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Understand the title deed when buying a property in Greece

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Looking into property investment in Greece is intriguing. The market has options such as Greek island villas, historic homes, and city apartments for potential investors to explore.

However, for international buyers, navigating the complexities of the Greek real estate market can be quite challenging, especially when it comes to verifying the authenticity and legality of the Τίτλος Ιδιοκτησίας, which is the official title deed in Greece.

We have actually covered this specific document (among others, like the sales contract) in our property pack for Greece.

In this article, we will give some insight to ensure a smooth and legally compliant property transaction in Greece.

However, please do not forget that this blog post is for informational purposes only and that we are not legal experts. It's always advisable to consult with one. They can indeed thoroughly examine your specific situation and provide you with the most appropriate and tailored advice.

What is the Τίτλος Ιδιοκτησίας in Greece?

The Τίτλος Ιδιοκτησίας, or Title of Ownership, in Greece is a crucial document in real estate transactions. It's essentially a legal certificate that proves ownership of a property.

Unlike other property documents, such as contracts or planning permissions, the Title of Ownership is the definitive record of who owns the property. It's the key document you'll need when buying, selling, or inheriting property in Greece.

What makes the Title of Ownership so important is its legal weight. It confers the right to use, enjoy, and dispose of a property. This means as the owner, you can live in it, rent it out, sell it, or pass it on to heirs. It's a reliable document, as it's officially recorded in the Greek Land Registry, known as the 'Ktimatologio'.

This registry provides a comprehensive record of all real estate transactions and ownerships in Greece, ensuring the accuracy and validity of the Title of Ownership.

However, there are rights that the Title of Ownership does not confer. For instance, it doesn't automatically grant you the right to make any modifications to the property. For that, you'd need relevant planning permissions.

Also, it doesn't exempt you from property taxes and other legal obligations related to property ownership in Greece.

When it comes to resale and inheritance, the Title of Ownership plays a central role. For resale, it ensures a smoother transaction process, as it provides clear proof of ownership. This is particularly important for foreign investors who may not be familiar with the Greek legal system.

When inheriting property, the Title of Ownership helps in the legal transfer of the property to the heirs, making the process more straightforward.

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How to verify a title deed in Greece?

The process

Verifying the authenticity of a Τίτλος Ιδιοκτησίας, or Title of Ownership, in Greece is a critical step in any real estate transaction.

To ensure the title deed you're dealing with is genuine and valid, there are specific steps and entities involved.

Firstly, the primary source for verification is the Greek Land Registry, known as the 'Ktimatologio'. This government body maintains detailed records of all registered properties in Greece.

To check the authenticity of a title deed, you or your representative need to visit the local Ktimatologio office where the property is located. They can provide an official extract of the registry, showing the history and current status of the property's ownership.

Notaries in Greece also play a significant role. They have direct access to the Ktimatologio and are responsible for ensuring the legality of property transactions.

When dealing with a property purchase, a notary will usually verify the authenticity of the title deed as part of the transaction process. It's advisable to engage a notary early in the process to conduct these checks.

Lawyers specializing in real estate can also assist in verifying title deeds. They can perform due diligence, cross-check information with the Ktimatologio, and provide legal advice on the property transaction. Their expertise is especially valuable in identifying any legal issues or discrepancies with the property.

Real estate agents, while helpful in finding and negotiating property deals, may not have the same level of access or legal authority to verify title deeds. It's better to rely on notaries and lawyers for verification purposes.

As for identifying red flags and avoiding scams, be wary of title deeds that are not registered with the Ktimatologio.

Always insist on seeing the original document, not just copies. Be cautious if the seller is hesitant to provide access to the title deed or to facilitate its verification through a notary or lawyer.

Additionally, be alert to discrepancies in property details between the title deed and other documents or physical inspection.

What to check

Understanding the property title deed, or 'Τίτλος Ιδιοκτησίας' in Greece, is crucial in real estate transactions.

This document is the key to accessing, tracing, and interpreting the property's history. Let's break down the steps and the importance of each.

First, accessing and interpreting the property's history is vital. In Greece, this information can be obtained from the local land registry or cadastral office where the property is located. The title deed contains details about past ownerships, transactions, and any changes made to the property.

Understanding this history is important because it reveals the property's legal standing, ensuring that there are no disputes or unclear succession rights which could affect your ownership in the future.

Checking for outstanding debts or liens against the property is another critical step. Outstanding debts or liens, like mortgages or unpaid taxes, can be transferred to the new owner.

To check for these, you should request a certificate from the land registry, which will list any encumbrances on the property. If such encumbrances exist, they can affect your rights as the new owner and can even lead to financial liabilities.

The accuracy of the property's measurements and boundaries as stated in the title deed is also essential. Discrepancies in these details can lead to disputes with neighbors or legal challenges.

To verify this information, you may need to hire a surveyor to conduct a physical measurement of the property. If discrepancies are found, resolving them might involve legal processes, negotiations with neighbors, or even corrections at the land registry.

Finally, understanding zoning laws and land use restrictions is crucial. These laws determine how you can use the property and what structures can be built on it.

To find out about these restrictions, you should consult the local municipal office or planning department.

They can provide information on zoning regulations, building codes, and any other restrictions that apply to the property.

After our research and the feedback collected from our local real estate partners, we have written an article about the risks and pitfalls when buying a property in Greece, you might want to check it out.

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How to update the title deed after the property transaction in Greece?

After purchasing a property in Greece, updating the title deed, known as 'Τίτλος Ιδιοκτησίας', is a critical step in finalizing your ownership. The process involves several specific steps.

Once the purchase is complete, the notary who conducted the transaction prepares a transfer contract. This contract is then submitted to the local land registry or cadastral office where the property is located.

The submission of this contract is essential for the official change of ownership to be recorded in the public records. The new owner, or you in this case, should ensure that all details in the contract, such as your name, the property description, and the transaction date, are accurate.

The next step involves paying the transfer tax, which is required for the registration of the new title. The amount of this tax varies and is based on the property's value.

After paying the tax, you will receive a tax certificate, which you must then submit to the land registry along with the transfer contract.

Once these documents are submitted, the land registry updates the title deed to reflect your ownership. This process can take some time, so it's important to follow up and ensure that the update has been completed. After the update, you should request a copy of the updated title deed for your records.

Regarding insurance and additional protections, once the title deed is verified and the property is purchased, it's advisable to consider several types of insurance. Property insurance is the most common, protecting against risks like fire, theft, and natural disasters.

Liability insurance is also worth considering, as it covers any legal liabilities to third parties for injuries or damages occurring on your property.

For foreign owners, understanding the implications of the title deed in the context of inheritance laws is crucial. Greek inheritance laws apply to properties located in Greece, regardless of the owner's nationality.

This means that upon the owner's death, the property will be distributed according to Greek law, which typically favors the closest relatives.

It's advisable for foreign owners to consult a legal expert in Greek property law to understand how these rules apply to their specific situation and possibly draft a will that respects these laws while outlining their preferences.

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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.