European Union citizens may buy property anywhere in Greece. Non-European Union citizens may buy freely in most areas, but a few border regions have restrictions. In these areas, the potential buyer must apply for a permit from the local government.
There are two property value systems in Greece. One is the “objective value” (antikimeniki axia) and the other is the “market value” (emboriki axia). The “objective value” is calculated by the local tax office and is an estimate that the government sets for a specific property. The “market value” is the value actually achieved in the market by the free economic forces of supply and demand. It is common practice in Greece for the “objective value” to be stated as the price of the property in the purchase contract.
Taxes are calculated based on the property value stated in the contract. The buyer pays a purchase tax of between 11 – 13 % of that value at the time of the sale, except in the case of houses built or previously sold since 2006. In the case of newer houses built with a building permit of 2006 or later, the buyer pays VAT sales tax of 19% plus a purchase tax of 1%. In the case of older houses which have been sold since 2006, the buyer pays a purchase tax of 1%.
In order to conclude a property transaction in Greece it is necessary to hire both a lawyer and a notary public (symvoleografos). The lawyer researches the title of the property and ensures that there are no competing claims on it. The notary public registers the sale and pays various local transaction costs. The fees for the lawyer and notary usually total about 4% of the purchase price.
In Greece it is customary for both seller and buyer to pay a commission to the real estate agent for his services. The agent will ask each party to sign a commission agreement letter (mandate) prior to beginning his work. The seller’s fee to the agent ranges from 2% to 5% of the agreed sale price, depending on the level of marketing services provided. The buyer’s fee to the agent is usually 2% to 3% of the agreed sale price. The agent is also required to collect sales tax of 19% on these fees.