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Thursday 6th August 2020
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Escape to Paphos

EPISODE 5 in the BBC 2 series ‘Escape to the Continent’ was broadcast last Saturday and featured a couple from Yorkshire considering a permanent move to Paphos.

Anita Rani, who presented the programme, explained how the island’s financial crisis had resulted in house prices falling “by a massive 40 to 50 percent, which is great news if you’re a buyer – and you can pick up a property for between 10 and 15 percent below the asking price. Of course costs do vary depending on the area you choose to live in – and Paphos is considered quite desirable and therefore, a little bit more expensive. The average three bedroom house here, in a rural setting, by a village, will cost you about £200,000.”

The couple, Brian from Bradford, a former healthcare lecturer, and Evey, a guide-dog puppy trainer and a former nurse from Wakefield, had been together for six months after meeting on an Internet dating site.

Brian had visited Cyprus once before earlier in the year, stayed in Paphos, and had got to know the area very well; it was Evey’s first visit.

They preferred older properties with character, but were quite open-minded and flexible. They were looking for something detached with a minimum of two bedrooms and bathrooms, in a secluded location, with plenty of outdoor living space and a swimming pool. They’d set their budget at £200,000, but could stretch to £220,000.

During their visit they stayed in a rented house and visited the PAWS Dog Shelter at Acheleia, where they talked to Kirsty and John who had lived in Paphos for a number of years. Evey tried her hand at traditional dancing while Brian accompanied her on guitar.

Anita visited Halloumi cheese producer Philippos Philippou at Galataria, where she helped out at the factory and tried the finished product straight from the factory.

During the programme Anita mentioned a few points to bear in mind when purchasing a property in Cyprus. “Independent legal advice is strongly recommended for any financial transactions undertaken. A lawyer should ensure that a property’s Title Deeds are readily available as proof of ownership can be an issue on the island. A search should also be carried out for any pre-existing mortgages on the property or land. Money will need to be put aside for various costs including legal, transfer and agent’s fees.”

Brian and Evey looked at properties in Stroumpi, Prodromi, Tala and a mystery house Kallepia (actually it was two houses in one).

Although they liked all of the houses they saw, none of them quite suited their needs. They returned to the UK to put Brian’s house on the market so they could increase their budget for a permanent home in Paphos and planned to return to Cyprus to continue their search.

The BBC programme below runs for 59 minutes.


  1. @tel – Yes many people have bought off-plan without problems, but there are a significant number who have run into problems due to nefarious property developers and lawyers.

    I recently started a poll (see ‘Have your Say’ in the right hand column) who were duped into buying on land that the developer had previously mortgaged.

    As for people losing their homes, a pal of mine in Pissouri has been fighting the developer’s bank for the past seven years and has probably spent more in legal fees than the house cost.

    There are also the people who bought from SNK at the eastern end of the island and Liasides in Paphos – the developers’ bank is demanding they pay his debts.

    Read the article One in four construction firms bankrupt.

  2. Yes there are unfortunate people who have been duped in the Cyprus property market.There are also people who have bought in Cyprus, got their title deeds and not had any problems at all. Remember..” bad news has flew around the world whilst the good news is still boarding the aircraft. Our family bought three properties off plan nine years ago, we have our title deeds and not had one ounce of problems off the two developers or anyone else.

    Whilst acknowledging the problems of the unfortunate buyers who have their problems, for goodness sake lets start talking the property market up,not down.

    And anyway, does any body know anybody who have lost their house here on the island through dodgy practices? I doubt it.

  3. I have to say that some developers would eat them for breakfast, the rest of the gang as well.

    I do agree with others below that the BBC should have done some research into what has gone on over the last 5 years. How do they imagine that Cyprus got into so much financial trouble last year that could last for a while yet, the main industry in Cyprus is the property market surely they should have looked into it before making a programme like this.

    I have only one thing to say to the couple on the programme, “STAY OUT OF THE WATER”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. @Robert Briggs – yes my friends’ house in Limassol (which is an old stone-built village house) does have Title Deeds. They were issued in the last century.

  5. @ Mr Nigel Howarth (re; Your friends selling this house in Limmasol.)

    Dear Sir, does this Limmasol property come with full and unencumbered Title Deeds at point of sale?
    Please inform. RB.

  6. @stevie R – Cowboy Builders is a Channel 5 production and I believe the one about MDE Nest Homes will be broadcast on Thursday 24th April at 20:00.

    On 22nd April is another ‘Escape to the Continent’ programme – this time featuring Limassol (and a house that a couple of my friends are selling).

  7. Brian and Evi. Congratulations on finding your dream house in Tala. You may be interested to know that the property in Prodromi that you looked at and was featured in this programme – has now been sold. Three people were interested in the property, so in the end it sold for the asking price.

    Good value properties are still selling but because of the publicity generated on this forum and many others – most buyers are looking for a property with Title Deeds.Their is no doubt that the Title Deeds situation is improving – but certainly not fast enough.

  8. Richard; NOOOOOOO!!!!

    Long, attritional wars only ever end cos one side (or t’other) runs out of cannon fodder.

    I’ve said it before, what this scam needs in order to perpetuate is a fresh and constant supply of VICTIMS! The Cyprus system won’t change unless it HAS to and the money from every new, starry-eyed/ irrationally optimistic Brian only oils the wheels of the current machine.

    Our collective negotiating position is made significantly WEAKER by these people’s existence (and money) not stronger.

  9. To be frank – I hope there are more Brian’s coming to buy in Cyprus (with or without title deeds). It’ll maybe allow us to negotiate our mis-sold loans on over-valued, badly built houses away and pass a term of stress onto fresh young legs who can soak up the aggro for a while.

    People have contracted cancer and committed suicide over this terrible scam. Me – I shan’t ever do this again thank you for as long as I live. If I want this level of ‘excitement’ – I’ll go and be a mercenary in a banana republic!

    These places are for holidays and handing the keys back to the agent again after a few weeks – and then going home to familiar turf. It may be cr*p turf in many ways – but at least it’s our turf and the law there (kind of) works.

  10. How can the BBC get away with what they are doing. The program you are commenting on today is in stark contrast to another program they are going to be broadcasting on 24th April called COWBOY BUILDERS ABROAD. It outlines the plight of several people who invested life savings into Cyprus but because the builder was able to exploit the crooked system in place on the island these people are about to lose their home and life savings. This builder is English but still managed to carry out this scam so what can the Cypriot developers, estate agents and the rest of their merry band of followers be capable of.

    As with the rest of the people on here I too wish Evi and Brian all the luck in the world. I also wish the BBC producers would talk to each other and let the British public know the truth instead of putting out such conflicting programs within weeks of each other. Keep a look out for this program, it should be interesting.

  11. I had an independent lawyer but it didn’t do me any good and 10 years on the title deeds are a figment of my imagination. The Developer ignored the building regulations and overbuilt the house 35%. The dimensions of the house and the size of the Plot were spelt out in the Contract of Sale but the Lawyer failed to notice or check the allowable building density. One would also have expected the Planning Authorities to have checked from time to time during construction, dream on!

  12. So much for expats not buying in Cyprus due to all the crooked dealing in the property business. Many have said, including me, that as soon as buyers from overseas sniff a real bargain, they will be buying Cyprus property again.

    What they want to find is the bottom of the market, so there is little risk of being stuck in the negative equity trap. In general, I don’t think we are at the bottom yet,but it’s going to happen sometime and then title deeds will figure prominently in sales statistics.

  13. A previous manager of mine had this trick question that he never tired of asking: “Would you rather do business on a handshake with an honest man or with a 200 page binding contract with a dishonest one?”

    The correct answer is as follows: Neither and both!

    DO NOT do business with dishonest people as no matter what documentation/assurances/ proofs of how similar what you’re doing is to what you know already (etc, etc), if they CAN screw you, they WILL.

    Similarly, even if your potential business partner is totally honest (as I’m sure some Developers/ Estate Agents/ Solicitors/ even fellow Expats with property to sell etc in Cyprus are), you do not know what pressures they’re under so what they may be capable of doing in order to relieve those pressures.

    Brian, you are entering into a bottomless pit of (some rather quite clever!) deceptions. NO guide or best practices manual can protect you from, say, buying a property with no external encumbrances only to find that by the time the property was registered at Land Registry, developer encumbrances mysteriously appeared!

    However, if you wish to ignore the MOUNTAINS of advice from those who have gone before you (like the flies looking up at the decaying carcasses of their electrocuted mates strewn around the fluorescent lighting. “Ooh, but it’s sooooo pretty….”) then go ahead. We all know what happens next.

    As my Da’ used to say, “If you can’t hear, you must FEEL”.

  14. Anyone remember those enticing ‘Place in the Sun’ progs about the Cyprus property market around 2004-2008? Remember how economical with the truth they were? When I contacted the C4 executives running the show to make sure they were properly informed of the rampant scams that had developed, instead of them thanking me they suggested that I was merely picking on a few isolated cases and should ‘go away’.

    Eventually, of course, they had to face up to the avalanche of horror cases that went all over the globe via the Internet, the UK newspapers and TV expose progs that were independent of property promotion.

    Perhaps the BBC2 execs should take a long hard look at the BBC North East’s ‘Inside Out’ investigation prog. The way that ‘Escape to the Continent’ glossed over the appalling truth about the Cyprus property market scams and the 120,000 properties still awaiting title deeds after typically 10-15 years smacks of either incompetence or collusion.

  15. @kufrahdog – If Brian (or anyone else) visits the Free Publications section they can download my “Golden Commandments” and a number of other useful publications free of charge.

    (My Golden Commandments is a subject of my full guide containing the more salient points).

  16. Hi Brian. We’ll done. I’m a Bradford lad myself. How I envy you and your partner. Been to Cyprus many a time. You will have good food, sunshine, nice people and good advice from people like Nigel.

    I do understand most situations that are going on with people and do hope all is resolved for them, as I have been visiting my Cypriot friends since 1989. If I ever become in the same situation as you I would immediately move to Cyprus. Good luck.

  17. Regardless of the ethics of BBC pushing Cyprus property at the moment, WHY is it always Paphos?

    Other areas much more desirable, but foreigners have only ever heard of one place in Cyprus, and programmes like this don’t help.

    @Brian I hope you will be very happy and your sale without problems. But do explore other areas in Cyprus. please.

  18. Can we assume, Nigel, that you have sent or will arrange to send Brian and Evi complimentary copies of “Golden Commandments” and “Buying a Home in Cyprus”?

    The BBC has behaved in a most irresponsible manner. If I was a very rich man I would sue the programme maker and or the BBC for misrepresentation of the true facts concerning the state of the property market in Cyprus. Are they totally unaware of the Great Title Deed Scam? Someone’s head should roll. KD.

  19. Brian here, from the programme. We had an offer accepted just last week on a property in Tala – should be there in a few weeks. Back to the packing . . .

  20. @Brian Taylor – Congratulations, I hope your purchase goes smoothly and I wish you both every happiness.

    Hopefully you’ve picked up a few pointers from here and from other websites to help you avoid the many pitfalls.

    Buying a resale property with its all-important Title Deeds is relatively safe, but it’s still essential that your lawyer checks there are no mortgages or other debts lodged against the property.

    Feel free to contact me if you need any advice or information.

  21. This couple should be made aware of the “Massive” title deeds fiasco that is the norm in Cyprus. Also are they aware of the many so called independent lawyers that seemingly work hand in hand with banks and developers? So called independent lawyers in the Paphos area somehow failed to mention about developers mortgages on land and let them go ahead with sales . Certifying officers acting in the Paphos area have seemingly signed , dates and stamped official documents yet people have proof this was not done in front of them, in fact many of the people were still in the UK so it can be understood why people are shouting fraud. Let the couple watch the BBC video on YouTube where the BBC looked at a £500 million fraud (that was their words), this was also in Paphos. Don’t touch and barge pole springs to mind.

  22. Should the programme name be changed for ex pats to “escape from Paphos”. It’s nice to know that people still want to come here to live because Cyprus will be nice once it is finished and running properly.

  23. Whoever commissioned and produced this programme are guilty of merely skirting over the appalling malpractices and their scale in their quest to knock out something for the small screen. The presenter’s happy clappy presentation style was another irritation but that’s a matter of personal taste.

    Watching the couple being led to the potential slaughter made one scream “Don’t do it!” at them. And as for “Taking independent legal advice”, quite. “Independent” my eye.

    This Anglo-Saxon obsession of buying real estate in ‘foreign parts’ has turned into a nightmare for thousands in Cyprus and yet still more unfortunates arrive. “Abandon hope most, if not all, who enter here.”

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