Buying property in any country as a foreign national requires research, trust and courage. For Britons seeking property abroad, Turkey seems a good option. Exchange rates are favourable, there has been a significant push by the Turkish government to encourage tourism and property investment, and it is easy to get to. Parts of the country – particularly along the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts – are very popular with holiday home buyers. Sadly, parts of the Turkish real estate industry don’t have a great reputation and are compared to Spain in the 1980s and 1990s. In this article we’ll explore how to buy property in Turkey without being ripped off.
If you are seriously considering a property purchase in Turkey, here is the approach we would recommend to secure your ideal property, at the right price. Property in Turkey can be an excellent investment choice – but not all developments and estate agents are equal. Some are more equal than others.
First of all, think location – location – location...
Do your research. Which locations have a history of steady capital growth and look worth investing in? Which developers are trustworthy and which are cowboys looking to sell you the Emperor’ New Clothes?
When you start getting into discussions with agents and developers, if there is anything you are unsure of, ask. Stand your ground. Remain firm if you can under pressure from a developer or agent to sign on the dotted line.
Buying a property in another country can be a very personal decision. Sometimes it can even be a romantic one as you wistfully remember holidays gone by. This is great, and don’t lose that – BUT approach your purchase with a business-like frame of mind. Do your research. Knowledge is power.
Take your time to do your research and planning, and ask around about developers and areas. Get yourself knowledgeable; it will put you in a better bargaining passion. There are scores of Facebook groups about living in Turkey. Sign into a few of those and ask questions – most people are very friendly and willing to help.
The tourism and property markets will have been hit hard by COVID-19 and it will take months if not years to return to ‘normal’, if it ever does. It is likely that Turkey, with its’ fantastic climate, incredible coastline and new infrastructure – may rebound quicker than other countries.
Consider the accessibility to an international airport and major roads. Don’t be fooled into buying an apartment on a development because it is an amazing price, and then find it takes hours to get to. Whether you’re using it yourself or planning on renting it out, it will need to be close to amenities, services and attractions.
If you are going to be renting out your property to holidaymakers, you might want to ensure it is within 60-90 minutes of an international (or connecting) airport. If it doesn’t already have these on site, think about access to restaurants and beaches.
There are three main property types to consider:
(1) Apartments – popular choice as cost-effective lock-up-and-leave holiday homes, or even as low-maintenance rental investment properties. If they are on the coast, in a good development with a shared pool and facilities, should rent out relatively easily.
(2) Villas – usually detached or semi-detached, these can either be in rural or built-up areas. Typically they will have their own pool, and are suited to families or those who are thinking of moving to live in Turkey.
(3) Village/traditional properties which might need renovating or improving, and someone is buying as a long-term project.
Off-Plan or Already-Built?
There are many developments which are already completed and being marketed with empty, brand-new units for sale. Don’t feel compelled to buy ‘off-plan’ (i.e. before it is built) if this makes you feel uncomfortable in anyway. If you want the physical reassurance of investing in bricks and mortar which you can touch and feel, there are plenty of options.
Equally, buying off-plan can present other opportunities like early-bird prices, developer finance and a pick of the best plots. You also will have some influence on the final finish and décor of the property.
When you’re thinking about how to buy property in Turkey, whichever route you decide, there will be plenty of options in all of the main resorts around the Aegean and the Mediterranean.
You’ll Need Protection
No, we’re not talking about suncream (although you will need this on those gorgeous beaches in 40-degree temperatures) but rather legal protection. You must have legal support as you go through this process. Your agent or developer may introduce you to their ‘tame’ legal representative, but in reality – to be 100% protected – you will want to instruct an independent solicitor. Ideally a property specialist who knows the area you are purchasing in.
Carry out the same due diligence as you would if you were instructing a solicitor in your home country. Check out their qualifications and background, ask for testimonials. You’re going to be putting a lot of trust in this individual to protect your interests, so choose wisely.
This lawyer will check your right to purchase, and will be provided by the agent or developer with the title deeds of the property you are interested in purchasing.
Your solicitor will check that the property:
- is not going to be built on disputed land;
- must not be close to military land;
- isn’t held in the names of multiple people if in reality there is only one vendor;
- has no outstanding debts/mortgages.
Your lawyer will also make sure that you are – in fact – buying what you think you are buying. If you’re buying off-plan, then you’ll want them to check the reputation of the developer. If you’re not taking delivery of your property for 12-24 months, will they still be in business in 18 months?
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