A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR ACQUIRING RESIDENCE PERMIT
The economic crisis in Greece has resulted in a number of development and investments laws to be introduce by the Greek government so as act as an incentive to foreign investors to invest in Greece. The new investment law 4146/2013 provides for a number of opportunities to invest in Greece both at a corporate level as an institutional or strategic investor and as a small to medium size investor.
In this note we will address the opportunities offered to small to medium size investors.
The current market environment presents a unique and excellent opportunity to invest in purchasing real estate in Greece. Prices are at the very low end of the market which makes it all the more interesting to adopt this form of investment. Today one could buy in Greece a wide range of real estate from studios to flats and apartments in centre of Athens, to see-view apartments at the coasts of Attica, to summer houses and villas in the numerous of the famous Greek islands, to stone build houses in the Greek mountains and ski resorts, including hotels and bungalows. All of which can be found at very interesting prices.
The entire process for acquiring real estate in Greece is a process which aims primarily to safeguard the transaction. Greek law respects and protects the property rights of real estate property holders. Recently the Greek state looks even more so forward to foreign investment and there are a number of incentives established by the law which aim to promote investing in real estate. Notably one of these incentives is the new investment law which provides for residence permit for the real estate property buyer for him/her and his family for 5 years, renewable, upon purchasing real estate valued at or above 250.000,00 euros.
Our law office has extensive and thorough experience in real estate law and has in the past assisted both individuals and corporations who wished to invest in real estate property in Greece offering advice on all aspects related to this subject-matter. We have also assisted a large number of our foreign client with obtaining residence permits as we are one of the first law offices in Greece to make use the provisions of the investment law for such residence permits.
We are available to meet you and co-operate with you so as to find the best solution for your needs.
In brief the entire process consists of 4 steps.
1. Obtaining a Greek tax number
2. Opening a Greek Bank account
3. Proceeding with the acquisition or the long term lease of the property
4. Applying for the residence permit.
STEP no 1. OBTAINING A GREEK TAX NUMBER.
The first step will be to obtain a Greek tax number. The tax number is necessary so as to exist as a fiscal entity in Greece and be able to enter into all kind of legally and fiscally bending transactions such as to sale-purchase an apartment or enter into a lease.
For obtaining a Greek tax number one needs the following :
1. a valid passport
2. a valid visa
3. a power of attorney to a lawyer or an accountant or a third party instructing him/her to appear before the competent tax authorities apply and obtain Greek tax number.
Our law office can obtain for you and on your behalf a Greek tax number.
STEP no 2. OPENING GREEK BANK ACCOUNT
Once you have obtained your Greek tax numbers you will need to open a Greek bank account in order to receive and make payments.
The documents required to open a bank account for a natural person are:
1. Valid passport and a document which states the father name if not mentioned in the passport.
2. Document stating the Greek tax number of the person.
3. Certificate from the competent authorities of the state of origin certifying the financial status of the person. Verified by the Greek consulate at the state of origin or with an Apostille.
4. Document proving the Greek address of the applicant.
5. Proof of professional occupation and professional address at the state of origin.
6. Physical presence at the bank branch at the opening of the account and signature samples.
STEP no 3. SALE – PURCHASE PROCESS
Once everything of the above is in order then you have to move on to collect the documentation which is required by law to make the sale-purchase of the apartment.
Indicatively the documents required are:
a. Copies of the passports and the tax numbers of the sellers and the buyers.
b. Copy of the sale-purchase contract of the apartment
c. Copy of the building license.
d. Certification from a civil engineer that the apartment does not have planning irregularities (Law 4014/2011) or if it does that this irregularities have being formalized.
e. Certificate of energy efficiency of the apartment
f. Certificate from the municipality that the sellers have paid the property fees/taxes.
g. Social security clearance certificate for the sellers
h. Tax clearance certificate of the sellers
i. The last paid bills of water and electricity
j. A copy of the deed for the composition of the horizontal ownership
k. Certified copies from the planning authorities of the topography and floor plans of the apartment.
These are the documents that are needed to have a house sold. Our advice is to have a civil engineer to collect these documents and forward them to the notary public. If you do not know a Greek civil engineer then we could ask a number of them we work with so as to give you an estimate.
Note: Lawyer’s fees:
The lawyers’ fees are freely agreed between the client and the lawyer(s), taking into account the complexity of the case and the difficulties associated with the property in question. In general terms, the legal fees are calculated as a percentage based on the price stated in the sale-and-purchase deed, which can be briefly summarized as being around but not exceeding 1%.
This fee includes two land searches done on the property. One in the beginning and one at the day of the execution of the sale-purchase deed as well as drafting a legal note on the statutes of the property and the issuing of the land registry certificates which indicate the legal status of the property.
In the event there is no sale-purchase deed then the land registry is, within Attica then the fee per land search is 300 Euros including the land registry certificates (costing around 30,00 euros per set of certificates). For places outside Attica fees vary according to distance.
All legal fees are subject to a value added tax (VAT) of 23%.
Once the house is sold and the deed is executed before the notary public then you have to register the new owners with the land registry and the cascade. Once that is done then you move on to apply for the residence permit.