Navigating the overseas property buying process isn’t always plain sailing. Different rules and regulations, plus a new language, mean various pitfalls await over the horizon if you don’t plan ahead. Here are some top tips to help keep your dream of purchasing a property in Cyprus on course.
Seek independent legal advice
It cannot be stressed enough just how important it is to seek the services of a reputable, independent lawyer. You must ensure they’re registered with the Cyprus Bar Association and specialise in Immovable Property Law for assistance and guidance.
Attempts to save a bit of cash by refusing this invaluable legal advice often results in the buyer actually paying much more down the line to rectify mistakes. Ones that could have been avoided if they had appointed their own legal expert to protect and represent their interests from the outset.
It cannot be stressed enough just how important it is to seek the services of a reputable, independent lawyer
Having paid a reservation fee to the agent or the vendor’s legal representative, make sure a reservation agreement is signed by yourself and the agent. This should state the agreed deposit for the property and the circumstances in which a refund will be paid.
As the buyer, you should insist your fee is paid subject to ‘clear title deeds’ and the property is free from any encumbrances. This will protect your deposit, which will be refunded if any legal issues arise, preventing you from acquiring ‘clear title deeds’ free from encumbrances.
Any reputable independent lawyer will insist on conducting due diligence on the property as a matter of priority. As part of the due diligence process your lawyer should:
• Examine whether a mortgage or other encumbrances in the form of memos have been registered on the land.
• Ensure the property being purchased is correctly described on the title deeds. And that no amendments or alterations have been made to the property that would require additional permits.
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Include all agreed terms in the contract
Include all terms negotiated by you, the buyer and your respective legal representatives in the Contract of Sale. This should be drafted by both parties lawyers and include the agreed inventory.
Land Registry Office
Having signed the Contract of Sale and paid 20-30% to the vendor, your legal representative must stamp and lodge the contract of Sale at the Land Registry Office within the required legal timeframe. This will protect your rights until you complete the purchase and receive the title deeds.
Any reputable independent lawyer will insist on conducting due diligence on the property as a matter of priority
Consider all relevant costs
When you first meet with your legal representative you should request a breakdown of all relevant costs: transfer fees or VAT rate (where applicable), stamp duty, legal fees and other disbursements This will enable you to budget accordingly.
Drafting a will
Many property buyers in Cyprus fail to draft a will once they are the registered legal owner. By creating one your property will be disposed of according to your wishes. Rather than the forced heirship legislative provisions that would otherwise apply in Cyprus.