buying property in an emerging market such as Turkey is very different from buying in a more traditional market like Spain, where millions of buyers already own homes from all corners of the world. In countries such as Spain the procedures are tried and tested and every notary is well experienced. However, in Turkey this is not the case and the lack of experience and firm procedures may lead to delays and confusion.

Investment property: Many people buying property in Turkey are buying for investment, some looking for a holiday home with the aim of also making a little money and others as a dedicated investment that they may never even visit. It is essential that potential buyers of property in Turkey understand the procedures as it is a new country with regard to overseas property investment.

 

Restrictions: Turkey works on a reciprocal agreement basis when it comes to foreign ownership of Turkish properties. Citizens from countries which allow Turkish citizens to own property in their country are allowed to purchase property in Turkey; this extends to most countries within the EU, including Britain. There are some restrictions, however, including restrictions on foreigners buying properties in municipal areas with less than 2,000 inhabitants. Foreigners are not allowed to buy property in Turkey in military zones and if they buy property with more than 30 hectares of land they have to acquire a special permit.

 

Permission process: Once a foreign national has established that they can buy a house in Turkey with no restrictions (something their lawyer should help to establish as well as their estate agent), the purchase process can begin. Buyers should allow between 4.6% and 5.5% of the purchase price for purchase fees and taxes. A deposit of between 10% and 25% of the purchase price is paid by the buyer on the signing of the purchase contract. Permission of sale then needs to be obtained by sending the translated passport details of the buyer and the deeds of the property to the relevant authorities, a process which normally takes between six and eight weeks. This enables the Land Registry Office to transfer the title deed to the buyer. When a foreigner wants to buy Turkish property, they must by law ensure that the sale is notarised by an interpreter that has been approved by the Turkish government. It is also a legal obligation to have both the seller and the buyer present at the entry of title. While the registration of property in Turkey takes less than 10 days, the Turkish government can take up to nine months to process the application, finally releasing the title deeds for transfer.

Pitfalls to be aware of: In Turkey there are some potential pitfalls as many properties do not have titles or planning permission or have simply been constructed illegally. In 2004 the Turkish Daily News reported 600,000 illegal homes in Istanbul alone. There are also various types of "title" available in Turkey giving different land ownership rights. For this reason and the fact that Turkey is new to the overseas property scene, it is extremely important to use a quality agent that can guide you through all the potential problems.

Purchase Procedure: Once you have found your ideal property in Turkey and have decided that you would like to purchase you can usually expect to follow the procedure below:

Reservation; The reservation contract takes the property off the market, usually for between 2 - 4 weeks, allowing time for the appointed legal advisor to carry out the required searches on the property in question. Usually a reservation fee of between 3,000 and 6,000 is paid at this point.

If you do not continue with the purchase due to a legal problem then you should contractually be entitled to a refund of the paid reservation fee, although this is not always the case. However, if you decide not to proceed owing to a change of heart or mind then it is standard that you will lose the reservation fee.

If you decide to proceed with the purchase then the reservation fee already paid is treated as part of the payment towards the property in question.

Preliminary Contract; After the reservation contract is signed and the required fee is paid, you are presented with a report containing the findings of the legal checks. Subject to the report, you then sign the preliminary contract and at this stage you will be expected to pay the required deposit. On a resale property, this is typically 10% and on an off-plan (new) property you must expect to pay varying amounts of around 30%.

If necessary, at this point in the process the vendor is required to apply for permission for you to purchase a property in Turkey.

With off-plan property purchases in Turkey the buyer may be expected to pay a number of stage payments throughout the construction process.

Off-Plan Security For Buyers: In most other countries where full or part payment is made before the property is fully constructed, a bank guarantee must be in place to ensure that should the developer go bankrupt before completion of your property, your money is 100% safe.

In Turkey this is not a requirement and owing to the early stage of the overseas property market in Turkey and the comparatively immature banking systems such guarantees are either impossible or very expensive.

This makes it extra important to work with developers with proven track records and of substance that can offer quality property and run no risk of running out of capital during the construction phase of a project.

Finance: Mortgages and loans for buying property in Turkey are available from many banks and financial institutions. However as the banking system is very immature and different from what you may be used to you are advised to consult a reputable lawyer to advise you before committing yourself to a particular finance product.  

 

Click here for full information about buying property, businesses or living in Turkey direct from the Turkish Embassy website.
 

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Disclaimer: This guide is for information only and should not be relied upon as definitive. Details have been obtained from various sources and although we have done everything possible to ensure that it is correct, we cannot accept responsibility for it or guarantee its accuracy. This is because processes and laws change frequently, and may also vary dependant upon personal circumstances. You are welcome to use the information provided, but should always obtain confirmation of specific details and get independent specialist and legal advice in the country that the information refers to.

03-02-2011