Real estate property in Greece is divided into two main categories: real estates outside city building plans and real estates within city building plans.
Real estates outside city building plans are mainly divided into two further categories: agricultural land and land allotted by lot. Land allotted by lot refers to real estates granted by the Greek State as agricultural lots for the resettlement of farmers who did not own land. This system was introduced in order to cater for the incoming arrival of refugees into Greece from 1922 onwards, which, in turn, gave rise to the need to make use of such plots of land with the goal of developing the agricultural economy. Land allotted by lot is frequently larger in size and one of its most significant characteristics is the legal prohibition on dividing the land into smaller parts.
Agricultural land refers to real estates outside city building plans which are inherently used for agricultural exploitation and for the production of natural produce.
On the other hand, real estates within city building plans are commonly known as building sites. A building site consists of any ground which is within an approved street plan or within the boundaries of a settlement, even if the latter does not have an approved street plan.
In contrast to other legal systems, Greek law generally permits the construction of buildings in real estates outside city building plans. Depending on the type of building which is to be built, and its intended use, there are town planning provisions which allow for construction of buildings depending on the size of the real estate in question. For instance, in principle, it is allowed to erect buildings of up to 200 square meters on agricultural land of 4.000 square meters and above.
Naturally, far more flexible town planning provisions apply in the case of building sites due to the fact that their innate purpose is the erection of buildings.
There are two key concepts which must be taken into consideration when considering whether or not to acquire real estate property in Greece: ‘conformity’ and ‘fit for building’ (in Greek ‘artio’ and ‘ikodomisimo’). A real estate is conforming when, in accordance with its area and dimensions, it is possible to erect a building or buildings based on what is permissible according to legal specifications .A real estate which is fit for building is one that has the appropriate features required to achieve the best aesthetical, constructive and financial results. As a result, all the real estates which are fit for building in terms of size and dimension must also fit the conforming requirement.
Choosing the right Real Estate
Choosing the right real estate mainly depends on the particular needs of the natural person/legal entity in question and on the desired use of the real estate. A real estate may be used as a residence, for private use, for agricultural use, for professional use or for use as a business.
The first category (i.e. real estates used as a residence) includes real estates within city building plans, which may either be single house residences or apartments. The construction of multi-story apartments with flats within the cities is commonplace in Greece and the value of the flats on higher floors is usually greater. Because the construction of buildings outside city building plans is allowed, real estates outside building plans may also be used as private residences. Nevertheless, a very important factor is choosing the most appropriate real estate, which should be conforming and fit for building. This is mainly determined by the real estate’s size, dimensions, form and by other minor factors.
Both land allotted by lot and agricultural land can be used for agricultural purposes. Real estates which are to be used for agricultural functions are usually cheaper. If the investor is not interested in a location near financial centers (usually large cities), he/she may find a sizeable real estate at a considerably low price.
Real estates used for professional or business-related purposes, can be found either outside city plans or within city building plans, depending on the activities and the type of business of each particular investor. Such activities or types of business may include:
- real estates outside city building plans, upon which commercial shops, factories, manufacturing
- areas, storage areas or shopping centers (malls) will be built
- Real estates suitable for the installation of machinery producing energy from renewable sources (i.e. solar panels, wind power generators etc.)
- Real estates suitable for haulage activities (logistic centers etc.)
Finding the right Real Estate
The use of a real estate agent is of great importance in the search for the most appropriate real estate for every business, investor or individual. Estate agents in Greece operate with a special permission and normally receive a fee worth 2% of the purchase price. While searching a real estate for use as a private residence, it is not unusual for individuals to carry out their own personal hunt in the area which interests them, since in Greece, FOR SALE ads are a common sight.
Property law and buying property in Greece
Place your property on a safe legal foundation
Property law in Greece – legal basis for purchasing Greek real estate
If one wishes to purchase real estate in Greece, the purchase of Greek property is governed by the Astikos Kodikas (Greek Civil Code), which is comparable to the German Civil Code (BGB). A notarized contract of sale and entry in the Ipothikofilakio (Land Charges Register) or Ktimatologio (Land Register) is required for the purchase.
As in German law, in Greek law the accession of title to a property is only complete upon entry in the Greek Land Register.
Greek real estate: the legal differences are in the details
In addition to the contract of sales’ special regulations, the sale is entered in the Greek Land Register. The Land Registry (Greek: Ipothikofilakio or Ktimatologio) has jurisdiction for specific municipalities. Unlike the German Land Register, for example, entries were previously named and not property related. The law introducing the Ktimatologio switched the previous name-based registers to a property-based Land Registry system. As this conversion has not yet taken place throughout Greece, this means that in some regions the Land Registers continue to be kept according to person (Ipothikofilakio) to a certain extent. When verifying the ownership status, an entry is verified in terms of the name of the respective vendor and not in terms of ownership status on the basis of entries under the plot numbers. Because of this peculiarity Land Register searches by a lawyer are indispensable in Greece.
Volonakis Law Firm will help you with the problems that arise in this regard, such as verifying ownership status. The following section provides an overview of purchasing property according to Greek law.
Private and commercial property in Greece: - an overview of Greek property law
Volonakis Law Firm: your partner for Greek property law
Partnering international businesses in Greece
What you need to know about Greek property law and accession of title in Greece
Legal basis for purchasing property in Greece
Buying property in Greece - The contract of sale
Greek property transactions are put into effect by concluding a notarized, precisely worded contract of sale. The object of purchase is described accurately, the sale price and when it is due stated, rescission rights and contractual penalties in the event of late payment and/or rescission of the contract of sale stipulated, as is contract implementation to arrive at transfer of title in the Land Register.
Land Register in Greece
Exactly as in the case of German law, according to the Greek Civil Code change of title is effected upon registration with the Land Registry having jurisdiction for the real estate. Payment of the sale price or the residual sale price takes place at the same time as the notary’s record is drawn up and is established in the notarized record.
Payment of land transfer tax is a prerequisite for transfer of title, which is usually carried out by lawyers.
Register of titles in Greece
The Land Registry (Greek: Ipothikofilakio or Ktimatologio) has jurisdiction for specific municipalities. Greek Land Registers have been, however, and to a certain extent still are kept by person (Ipothikofilakio) rather than plot. When searching the Land Register, an entry is therefore verified in terms of the potential owner’s name, whether and when he/she became the owner and by virtue of which legal deed, whether encumbrances, easements, legal disputes, have been registered, etc. A decision has been taken to modernize Greek Land Register practice to alleviate the difficulties arising when verifying ownership status. Restructuring in Greece has been summed up under the term “Ktimatologio”.
Ktimatologio / Land Register in Greece
The Greek Land Register operated according to plots and not owners, public faith in what is entered under the plot, etc., which has been under construction for some time, has already been accomplished and has come into force in numerous Greek regions.
The Greek Land Register/Ktimatologio has so far been implemented in two stages.
Mandatory representation by lawyers for property sale contracts in Greece
Representation by lawyers is mandatory when notarizing most contracts of sale in Greece. The lawyer carries out the Land Register searches, draws up the contract and also preliminarily signs the contract of sale. Statutory contributions must be paid to the local branch of the Law Society for the lawyer’s assistance with the notarized contract of sale.
Establishment of the National Land Register in Greece by Ktimatologio AE
Description of the 2007 and 2008 registration phases, with division according to region. Guidance on deadlines and obligations when registering properties and rights.
1. 2007 registration phase:
During the 1st phase of implementation, Ktimatologio AE took comprehensive measures to accelerate the process of implementing the National Land Register (Ktimatologio) in Greece.
The decision in March 2007 by Georgios Souflias, Minister for the Environment and Regional Planning, meant that all the local authorities in Attica, Thessaloniki and the capitals of the prefectures, which up to that point had not been recorded in the Land Register, were asked to register in the Land Register (establishment of the Land Register and undertaking of registration).
The goal is for two-thirds of the country’s population, 31 million acres and 6.7 million rights to be entered and registered in the Greek Land Register with the nine regions that have been included in the National Land Register.
The Land Register registration scheme was completed in 340 of the country’s regions within the first three months of 2008.
When this scheme comes to an end, approximately 84 million acres and 6 million rights should be registered, and a planned 97 Land Registries should be in operation. The following areas had been registered as of 26.5.2008:
The areas recorded in the Land Register as of the start of 2009 include the following 340 regions:
- ETOLOAKARNANIAS: AGGELOKASTROU, AGIOU ILIA, ETOLIKOU, GOURIAS, ELLINIKON, LISIMACHIAS, MASTROU, MESSOLOGGIOU, NEOCHORI (MESSOLLOGGIOU), STAMNAS, CHRISOVERGIOU
- ARGOLIDAS: ARGOUS, KEFALARIOU, KIVERIOU, KOUTSOPODIOU, MILON, NEAS KIOY, SKAFIDAKIOU
- ARKADIAS: ASTROUS, DOLIANON, KSIROPIGADOU, PARALIOU ASTROUS
- ARTAS: ARTEON, VLACHERNIS, KAMPIS, PANTANASSIS (PANTANASSIS), PETA, FILOTHEI
- ATTIKIS: AGIA PARASKEUIS, AGIOU DIMITRIOU, AGIOSUIOANNI RENTI, EANTIOU, AMAROUSIOU, AMPELAKION, ARTEMIDOS (LOUTSA), VRILISSION, VYRONOS, GERAKA, GLIKON NERON, DRAPETSONAS, ELEFSINOS, ZOGRAFOU, KESARIANIS, KERATSINIOU, KORYDALLOU, MAGOULAS, MELISSION, NEA PERAMOU, NEA SMYRNIS, NEOU PSYCHIKOU, NIKAIAS, PAIANIAS, PERAMATOS, SALAMINOS, SELINION, SPATON-LOUTSAS, FILOTHEIS, CHALANDRIOU, CHOLARGOU
- ACHAIAS: PATREON
- VIOTIAS: KASTROU, LOUTSIOU, ORCHOMENOU, PAVLOU
- GREVENON: GREVENON, KARPEROU, FELLIOU
- DRAMAS: AGIOU ATHANASSIOU, KALAMPOKIOU, KALAMONOS, KEFALARIOU, M. ALEXANDROU
- DODEKANISSOU: PATMOU, SYMIS
- EVROU: ANTHIAS, LOYTROU
- EYBOIAS: AGIOOU NIKOLAOU, BASILIKOU, DROSIAS, MYTIKA, CHALKIDEON
- EVRITANIAS: AGIOU ANDREOU, ANIADAS, KARPENISIOU, KLAYSIOY, KORISCHADON (KYPSELIS), MEGALOU CHORIOU, MOYZILOU
- ZAKINTHOS: ARGASIOU, BASILIKOU, KALAMAKIOU, PANTOKRATOROS
- ILIAS: ARETIS, LECHENON, MANOLADOS, NEAS MANOLADOS
- IMATHIAS: AGIAS BARBARAS, VERGINIS, VERIAS, PALATITSION, TRIPOTAMOU
- IRAKLIOU: IRAKLIOU
- THESPROTIAS: ASPROKKLISIOU, PLAISIOU, SAGIADAS, FILIATON
- THESSALONIKIS: AGIAS TRIADOS, ANALIPSEOS, ASVESTOCHORIOU, VASILIKON, EKSOCHIS, THERMIS, KALAMARIAS, MODIOU, NEAS RAIDESTOU, NEOU RYSIOU, NEON EPIVATON, PANORAMATOS, PERAIAS, PLAGIARIOU, PYLAIAS, TAGARADON, CHORTIATI
- IOANNINON: ANATOLIS, IOANNINON, KATSIKA, STAVRAKIOU
- KAVALAS: AVRAMILIAS, AGIASMATOS, AGIOU ANDREOU, DIALEKTOU, ELEFTHEROUPOLEOS, ELEFTHERON, KAVALAS, KERAMOTIS, NEAS IRAKLITSAS, NEAS KARIAS, NEAS PERAMOU, KSERIA, PARADISOU, PIGON, FILIPPON
- KARDITSAS: AGIAS TRIADOS, AGNANTEROU, KALOGIANON, PALAIOCHORIOU, PROASTIOU (PARAPRASTENIS)
- KASTORIAS: AMPELOKIPON, ARGOUS ORESTIKOU, DISPILIOU, KASTORIAS, LEFKIS, MAVROCHORIOU, MESOPOTAMIAS, POLIKARPIS
- KERKYRAS: ALEPOUS, KANALIOU, KATO KORAKIANAS, KERKYRAION
- KEFALLINIAS: ARGOSTOLIOU, DAVGATON, DILINATON, THINAIAS, KOUVALATON, KOUROUKLATON, SOULLARON, FARAKLATON, FARSON
- KILKIS: AGIOU PETROU, AKSIOCHORIOU, ASPROU, EVROPOU, MESIAS, PEFKODASOUS, POLIKASTROU, POLIPETROU, RIZION
- KOZANIS: AGIOU CHRISTOFOROU, OLIMPIADOS, PERDIKKA, PTOLEMAIDOS
- KORINTHIAS: ASSOU, VOCHAIKOU, VRACHATIOU, ZEVGOLATIOU, KATO ASSOU, KOKKONIOU, LECHAIOU, NERANTZIS (D. VELOU-NERANTZIS), PERIGIALIOY
- KYKLADON: AKROTIRIOU, ANO SYROU, APOLLONIAS, ARTEMONOS, VARIS, GALISSA, EMPORIOU, EPISKOPIS GONIA, ERMOUPOLEOS, KIMOLOU, MANNA, MEGALOCHORIOU, MILOU, MIKONION, PAGOU, POSIDONIAS, PIRGOU KALLISTIS, FINIKOS, CHROUSON
- LAKONIAS: GYTHIOU, LAGIOU, SKALAS
- LARISSAS: AMPELONOS, ARGIROPOULIOU, GIANNOULIS, TYRNAVOU, FALANNIS
- LASITHIOU: AGIOU NIKOLAOU, VROUCHA, ELOUNTAS, LOUMA, SKINIA
- LESBOU: AGIAS MARINIS, ALYFANTON, KATO TRITOUS, LOUTRON, MESAGROU, MORIAS, MYTILINIS, PALAIOKIPOU, PANAGIOUDAS, PAPPADOU, PERAMATOS, PLAKADOU, TAKSIARXON
- LEFKADAS: ALEXANDROU, APOLPAINIS, VAFKERIS, KARIOTON, KARIAS, KATOUNIS, LEFKADOS, NYDRIOU, PIGADISANON, PLATISTOMON, SFAKIOTON, TSOUKALADON
- MAGNISIAS: ALONNISSOU, NEAS AGCHIALOU, SKIATHOU
- MESSINIAS: ANTIKALAMOU, ASPROCHOMATOS, THOURIAS, KALAMATAS, LAIKON, MESSINIS, SPERCHOGIAS
- XANTHIS: AVATOU, ERASMIOU, EVLALOU, MAGGANON
- PIERIAS: MAKRIGIALOU, METHONIS, NEA AGATHOUPOLEOS
- PREVEZAS: THESPROTIKOU, NEAS KERASOUNTOS, PETRAS, ROMIAS, STEFANIS, FILIPPIADOS,
- RETHIMNIS: ADELE, ARGIROUPOLEOS, ARMENON, ATSIPOPOULOU, GERANIOU, EPISKOPIS (RETHIMNIS), MAROULA, PRASION, PRINE, RETHIMNIS, ROUSSOSPITIOU, CHROMONASTIRIOU
- RODOPIS: AIGIROU, KOMOTINIS, MESIS (PAGOURION)
- SERRON: SERRON
- TRIKALON: AGIAS KIRIAKIS, GLINOU, MEGALON KALIVION, PATOULIAS, SERVOTON, TRIKKAION
- FTHIOTIDAS: AGIOU KONSTANTINOU, ARKITSAS, ATALANTIS, KYPARISSIOU, LIVANATON, MALESINIS, MARTINOU, PROSKYNA, TRAGANAS
- FLORINAS: AGIOU ACHILLIOU, AMYNTAIOU, ANTARTIKOU, VALTONERON, KALLITHEAS, LAIMOU, LEVAIAS, LEFKONOS, PEDINOU, PLATEOS, FILOTA
- FOKIDAS: AGIOU GEORGIOU, AGIOU KONSTANTINOU, AMFISSIS, ITEAS, KIRRAS, SERNIKAKIOU, CHRISSOU
- CHALKIDIKIS: AGIOU NIKOLAOU, NEOU MARMARA, NIKITI, SARTIS, SYKEAS
- CHANION: GAVDOU, KOUNOUPIDIANON, MOURNION, NEAS KYDONIAS, NEROKOUROU, PERIVOLION (KYDONIAS), SOUDAS, CHANION
- CHIOU: ANEMONA, THYMIANON, IONIAS, KAMPOCHORON, MASTICHOCHORION, NEOCHORIOU, CHIOU
2. 2008 registration phase:
Other municipalities were included in the Land Register during the second stage. On 17 June KTIMATOLOGIO AE launched the new phase of Land Register registration in 107 municipalities, settlements and communities in Attica, Thessaloniki and the prefecture capitals, which had not been registered in the Land Register during the previous scheme. This latest Land Register registration phase is supposed to be completed in 2011.
Owners of properties in these 107 regions or holders of rights to them living in Greece were initially given a deadline of 31.10.2008 for declaration to the National Land Registry.
Owners living in Greece were then granted a period of grace to 21 November 2008. When this deadline expired, a final deadline of 12 December was set for missing declarations, along with imposition of a fine.
The registration deadline for property owners permanently domiciled abroad expired on 30 December 2008.
Areas and regions newly registered by current extension of the Land Register in Greece
The following is a list of the 107 new regions that were called upon to register in the Land Register:
Prefecture of Attica
- Municipality of ATHINAION2. Municipality of AGIAS BARBARAS3. Municipality of AIGALEO4. Municipality of PEIRAOS
- Municipality of PERISTERIOU
- Municipality of GALATSIOU
- Municipality of IRAKLIOU
- Municipality of LYKOVRISSEOS
- Municipality of METAMORPHOSEOS
- Municipality of IONIAS
- Municipality of PHILADELPHIAS
- Municipality of CHALKIDONOS
- Municipality of PAPAGOU
- Municipality of PEFKIS
- Municipality of PSICHIKOU
- Municipality of AGION ANARGYRON
- Municipality of LIOSION
- Municipality of ASPROPYRGOU
- Municipality of ACHARNON
- Municipality of ZEPHIRIOU
- Municipality of THRAKOMAKEDONON
- Municipality of ILIOU
- Municipality of KAMATEROU
- Municipality of KRYONERIOU
- Municipality of MANDRAS
- Municipality of PETROUPOLEOS
- Municipality of FYLIS
- Municipality of CHAIDARIOU
- Municipality of AGIOU STEFANOU
- Municipality of ANTHOUSSIS
- Municipality of ANIKSEOS
- Municipality of DIONISOU
- Municipality of DROSIAS
- Municipality of EKALIS
- Municipality of KIFISSIAS
- Municipality of MARATHONOS37. Municipality of NEAS ERITHRAIAS38. Municipality of NEAS MAKRIS39. Municipality of NEAS PENTELIS
- Municipality of PALLINIS
- Municipality of PENTELIS
- Municipality of PIKERMIOU
- Municipality of RAFINAS
- Municipality of RODOPOLEOS (MPALAS)
- Municipality of STAMATAS
- Municipality of ALIMOU
- Municipality of ARGIROUPOLEOS
- Municipality of GLIFADAS
- Municipality of DAFNIS
- Municipality of ELLINIKOU
- Municipality of ILIOUPOLEOS
- Municipality of MOSCHATOU
- Municipality of TAVROU
- Municipality of IMITTOU
- Municipality of PALAIOU FALIROU
- Municipality of AGIOU KONSTANTINOU
- Municipality of ANAVISSOU
- Municipality of VARIS
- Municipality of VOULAS
- Municipality of VOULIAGMENIS
- Municipality of KALIVION-THORIKOU
- Municipality of KERATEAS
- Municipality of KOUVARA
- Municipality of KROPIAS
- Municipality of LAVREOTIKIS
- Municipality of MARKOPOULOU MESOGAIAS
- Municipality of PALAIAS FOKAIAS
- Municipality of SARONIDOS
- Municipality of KALLITHEAS
Prefecture of Thessaloniki
- Municipality of THESSALONIKI2. Municipality of AGIOU PAVLOU3. Municipality of AMPELOKIPON4. Municipality of ELEFTHERIOU KORDELIOU
- Municipality of EFKARPIAS
- Municipality of EVOSMOU
- Former community of IONIAS(now communities of NEAS MAGNISIAS and DIAVATON in the municipality of ECHEDOROU)
- Municipality of MENEMENIS
- Municipality of NEAPOLEOS
- Municipality of PEFKON
- Municipality of POLICHNIS
- Municipality of STAVROUPOLEOS
- Municipality of SYKEON
- Municipality of TRIANDRIAS
- Municipality of OREOKASTROU
- Geographical community of TRIPOLEOS, TRIPOLIS municipality, ARKADIAS prefecture
- Geographical community LEVADEON, LEVADEON municipality, VOIOTIAS prefecture
- Geographical district of DRAMAS, DRAMAS municipality, DRAMAS prefecture
- Geographical community of ALEXANDROUPOLEOOS, ALEXANDROUPOLEOS municipality, EVROU prefecture
- Geographical community of ZAKINTHION, ZAKINTHION municipality, ZAKINTHOU prefecture
- Geographical community of PIRGOU, PIRGOU municipality, ILIAS prefecture
- Geographical community of IGOUMENITSIS, IGOUMENITSIS municipality, THESPROTIAS prefecture
- Geographical community of KARDITSIS, KARDITSAS municipality, KARDITSIS prefecture
- Geographical community of KILKIS, KILKIS municipality, KILKIS prefecture
- Geographical community of KOZANIS, KOZANIS municipality, KOZANIS prefecture
- Geographical community of KORINTHOU, KORINTHION municipality, KORINTHIAS prefecture
- Geographical community of SPARTIATON, SPARTIS municipality, AKONIAS prefecture
- Geographical community of LARISSIS, LARISSAS municipality, LARISSIS prefecture
- Municipality of VOLOU, MAGNISIAS prefecture
- Geographical community of XANTHIS, XANTHIS municipality, XANTHIS prefecture
- Geographical community of EDESSIS, EDESSAS municipality, PELLIS prefecture
- Geographical community of KATERINIS, KATERINIS municipality, PIERIAS prefecture
- Geographical community of PREVEZIS, PREVEZIS municipality, PREVEZIS prefecture
- Geographical community of SAMION, VATHEOS municipality, SAMOU prefecture
- Geographical community of LAMIEON, LAMIEON municipality, FTHIOTIDAS prefecture
- Geographical community of FLORINIS, FLORINAS municipality, FLORINIS prefecture
- Geographical community of POLIGIROU, POLIGIROU municipality, CHALKIDIKIS prefecture
Requirements for registering a property in the Land Register in Greece
Before a property can be registered with the competent Land Registry office:
1. Possible pendencies in connection with the real estate or rights thereto are to be clarified, which include, for example, verifying whether the corresponding titles are properly registered in the local title registers and whether additions and/or corrections are necessary, whether there are still defects in the contracts, or whether as yet open preliminary contracts or resolutory conditions are to be regulated in contracts, etc.,
2. The necessary documents must be enclosed with the application, including
a) Photocopies of the deeds which prove the rights to the real estate (e.g. contracts)
b) Proof of payment of the registration fee for registration in the Land Register (receipt).
When submitting the application, a copy of the applicant’s personal identity card or passport is required, as is a document showing the applicant’s tax reference (e.g. tax assessment, utility bill, etc.).
3. Consequences of missing the deadline for registration in the Land Register
Usually the only option still open to owners who have failed to register their property/rights in a timely manner is to bring a suit before the competent regional court in non-contentious proceedings for recognition of the property within eight years of the expiration of the deadline. The court’s decision allows late registration of the real estate in the name of the actual owner. Only in very rare cases, and only if conclusive proof is at hand, will the Land Registry allow an entry simply by means of application, for example if the owner’s name is already recorded in the Land Registry within the scope of other official procedures for a property.