Nigel Howarth’s letter in Cyprus Weekly (29 April 05) spurred me to write about my own experience in seeking suitable accommodation to buy in Cyprus.
Having lived here for two years now and, having heard horror stories as well as pleasant experiences from friends and acquaintances who, to a man, advised us to use a lawyer, we felt equipped to handle the situation.
We found a likely looking development and approached a Registered Estate Agent who arranged for us to view an apartment in the development, meet the developer and he also negotiated a ‘satisfactory’ price.
We asked for a draft contract to show to our lawyer.
The agent said that if we wanted to waste our money on lawyers, who after all only wanted to make trouble and feather their own nest, of course we can, but he would need a retainer to hold the property we had selected. He suggested £1,000, which we I paid by cheque.
To cut a long story short, when we went to a lawyer, recommended by our bank, it transpired that the developer had no planning permission or building permit and the land ownership document was questionable.
Our Registered Real Estate Agent assured us all was OK, because the developer had an assurance from the Mayor that planning permission would be granted and that a building permit would follow.
We decided that the situation was unsatisfactory and asked for the return of our retainer.
We then suffered an hour and a half tirade, consisting of warnings that we were breaking the law and threats at what might happen if we insisted on taking this course of action, all aimed at getting us to change our mind. We insisted on a refund of our deposit.
Now it was explained that we would have to pay for all the work the Registered Estate Agent had done on our behalf a well as the developer’s costs in preparing a draft contract.
The Agent’s charges (incl. VAT) for two site visits & five meetings was CY£575.
The Agent’s assessment of the developers costs, CY£300.
Our refund was CY£125.
An expensive lesson but, perhaps, considering the alternative, money well spent!
Copyright © Cyprus Weekly May 13 2005