Whether buyers are looking for new or resale property in Cyprus, the choice and price range seem almost endless. In recent months I’ve seen properties advertised for as little as 20,000 and as much as 4,000,000!
The majority of expatriates buying property in Cyprus will buy ‘off-plan’ from one of the many property development companies. Others, who are keen to get settled, buy a resale property using one of the many estate agencies. Others buy a plot of land and build a custom home designed and finished to their specific, individual requirements.
There is no right or wrong choice; everyone has different needs, requirements & aspirations. But regardless of what type of property you’re thinking of buying:
- Always, always, always take independent legal advice.
- Instruct your lawyer to conduct a search at the Land Registry to ensure that the property is free from any claims (such as a mortgage). If the property is mortgaged and your lawyer can’t obtain a ‘release’ from the vendor; do not buy it.
- If you need to take out a loan to buy the property, make sure you have everything agreed with the finance company before signing a contract.
In this article I look at some of the benefits and disadvantages of the different approaches to property purchase to help you come to a decision.
Buying off-plan from a property developer.
Buying an off-plan home from a developer in Cyprus should be as straightforward as buying a new property from a developer in the UK. If you are looking for a new property and are not too concerned over its design then you may wish to consider this option as:
- Build time should be relatively quick; expect to take possession of the property within a year to fifteen months.
- Your day-to-day involvement in the project should be considerably less than building a custom property.
- You can choose the location for your property from one of the many sites owned by the developer.
- You can choose the design of your property from one of the standard plans provided by the developer.
- You may be able to make some small changes to the design using the architect employed by the developer.
- You can choose the finishes, fixtures and fittings from those provided by the developer.
- Items that you would normally expect to be included in the sale price of a new ‘luxury’ property may be charged as extras. For example:
- air conditioning,
- central heating,
- window shutters,
- insect screens,
- and even garage doors (assuming it has a garage)are often excluded from the advertised sale price.
- Simple changes, such as replacing a single power socket with a double or moving a light switch to a more convenient location may prove expensive.
- The range of fixtures and fittings offered by the developer may be limited and/or not to your liking.
- You will pay a high Property Transfer Fee as it will be based on the combined price of the land and the property.
- Due to complications that delay the availability of Title Deeds, it may take a long time for you to complete your purchase.
- Should you plan on selling your home before completion, you may need to come to a financial arrangement with its owner to cancel your contract of sale.
Buying a resale property
If you plan on buying property in Cyprus and want to take delivery & settle in the shortest possible time, then you should consider buying a resale home as:
- The buying process is very quick in Cyprus and you could take possession of the 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 landscaped ready for your enjoyment.
- Some properties are sold complete with furniture and other useful extras such as household appliances, satellite dish, television, etc.
- The price should be substantially less than buying a new property from a developer.
- You may incur additional costs in repairing, modernising and/or altering the property, which could work out more expensive than buying a new property.
- An independent survey of the property may not uncover hidden problems that may be laying in wait for you.
- If the property is relatively new, you may find that its Title Deed is not available and it may therefore take a long time for you to complete your purchase.
- If you plan on selling the property before completion, you may need to come to a financial arrangement with its owner to cancel your contract of sale.
Buying a custom property
If you are buying a new property and are able to put the time and effort into getting exactly what you want, then buying a custom home is your best option as:
- Your property will be unique and match your specific requirements.
- You will have control of the design process.
- You will be able to choose your building contractor through a tendering process and get a competitive price for its construction.
- If you choose your building contractor on the quality of his work, then the build quality of your property should be somewhat better than that of a development company.
- You will avoid the annoying and costly extras often added on by some property developers.
- You will be able to select and buy your finishes, fixtures and fittings from any supplier of your choosing (and pocket any discount you manage to negotiate).
- You will have a much greater degree of control over costs.
- The price will be substantially lower than buying a new property from a developer.
- You will pay a low Property Transfer Fee as it will be based on the price you pay for the land rather than the price of the land and the property.
- You will need to find and buy a suitable plot of land.
- You will need to invest a significant amount of your thought, effort and time into the project.
- You will need to commission an architect and other professionals to design your property and manage its construction.
- It could be a long project; don’t expect to take delivery of the property in less than two years.
Extract adapted from: ‘Buying a Home in Cyprus: A Practical Guide to Successful Real Estate Purchase’
your ultimate guide to buying property in Cyprus.