Whatever your reasons for buying a property, this is probably the first time that you have bought a property in Cyprus. We have put this guide together to help you understand a little more about the process of buying in Cyprus.
This guide is aimed at providing some basic information about buying in Cyprus and tries to answer the majority of the common questions that we are asked. Although we hope that you will find it useful it is important to remember that it doesn’t cover all legal issues involved and certainly isn’t a step by step DIY guide to buying Cypriot property.
We’ve also put together handy Buying Property in Cyprus Checklist.
While we hope this guide helps to somewhat demystify the process of purchasing Cypriot property, it is still recommended that you seek advice from a professional before proceeding – after all we do this every day and have been doing so for many years and therefore know all the tricks and pitfalls that you may come across
We also know the practical solutions to the problems that exist and understand how Cypriot law interacts with UK law, so can help to ensure you meet all of the strict requirements of both countries’ laws.
For specific advice on buying Cypriot property tailored to your needs, please get in touch with our friendly, expert Cypriot property lawyers based in the UK.
Buying property in Cyprus FAQs
Is the legal system in Cyprus the same as the UK?
The Cypriot legal system is based on British law so unsurprisingly there are similarities between the two systems. While there are differences as well, there remains an interaction between them when you buy a property in Cyprus. For example, in Cyprus the contract to buy a property is deposited at the Land Registry when it is signed, unlike in the UK.
Do I need a lawyer to help me buy a home in Cyprus?
Surprisingly, this is the most common question that we get asked. No, you don’t – just like you don’t necessarily need a lawyer when buying in the UK. However, in reality you would always use a lawyer when buying in the UK so what is so different about buying in another country where you probably don’t have experience of buying before?
For more information, please take a look at our guide to how to choose a lawyer when buying property abroad.
I have heard there are problems with buying property in Cyprus. Is that true?
Certainly, there are potential problems when buying in Cyprus, just like there can be in any country including the UK. Most of the potential problems that you read about can be avoided by using common sense and by instructing an independent lawyer to advise you on the purchase.
We often see people with problems with their property and they invariably tell us that they didn’t use a lawyer or used the lawyer given to them by the seller or estate agent.
Are the costs of buying property more in Cyprus than in the UK?
Yes, the total costs in addition to the purchase price are higher than you will be used to in the UK. It is therefore important to factor these into your budget from the beginning. Luckily property prices are currently rock bottom which not only reduces some of these costs but also makes the purchase price much cheaper.
To find out more, please take a look at our guide to the costs of buying property in Cyprus.
How do title deeds work in Cyprus?
The buyer of the property will obtain title deeds in accordance with the terms agreed under the contract of sale. Usually this happens when the buyer has paid the full purchase price.
The transfer of the title deeds from the seller to the buyer takes place once an application is made to the Land Registry and once all the prescribed transfer fees have been paid.
However, it is necessary to mention that:
- Title deeds may take up to 5 years to be issued for a new property
- Even if the property does not have title deeds, the owners are safeguarded by depositing the agreement at the Land Registry
- Re-sale can still be achieved even in the absence of title deeds
Can you get a mortgage to buy property in Cyprus?
There are two ways of financing your purchase in Cyprus through a mortgage.
The first is to release equity from your UK assets to buy the property in Cyprus. The second is to mortgage the property in Cyprus. Each has advantages and disadvantages but getting it wrong can cost you dearly so take advice on this.
If you wish, we can put you in contact with mortgage brokers either in the UK or in Cyprus. We do not receive a commission for doing so and are not tied into a particular broker – we simply recommend them because they have given our clients good service in the past.
Obtaining a mortgage in Cyprus is more difficult than it has been in the past. If you are buying a property in Cyprus that already has a mortgage on it, then it may be possible to take over that mortgage from the current owner. This is often seen as an easy way of obtaining a mortgage, but you should be aware that that mortgage might have been the right one for the seller but may not be the best one for you.
It is common for mortgage institutions to register the mortgage at the Land registry although this is not compulsory.
For more information, please take a look at our guide to mortgages on foreign properties.
Do you need a survey when buying a property in Cyprus?
If you are buying a property anywhere, we would always recommend that you obtain a survey. If you obtain a mortgage, the valuation carried out for the mortgage company will only look at whether the property is worth the amount you have negotiated.
Any defects in the property which do not affect the value will not normally be shown on the report. A survey will rate the condition of all permanent structures and will highlight any important problems that could affect the property value. Depending on the survey this may also give advice as to future maintenance.
The survey should reduce the chance of discovering any nasty surprises with the condition of the property once a purchaser has bought the property. If there are any defects the survey will help the buyer negotiate the price or require certain works to be carried out before the property is purchased.
The survey may also reveal that certain works have been carried out or highlight rights that are necessary for the property which we can investigate before the property is purchased.
Should you use a Power of Attorney to buy property in Cyprus?
A Power of Attorney is a document which allows somebody to do something on your behalf.
If the sale agreements are not being signed in the UK, then often clients prefer to grant a Power of Attorney to somebody to sign the purchase documents on their behalf.
This has several advantages:
- You don’t have to go to Cyprus to sign the paperwork, saving you time and money
- Signing various contracts is not particularly exciting and most people prefer to use their time off enjoying the property rather than signing pieces of paper
- It normally works out cheaper than you going out to Cyprus to sign
- You should only give a Power of Attorney to somebody that you trust as they allow that person to do things legally on your behalf
In Cyprus, Powers of Attorney have much wider faculties than we are used to in the UK and often have very general clauses in them “just in case”. We try and limit the Powers of Attorney down as much as possible whilst still allowing the person appointed the freedom to do what you need them to do.
For more information, please take a look at our guide to using Powers of Attorney.
Who should own the property?
This is probably the most important decision that you can make. Getting this right can save you thousands in costs and taxes. Getting it wrong can be an expensive mistake.
The way that you would buy a property in your home country is not necessarily the best way to buy in Cyprus so don’t assume that you can adopt what you have done here to your purchase in Cyprus.
There are many options – ranging from personal ownership to company ownership but there is no “one size fits all” solution that works for everybody.
Your circumstances and priorities are different from the next person. We are able to look at your circumstances and your priorities and advise you who should own the property based on that information. The solution may not necessarily be immediately obvious.
When deciding on the best form of ownership we would need to take into consideration both Cypriot and UK tax and also a range of other circumstances such as your plans for the property in the future.
For more information, please read our guide to company ownership of foreign properties.
Who do you need to inform when you buy a property in Cyprus?
There are various organisations, companies and official bodies you will need contact when you buy a home in Cyprus, including:
- Residents Association
- Water and Electricity Providers
- Land Registry
- Town Hall
To find out more, take a look at who to tell when you move into a property in Cyprus.
I’ve inherited a property in Cyprus, what do I do?
Many people who inherit a property abroad do not understand what the legal requirements are, whether they wish to keep the property or sell it. We can advise you on your options and make sure all of the necessary issues are taken care of, allowing you to make the most out of your inheritance.
To find out more, please see our guide to inheriting Cypriot property.
Do I need to make a Cypriot Will when I own property in Cyprus?
Cyprus has different inheritance laws to the UK, so it is generally a good idea to make a Cypriot Will in addition to your UK Will. While you can simply leave your Cypriot property to your chosen beneficiaries in your UK Will, this will normally significantly increase the inheritance costs to your beneficiaries and does not generally make financial sense.
To find our more, take a look at our guide to making an Cypriot Will.
Our legal fees for buying property in Cyprus
Our charges. We charge 1% of the purchase price subject to a minimum of £1,500 + VAT. If the property title is defective or unexpected additional work is required, then there may be additional charges. We would inform you before incurring this cost.
Our charges include:
- Legal advice on the terms of your offer to purchase
- Searches at the Town Hall
- Searches at the Land Registry
- Obtaining certificate from the Community of Owners (if appropriate)
- Checking the legal status of the property and the seller’s right to sell
- If appropriate checking the guarantee provided by the vendor
- Preparing a report on our searches and advising you on the purchase
- Arranging the signature of the title deed
- Arranging payment of the relevant taxes
- Arranging registration of the property at the Land Registry
- General hand holding and advice throughout the transaction
Why use Judicare for buying property in Cyprus?
A highly experienced Cypriot legal team.
We are UK-regulated solicitors
We are a UK based firm of Solicitors regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and who specialise in international legal issues.
We understand both UK and Cypriot law
Because we understand both sets of laws, we understand the difficulties that come when two sets of laws meet. This is particularly important when it comes to issues involving ownership, taxation and inheritance.
We are members of AIPP
The Association of International Property Professionals was set up to improve standards of professionalism in a largely unregulated overseas property market.
Our Cypriot team has many years of experience dealing with a whole range of legal issues with Cyprus.
We speak your language
You need a lawyer who can speak your own language. More importantly you need somebody who can explain and discuss often complicated issues in terms that you understand.
We are independent. We are not allowed to act for the buyer and the seller at the same time. We are not linked with any Development Companies, Builders or Estate Agents.
Need help buying property in Cyprus?
Our UK-based team of property lawyers are highly experienced in helping clients to buy and sell property in Cyprus, as well as handling a whole range of related issues, such as advice on Wills and inheritance.
With a thorough understanding of both UK and Cypriot law, we can provide clear, reliable legal guidance in plain English, giving you the confidence to deal effectively with property in Cyprus.