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Tips for buying in Turkey

 

Tips for buying property in Turkey

  Moving guide Mortgages and foreign exchange

General Information

  Notary public Translators
  Money

Qualifications

  Receipts Modifications to your property

A little bit about Life in Turkey

  Electricity and water  
  Local Shops  
  Dolmus

 

Tips for buying property in Turkey

Turkey is a wonderful country and many foreigners have chosen to buy a home here for any number of good reasons.  The “Turkish Riviera” has almost 300 days of sunshine each year, the food is fresh, delicious, the people are friendly, and the cost of living is much lower than many countries.

Whatever the motivation or the time you want to enjoy in Turkey, it may still be an unfamiliar country, quite possibly a foreign language, and the idea of going through the process of buying property in a place where you are unsure of the legalities and customs can be quite intimidating.  The combatant for any fear is knowledge.

To help inform you, evbazar.com has compiled a list of issues that may be of importance, and certainly of interest to foreigner buying homes in Turkey.  

For detailed information please see the Process of Buying Property in Turkey, where there is a step by step guide, covering all legal and technical matters.

 

  • Have a plan before you get on the plane.  Have a number of properties picked out that you want to look at, and arrange to view them soon after you arrive.
  • Organise your mortgage before you go.  Many banks will not give credit on the value of the foreign property, but will give a second mortgage on your existing property at home.  Make sure the deposit is accessible , so you can start proceedings straight away.  If you are using escrow, have the details of the service and information ready for the seller to read.  (If they don’t speak your language, you may have to find a translator. Please see our Trades and Services Page)
  • Speak to a lawyer in your own country before you get to Turkey.  Tell them your plans and ask for any advice.  It is also good to ask whose name to put the property in (in relation to taxation).
  • You are able to employ your own lawyer in Turkey, or provided by the seller or Emlak (Real Estate Agent).  There are many multi-lingual lawyers in Turkey, (Please see listings in our Trades and Services Page), and also firms that specialise in international real estate law.  These lawyers can do many things for you, such as
    • Identify whether any contract is fair and legal,
    • Find out if the property is outside the Military Zones,
    • Find out if all building permissions have been granted,
    • Find out if the seller has the rights to sell,
    • Find out if the property is under any mortgage or has any debt attached, and arrange to have them paid off,
    • If you are buying property that is under construction, find out if you are protected against the construction company going bankrupt or not completing your property.  Your lawyer can arrange insurances or verify the construction companies’ insurances.
    • Advise you of the correct insurances you need to take out, remembering that insurances on a holiday property are different to those of a permanent residence.
    • If you decide to rent out the property, what is the process and permissions required,
    • Make out a local will.  In Turkey, you have the right to will your property to whomever you choose, but it is best to have it legally set down.
    • Arrange to have the phone and water connected (you will need a residency visa for this).

 

  • Use our site to check the Emlak (Real Estate Agents) around the area you want to buy in.  Find out average prices for properties of the same size and kind to ensure you are getting a fair deal.

·         If you know any Turkish, talk to the locals about prices.  Also ask about any issues they are having with their properties, or with the local area.

·         Talk to the ex-pat locals who have already bought in your area.  They will usually tell you about their experiences, and you may just get invaluable information.  To find ex-pats online, please see our 'Local Knowledge' links at the bottom of the home page.

·         Have an Expertize Report done on a property if you are really serious about it.  It is a comprehensive report on the property’s condition, from materials used to chips in the paintwork, and details all legal permissions obtained.  They can cost a few thousand (YTL), but it can be worth it for piece of mind.  In a sale in Turkey, these Expertize Reports are not mandatory unless the property is under mortgage.  You can find Expertize companies on the Trades and Services Page.

·         Is your property part of a co-operative In Turkey the Mortgage system is very new.  Before the system came in, (and still a continuing practice), the average person who wanted to build a place, commonly summer houses, went into a co-operative.  With the financial power of a group of people, land could be bought and a construction company hired.  It meant that the individual could pay monthly instalments while land was developed, and at the end have their house. 

You will find many areas, particularly coastal areas, where communities are comprised of co-operative built developments, often marked by having a suburb of almost identical homes.  As with any project dependant on the financial circumstances of many individuals, you may find half finished houses and places in disrepair.  This may be because the financial situation of the co-operative member who was paying for that property changed, and they could no longer keep up the commitment. 

It is important to know that foreigners are not allowed to join in a co-operative, ie, they cannot pay monthly as the house is being built.  However, once the home is finished, with all documentation and Tapu (Title Deed), they are welcome to buy the completed house.  (For more information on documentation etc, please see Process of Buying Property in Turkey)

 ·        Apply for a Taxation Number.  These are necessary for purchasing a property and opening a bank account and is applied for at the Local Minister’s Office.  You will need proof of identification, and your Father’s full name.  You may incur a small charge.

·        Open a bank account at a local bank.  Most banks can open either a foreign currency account, or a Yeni (new) Turkish Lira account.  Many banks also have internet banking, and many services now accept payments over the internet.

·         Residence Visas for Turkey.  You don’t need to have residency visa to go through the legal process of buying a property in Turkey.  You will require a residency visa if you wish to remain in Turkey for more than 3 consecutive months, obtain a phone (cellular or land-line) or buy a car. 

 

General Information

 

Notary Public

A Notary Public is a person licensed by the government to act as the government’s witness in official matters.  It is their duty to witness and officiate on things like sighting documents, and taking statuary declarations, such as two parties declaring that money has changed hands in the process of selling/buying a property.  Any documentation that needs to be witnessed by a notary Public must be in Turkish. (see below for information on Translator Services).  The Notary Public will charge for his/her services, with a minimum charge of YTL 20, depending on the time consumed, and the complexity of the matter.  (They are known as Notary Public in Turkish language).  For a list of Notary Public, please see our Trades and Services page.

 

Translators

Official Translators can be easily found almost anywhere in Turkey.  They are licensed and officially recognized by the government as being true and accurate in their work.  Any documentation you take to an official translator will be translated, then stapled to a copy of the original, and signed and stamped by the Translator.  The stamp will go over the staple, in effect stamping both (all) pages.  Once stamped, it is recommended not to pull the pages apart, as it now an official document. 

For anything needing translation that must go before a Notary Public, the Land Registry Office (to transfer the title deed [Tapu]), banks, or official organizations the translation must be done in this way.  Quite often, official organisations requiring you to have something translated will ask for the translation to also have the stamp of a Notary Public.

Translators are also needed to accompany you to official appointments, for example the exchange of Tapu, because the laws of Turkey state that any person signing official governmental documents must be fully aware of what they are signing.

Many Translators will also translate other information, at their office, or via email.  However, anything needed for official purposes must be signed and stamped.

 

Receipts.

In an effort to prevent corruption and avoidance of payment of taxation, the Turkish Government has brought in a scheme whereby citizens must produce receipts to prove expenditure, and thereby income. 

What this means is that if a commercial enterprise (for example the local shop, a painter, a taxi driver, any organisation to whom you pay for a product or service), must give you a receipt.  If they don’t it usually means that they are avoiding paying the taxes.  It can also mean that the goods or services purchased by you are under no warranty – because legally they don’t exist.  

If you are a non-Turkish citizen and are not working in Turkey, you do not need to keep the receipts for income taxation purposes.  You may, however need them for proof of purchase or warranty.

 

Qualifications.

By law in Turkey, any trade service provider (painter, plumber, builder etc) must be qualified to carry out work on any property.  In most cases they are, but it is good to be aware that it is your responsibility to ask to see qualification papers for any trades person you employ.  If the person carrying out the work is not qualified, they are uninsured, and the work they do has no warranty under the Turkish Legal System. 

 

 

Modifications to your Property.

Once a house is complete it is given a ‘permission to live’.  This means that the property has been sighted, checked against original construction documents to verify that what was originally proposed has been completed, and can legally be lived in. 

If you choose to modify the property after this permission has been obtained, you must have permission from the Local Minister, and employ a qualified trades person for the job, which ensures warranty and insurances. This includes things like adding a balcony shade, a roof shade, changing the layout of rooms (knocking down walls) or anything which changes the structure of the building.

 

Money and Money Exchange

It is legal for any service or product to be paid for in foreign currency.  Often it is asked that you should pay in a foreign currency, which, of course, you are under no obligation to consent to. If you do pay in foreign currency, the receipt is legal, and any warranties stand.

If you need to change money in an area where there is no currency exchange office, your other options are banks, post offices, hotels and jewellery shops.  The latter, if it falls into the category of gold and silver dealer, is ‘licensed’ by the government to perform the role of currency exchange.   As always, look around for the best rates.

 

A little bit about Life in Turkey

 

Electricity and Water

It is not uncommon for electricity and water supplies to be cut off for short periods from time to time.  Ask your Emlak if this is a frequent occurrence in the area in which you want to buy, and also how you will be notified if there is to be a planned outage.  It is always wise to keep a couple of candles around the house in case of evening outages.

This may be of importance when choosing kitchen appliances.  It may not be the best idea to have a totally electric stove top, particularly as gas is readily available.

Electricity is 220 volts and takes the standard European plugs.

 

Local Shops.

Most neighbourhoods have one or more small local shops, which supply the basic necessities, as well as things like fresh bread, 20 litre bottles of drinking water and gas bottles.  Many shops are happy to deliver almost anything, most commonly the heavier things like water and gas.  Sometimes a delivery fee may be payable, or if not, it is polite to tip a lira or two.

With the gas bottles, there is a system whereby you buy the first bottle and also buy the gas to fill it.  After that, you can buy more gas, and they will take the empty one and just replace it with a full one.  Usually, if you no longer want the gas bottle, you sell it back for the original price.

The big 20 litre water bottles are recycled.  You should take back the empty bottle when you go to buy a new one, or give the empty one when the new one is delivered.

 

Dolmuş

The Dolmuş is a cross between a taxi and a bus. They are mini-vans or small busses which travel along a set route, picking up and dropping off people whenever and wherever is needed.  They usually have a small sign on the right of the windshield stating the destination.  Anyone is welcome to use these services although if you have large packages or suitcases, they may be a problem. 

Dolmuş etiquette is fairly standard, and sometimes a little different to what other countries are used to.  Firstly, when you get into the Dolmuş, find a seat, so the driver can keep going.  Once moving again, you can hand the money to him, or to the person in front of you, who will hand it on until it gets to the driver.  If you are paying for more than one person, tell the person you hand the money to, and they will pass it on to the driver.  If change is required, it will be handed back in the same fashion.

When you want the driver to stop, say “dur, inecek var” (door, injeck vaar), or “Dur, lutfen” (door lootfen”). 

As with any public transport, it is polite to offer your seat to elderly people, or to a lady with a small child.

 

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