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Top 8 questions to ask estate agents

There is a huge oversupply of new property in Cyprus at the present time. Compared to last year, the number of new villas, apartments and other dwellings being built for which building permits have been issued has fallen by nearly 17 percent. There’s also a glut of second-hand/resale property on the market. I’ve just had […]

There is a huge oversupply of new property in Cyprus at the present time. Compared to last year, the number of new villas, apartments and other dwellings being built for which building permits have been issued has fallen by nearly 17 percent.

There’s also a glut of second-hand/resale property on the market. I’ve just had a quick look on the Internet and one property marketing company alone has more than 7,000 properties on its books with prices ranging from 48,000 Euros to over 7,000,000 Euros – something for everyone’s taste and pocket!

So given all the potential problems associated with buying new property, why not consider looking at what’s available in the resale market? There are a number of benefits:

  • The buying process is very quick in Cyprus and you could take possession of your new property within a matter of weeks of signing the contract.
  • You will see exactly what you are getting for your money.
  • The garden may be planted and landscaped ready for your enjoyment.
  • For various reasons, some people need to sell up quickly. They will often include their furniture and other useful extras such as household appliances, satellite dish, television, etc. as part of the deal.
  • The price you pay will be substantially less than buying an equivalent new property off-plan from a developer.
  • If you choose carefully and buy a property in an area that’s already been developed, you’re unlikely to be bothered by a developer building a block of apartments in front of you and blocking your view or by the never-ending stream of construction traffic and work going on outside your front door.
  • The all important Title Deed may be available at the time you buy – in which case you will are guaranteed to avoid the various property scams practiced by the more nefarious developers that I’ve written about elsewhere in this magazine.

Of course, there are some disadvantages to buying a resale property. It may need to be modernised, repaired or refurbished – and it’s a good idea to have any property you’re seriously considering professionally inspected and valued before making a firm offer.

Questions to ask the estate agent

When discussing the purchase of a particular resale property with an estate agent in Cyprus, there are a number of questions you should ask. Here are my top 8.

Question 1Why is the owner selling?

If you are lucky, the agent may reveal more than he should about the seller’s circumstances and motivation for selling. A motivated seller is more likely to accept an offer below the asking price.

Question 2How long has the property been on the market?

Has the property been ‘sticking’ on the market? Is the seller getting desperate to sell? Why is the property not selling? Are there any problems with the property which the agent is not telling you about?

Question 3When does the owner need to move out?

Is there an urgent deadline which could be an advantage in negotiating a lower price for the property? If the owner has to move somewhere else they will be keen to sell and get everything settled before they go. If the property is rented and the rental agreement is coming to an end, the seller will not want to keep the property empty for too long after the tenancy has ended.

Question 4What is the minimum price the seller will accept?

Knowing the bottom price which the seller will accept will help you formulate your offer. If a property has been on the market a while, most agents will be very forthcoming with this information.

Question 5What do you think the property will actually sell for?

This is a bit of a ‘fishing expedition’. What you are looking for is signs that the agent has a different opinion as to the true value of the property.

Question 6Who valued and priced the property?

Another ‘fishing’ question to follow-up from the last. If the seller priced the property and the agent thinks it’s too high, then when you place a lower offer, you stand a very good chance of having the agent bat your corner. If the agent has priced the property then they probably will stand by their valuation and push you to offer close to it.

Question 7What other properties are there in competition to this one?

This is a very useful question provided you get an honest answer! The agent is looking to close a deal, not open everything wide open with a whole load of new options. You are likely to get an honest answer by taking the property details sheet into a rival’s office and asking them! The information you gather will be important in justifying any offer you make.

Question 8What extras are included in the sale price?

Some properties are sold complete with furniture and other useful extras such as household appliances, satellite dish, television, etc. And if the owner is keen to sell quickly, it’s not unknown for them to include a car. (A friend in my village bought a resale property and all the seller took with him when he left was a suitcase full of clothes. Everything else he left behind).

Click here to download a list of legally registered real estate agents in Cyprus (produced by the Estate Agents Registration Council).

Extract adapted from: ‘Buying a Home in Cyprus: A Practical Guide to Successful Real Estate Purchase’ your ultimate guide to buying property in Cyprus.

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