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Understand the Symvolaio Agoras

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When it comes to buying real estate in Greece, making sure you fully grasp the property sales contract is essential.

Indeed, not fully understanding the document you will sign can lead to financial losses, including the forfeiture of deposits, payment of penalties, unexpected costs, legal expenses, and potential poor investment decisions.

We've heard countless stories of people making costly mistakes when signing their property agreement in Greece. We want to help you avoid the same experience.

We'll give here a very brief overview regarding the property sales contract in Greece ; if you want a full checklist, please check our property pack for Greece.

What is the Symvolaio Agoras in Greece?

In Greece, the property purchase agreement is a crucial document in real estate transactions, known locally as the "Συμβόλαιο Αγοράς" (Symvolaio Agoras).

This agreement outlines the terms and conditions of the property sale, including details about the property, the agreed-upon price, and the obligations of both the buyer and the seller.

This agreement is legally binding and serves as a formal commitment between the buyer and the seller. It acts as a guarantee for both parties, ensuring that the seller commits to selling the property and the buyer commits to buying it under the terms specified in the agreement.

For international buyers or non-residents, there are some additional considerations. Greece may have specific regulations regarding property ownership by foreigners, including possible restrictions in certain areas or additional bureaucratic steps.

Typically, the property purchase agreement is signed after initial negotiations and once both parties have agreed on the price and conditions.

Before signing this agreement, a due diligence process is usually conducted to verify the property's legal status, ensuring there are no outstanding issues or encumbrances.

A deposit is often required as part of this agreement. This deposit, usually a percentage of the purchase price, demonstrates the buyer's commitment and is typically held in an escrow account until the transaction is completed.

The exact amount can vary, but it's often around 10% of the agreed purchase price.

The process in Greece might have some nuances compared to other countries. For example, the involvement of a notary is mandatory in Greece for property transactions, which might not be the case in all countries.

Additionally, the legal framework and specific steps can differ, emphasizing the importance of understanding local laws and customs in property transactions.

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What should be included in the property purchase agreement in Greece?

In Greece, a property purchase agreement, or "Συμβόλαιο Αγοράς" in Greek, must adhere to specific legal requirements to ensure its validity and enforceability.

The Greek Civil Code and specific property laws govern these requirements.

The agreement should contain key information such as the identities of the buyer and seller, a detailed description of the property (including its location, size, and boundaries), the agreed-upon sale price, and the payment terms.

The title of the property should be clear and free from any encumbrances or liens, which must be explicitly stated in the agreement.

Mandatory clauses in the agreement typically include the full details of the property, confirmation of the seller's right to sell the property, the total sale price, and the terms of payment.

It should also clearly state any obligations or responsibilities of both the buyer and the seller, like paying taxes or handling any necessary repairs before the sale.

Additional clauses may address specifics like the delivery date of the property, conditions regarding the property's current state, or arrangements for any fixtures or fittings included in the sale.

The agreement can also include various conditions or contingencies, such as the sale being subject to the buyer obtaining a mortgage or the completion of a satisfactory property inspection. These contingencies protect both parties if certain conditions are not met.

In Greece, it's mandatory for a property purchase agreement to be authenticated by a notary. The notary's role is to ensure that the agreement complies with all legal requirements and that all parties understand their obligations.

This notarization process is a legal requirement for the agreement to be valid.

The real estate agent, if involved, typically facilitates the negotiation and drafting of the property purchase agreement but does not have a direct legal implication in its validity. Their role is more about bringing the buyer and seller together and helping them agree on the terms of the sale.

However, it’s crucial for both buyer and seller to have their legal representatives review the agreement before signing to ensure that their rights are adequately protected and that the agreement complies with Greek law.

What's the signing process like?

In Greece, the signing process of a property purchase agreement is a structured and formal procedure, governed by specific legal norms to ensure the legitimacy and enforceability of the transaction.

Both the buyer and the seller are required to sign the property purchase agreement. This agreement is bilateral, meaning it involves and is binding on both parties.

Either party, the buyer or the seller, can be multiple people, such as in cases where a property is jointly owned or being purchased by more than one individual.

For the signing, each party must provide certain documents and information.

The seller needs to present proof of ownership, such as title deeds, and ensure that there are no outstanding liens or encumbrances on the property.

The buyer, on the other hand, should be ready to provide personal identification documents and, if applicable, proof of funds or mortgage approval.

The signing process typically follows these steps:

Step Description


Before the actual signing, both parties usually agree on the terms of the sale, often facilitated by a real estate agent.

Legal Review

It's advisable for both parties to have their lawyers review the agreement to ensure that it meets all legal requirements and adequately protects their interests.


The signing of the agreement must be done in the presence of a notary in Greece. The notary verifies the identities of the parties, ensures the legality of the document, and oversees the signing process.

Regarding the location for signing, traditionally, both parties need to be physically present at the notary's office.

However, recent advancements and legal adaptations may allow for remote signings in some cases, where parties can grant power of attorney to a representative or use digital platforms authorized by Greek law.

There's no fixed deadline for signing the agreement, but once the terms are agreed upon, it's generally done promptly to ensure the transaction's momentum.

The duration for which the contract is valid is typically stipulated within the contract itself, often tied to the completion of certain conditions like securing financing or passing inspections.

After signing, the contract must be registered with the local land registry or cadastral office in Greece. This registration is crucial as it serves as public notice of the change in property ownership and is necessary for the legal transfer of the property.

Amendments to the contract after signing are not typical and can be challenging. Both parties would need to agree to any changes, and such amendments would usually require another round of notarization and possibly re-registration.

The timeframe for completing all necessary paperwork and approvals after signing can vary. It largely depends on the complexity of the transaction, the efficiency of the local authorities, and whether there are any issues with the property that need to be resolved.

A general estimate would be a few weeks to a couple of months, but it's wise to allow for flexibility in this process.

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How is the payment handled when signing a property purchase contract in Greece?

In Greece, understanding the financial aspects of a property purchase agreement is crucial to navigate the real estate transaction process effectively.

When signing the sales agreement, you are typically required to pay a down payment.

The standard down payment for a property sale in Greece is usually around 10% of the purchase price, but this can vary based on the agreement between the buyer and the seller. It's a commitment showing the buyer's intent to purchase and secures the property off the market.

There are upfront fees or costs associated with signing the sales agreement. These can include notary fees, legal fees, and possibly real estate agent fees if one is involved in the transaction. It's important to budget for these additional costs when planning your property purchase.

The down payment is usually made to an escrow account, not directly to the seller. This ensures that the funds are securely held until the transaction is completed. The payment is typically due at the time of signing the agreement.

However, the exact timing can be negotiated and specified in the agreement.

In terms of taxes, there are property transfer taxes associated with purchasing property in Greece. These taxes are based on the property's value and must be paid by the buyer. The exact percentage can vary, so it's important to clarify this with your legal advisor.

You can negotiate the down payment amount with the seller, although there's a standard practice in the market. Flexibility in the down payment can be a point of negotiation depending on the seller's circumstances and the property's demand.

If the sale falls through, the down payment's fate depends on the terms of the contract. Typically, if the sale falls through due to a breach by the seller, the down payment is refundable to the buyer.

However, if the buyer fails to uphold their end of the agreement, such as not securing financing, the down payment may be forfeited.

Regarding the source of the down payment, it is generally expected to come from your personal funds.

However, using a mortgage loan for the down payment is possible if your lender agrees to this arrangement and it complies with the terms of your mortgage.

An attorney or real estate agent's role in handling the payment process is to ensure that all financial transactions comply with the legal requirements and the agreement terms. They can also provide valuable advice on the implications of various payment options.

When making the down payment, you can and should request a receipt or confirmation of payment. This serves as a record of the transaction and is important for your financial records.

For tax implications, both the seller and the buyer have responsibilities.

The seller may need to pay capital gains tax if applicable, while the buyer is responsible for the property transfer tax. The exact implications depend on the property's value, the seller's circumstances, and the specifics of the transaction.

What are the potentials risks and pitfalls?

You might be interested in reading our article about the common risks and pitfalls surrounding a property transaction in Greece.

In Greece, the property purchase agreement is a binding contract, and withdrawing from it carries significant implications for both the buyer and the seller.

Here is the withdrawal from the agreement:

- A buyer can withdraw if they encounter specific issues, like the inability to secure financing, provided this contingency is included in the agreement. The conditions under which a buyer can withdraw should be clearly outlined in the contract.

- For the seller, withdrawing is more challenging once they have entered into the agreement, especially if they don't have a legally valid reason. The consequences for unjustified withdrawal by the seller can be more severe.

- In Greece, there typically isn't a cooling-off period in real estate transactions. This means that once the property purchase agreement is signed, it is considered binding, and backing out can have serious legal and financial consequences.

If either party fails to fulfill their obligations, the penalties depend on the contract's terms.

For instance, if the buyer fails to complete the purchase, they may lose their down payment. If the seller fails to provide a property free of legal encumbrances, they might be required to refund the buyer and possibly pay additional damages.

Usually, the down payment and other financial transactions are handled through an escrow account. If a party withdraws from the contract without a justified reason, the fate of this money depends on the agreement's terms.

The process in Greece differs from other countries in several ways. For example, in some countries, there are mandatory cooling-off periods, and the legal system may offer more flexibility for financing contingencies.

The process of dispute resolution and contract enforcement might also differ.

Potential risks include legal issues with the property's title, disputes over property boundaries, or hidden defects in the property. Buyers should be particularly wary of any encumbrances on the property and ensure a thorough due diligence process.

Disputes are generally first attempted to be resolved through negotiation or mediation. If these fail, legal action might be necessary.

Legal disputes in real estate can be complex and time-consuming, so it's advised to avoid them through careful planning and professional advice.

If defects or issues with the property are discovered after signing, the buyer might have legal recourse, especially if these defects were not disclosed or were misrepresented.

However, this depends on the specifics of the agreement and Greek property law.

This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered financial advice. Readers are advised to consult with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions. We do not assume any liability for actions taken based on the information provided.