You have made the decision to buy property in Cyprus. For most buyers the legalities and formalities are the most confusing. However, we will try to make it as easy as possible by outlining the steps involved in buying your dream home in Cyprus and some of the important fees that you will need to account for.
You have found the right property - once you have made an offer on a property, and it has been accepted by the owners, you will need to appoint a lawyer who will represent you in Cyprus and assist you with the legal, technical and financial matters in purchasing a property in Cyprus.
In the Cypriot system, there are 2 main categories of properties. The first are properties that have their own individual title deeds at the time of purchase. The second are properties that do not have their own individual deeds at this stage of the purchase. The issue of the individual deeds is dependent on the completion of the project, and the subdivision by the Lands Office. The properties with title deeds, can be easily transferred in the name of the purchasers, considering that the only requirement for the purchasers is a permit from the District Office, which is granted as a matter of formality. Such a permit is not required if the purchase concerns land, purchased by Europeans.
In general, the legal formalities to purchase immovable property are effected in 3 separate stages -
1. To buy the property which is completed when the purchasers sign the contracts. At this stage the purchasers pay the stamp duty and registration costs.
Stamp duty is calcuated as follows:
€2.56 per €1.708.60 euro for the first €170.860.00 and €3.417 per €1.708.60 euro for any amount above the €170.860.00.
You need also to allow for lawyer's fees, which are usually around 1% of the purchase price.
Other fees invovled are the transfer fees to have the deeds transferred into your name. The fees to be paid are calculated on the purchase price, and the number of names the property is to be registered in. This is paid when the deeds are actually transferred into your name.
2. To take possession of the property. At this stage the purchasers pay for the utilities to be connected. From this stage the purchasers may establish all the rights in this country such as residence/tax/driving duty free and domicile.
3. To transfer the deeds of the property, which will be completed when firstly, a permit from the Council of Ministers is secured for the purchasers to transfer the deeds in their names (such a permit is not required if the property, is a plot of land or a field). Secondly, the Vendors complete through the Lands Office the Subdivision of the project. If the property has its own title deed, then the transfer takes place immediately after the permit is granted. At this stage the purchaser pays the transfer taxes.
To legally secure the sale and protect yourself as a buyer in Cyprus you and/or your attorney will need to do the following-
a. Sign a valid contract of sale for an existing property from the owners, free of any legal and financial impediments.
b. A valid contract will be signed, stamped and registered with the Lands Office. This procedure stops the vendors from the possibility of reselling it, or mortgaging it, in the meantime,
c. The purchasers will be entitled to secure possession of the property prior, and regardless, when the transfer takes place. Based on this, purchasers may further secure proper status to live in Cyprus.
d. The purchasers interest, from the moment they sign the contracts, is protected by the inheritance laws. This means that if something happens to purchasers, before or after, completing the procedures, their interest will be transferred in the names of beneficiaries of their estate, either through a will or by law.
We hope this helps make the process of buying a property in Cyprus less confusing. If you have any additional comments or questions please feel free to contact us.