Buy a Property in Turkey – But Don’t Get Your Fingers Burnt

There seem to be an increasing number of people wishing to buy a property in Turkey. For a long time, European countries such as Spain and France were the top choice – but as these countries seem to be reaching saturation point, smart people are looking further afield. And Turkey seems to be a good place to look at. It’s a stunning holiday destination with a spectacular coastline, a near-perfect climate and ancient sites going back thousands of years.

The good news if you want to buy a property in Turkey is that not only can you still snap up incredibly cheap properties, but purchasing is a reasonably simple process for most foreigners. However, as with most countries, there are things you need to watch out for to avoid getting your fingers burnt. Here are the main ones.

First of all, before taking any steps towards purchase, make absolutely sure it’s legal for you to buy a property in Turkey. You’re fine if you’re from the European Union, the USA or Russia – if you’re not, check if there is a reciprocal agreement between Turkey and your country. Also you must check that any property you wish to buy is within the boundaries of a municipal area (a town or village with a population of 2,000 or more) and is not in a military zone. And do stick to these rules. Some foreign nationals who have attempted to get round them – e.g. by buying in the name of a Turkish friend – have seriously come to grief.
Remember that Turkish is a very difficult language for speakers of English and other European languages to learn, as it belongs to a completely separate language family. And English is not widely spoken in Turkey, except by those who have attended bilingual schools. You would be most unwise to approach the transaction without a reliable translator. You will also need a bilingual legal advisor. Alternatively, find a property company in your own country that specializes in Turkish property.
When you have found a property you are interested in, you must have it checked out thoroughly. Get a reliable structural engineer to inspect it fully for structural soundness, including earthquake safety. If it’s a resale property, make sure there are no debts on the property, and that all bills – e.g. for water and electricity – have been paid in full. In addition, every property in Turkey must have a tapu or title deed. Get your lawyer to check the tapu thoroughly to make sure it’s actually for that property and they aren’t trying to palm off another on you – this has been known.
The relevant legislation for property purchase by foreigners is Article 35 of the Land Registry Act, but bear in mind that there are special regulations for business or investment purposes connected to tourism. This concerns you if you intend to use the property for a holiday rental business – if so, take legal advice.
To begin the buying process, you and the seller sign an initial contract, and then you begin the application for the tapu or title deed. Before the tapu can be issued, permits have to be obtained from both the City Council and the Army Office (yes, this is required in Turkey). Your lawyer will see to all this for you. The process takes about two months. Once the tapu is issued, you pay over the final purchase price.  property for sale in turkey
The fees you have to allow for include 3 percent estate agency fee (if you use an estate agent), plus Land Registry and other fees that amount to a total of about $1,200-$1,400 USD. Remember also that earthquake insurance is compulsory in Turkey – probably just as well!
The main message of all this is that your desire to buy a property in Turkey must not override common sense. It’s easy to be seduced by the beauty, romance and history of this extraordinary country with its magnificent coastline and unbroken sunshine. But whatever you do, don’t be in so much of a hurry to grab your little bit, that you are tempted to bypass any of these precautions. Do things the proper way, and you’ll have a wonderful property that will bring you lots of enjoyment – and, hopefully, profit as well!



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