Buying A Property in Turkey Buyers Guide


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Article by: Mike Dunkerley Published: 10/07/2008

A buyers guide for purchasing property in Turkey. The do's and dont's, TAPU, Turkish property law

Buying a Property in Turkey.

The process of buying a property is very straight forward if you follow the rules. In the UK you would not purchase a property without employing a solicitor and you would not pay money without a contract. Exactly the same applies in Turkey. Your agent and / or lawyer will carry out the checks to ensure good title. Altinkum (and other towns) have a town development plan available from the town hall so you can confirm that your property has planning permission and is built in a permitted zone. To preserve the coastline there are restrictions on how close to the beach new developments can be.

The Turkish Constitution used to prohibit ‘foreigners’ from owning property in Turkey. This has now been changed and ‘foreigners’ get freehold title to their properties just like in the UK. The process of amending the constitution has not gone smoothly. Early amendments were challenged in the courts and found wanting in their legal framing. New amendments have had to be introduced giving rise to a ‘stop start’ situation which is now resolved.

By the end of 2008 the military security checks that used to be carried out on all foreign buyers will also have been scrapped. These checks took up to 3 months and delayed to issuing of the title deeds – called the TAPU.

Contracts to buy land or property are written in both English and Turkish so you know exactly what you are signing. They usually require a 10% deposit with the balance following on the date(s) given in the contract. They also show the buying costs (commissions) which are usually 6% split equally between buyer and seller.

The title deed or TAPU is registered at the Land Registry. Only qualified estate agents are supposed to be able to access the registry. There is a 1 ½ % tax associated with this.

When handled by a competent agent and a good lawyer the contracts and TAPU transactions go through very smoothly.

However, there is one aspect to the process that is often overlooked by the buyer and it can give rise to a lot of misunderstanding and spoil the initial experience. When you view a property the electricity and water supplies may well be connected but this will be on the builders supply and for display purposes. New property has to be connected to the utilities such as electricity and water in your name. This involves registration with the companies and connection charges. All too often the happy buyer departs for home with the contract and TAPU thinking all is complete. On returning for a holiday they then find that there is no water or electricity and arguments and misunderstandings start.

It is absolutely vital that as part of the process you ask the agent to oversee the process of getting connected to the utilities, pay him the necessary money and give him the property keys so that he can give access to the companies when required. If you prefer to give the keys to say ‘English’ friends, who are already living in Altinkum, to ‘keep an eye’ on it, make sure that they understand and are prepared to oversee the connection process on your behalf.

Another matter to be aware of is any maintenance contracts that are in place – this applies to apartments mostly. Maintenance is not a big amount of money but it has to be paid. Set up your bank account to do this. Also do the same for the local ‘community’ tax. You would be wise to ensure that your property is insured. Your agent will take you to the local offices of insurance companies for this purpose. If you make a friend of your agent then they can do all sorts of things for you. For example, if there is an accident and as claim has to be made they can handle it on your behalf.

Owning Turkish property can be a happy and profitable experience. Just use the same common sense that you would back home.

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