North Cyprus Property Buying Guide

Welcome to North Cyprus

North Cyprus offers all the benefits of a Mediterranean lifestyle in an unspoiled and uncrowded environment with a fraction of the costs of other more traditional destinations. Additionally, its laws and regulations for property transactions mean that foreigners can buy property in North Cyprus as safely and conveniently as in any other Mediterranean country.

You should follow the required steps and apply usual diligence for a trouble-free buying experience. We have provided this guide to explain how to go about buying properties and what to watch out for as you proceed. The key takeaway should be that buying property in North Cyprus can be a safe and rewarding experience as long as you follow the correct process. It all comes down to getting the best advice and support, something which DMG Property Group is expert at providing.

Properties in North Cyprus

While there are always plenty of horror stories about things going badly wrong after buying a property abroad, you can rest assured that if you follow the correct process and seek professional advice, property buying in North Cyprus is as safe as buying property in your home country.

Starting with a good estate agent will give you a significant advantage in your property search, allowing you access to their encyclopaedic knowledge of listed properties and new developments, including which developers have the best reputation for the type of property you seek.

The property purchase process in North Cyprus is probably similar but unlikely to be identical to the process you may be familiar with in your home country. We’ve provided a simplified breakdown of the process in this property buying guide to help you understand the basics. However, remember our crucial mantra, which is continually seeking professional advice. We make no apology for repeating this instruction.

The good news is that all the properties in North Cyprus are freehold, so once you buy a property, you have full ownership rights in perpetuity. You can either resell the property without restriction or pass it on to your inheritors as part of your estate as long as you comply with local laws.

So, let’s start by helping you understand how the property buying process works. Please note that the information we provide here is correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change. So, contact us right now to get the latest news and find out how we can help you find your dream property.

The Buying Process

Determine Your Budget

The first step in the buying process is to know your budget. Your buying budget is simply the money you have available as cash or loan, less the costs of purchasing the property. Don’t forget to allow for currency fluctuations during the buying timeline. Exchange rates can be affected by a wide range of unpredictable factors outside of your control. For example, global pandemics, political changes or conflicts around the world can have an effect even if they don’t directly affect your own country and North Cyprus.

If you intend to use a loan or mortgage to fund the property purchase using a financial services provider in your home country, then make sure they are willing to make an offer before getting too deep into the buying process. An alternative option is to apply for a loan or mortgage from a Cypriot bank which may be more convenient to arrange and manage. Cypriot banks will typically offer mortgages up to 75% of the purchase price of a property, subject to the valuation supporting this price.

If you are looking to purchase a newly developed property, then the developer may offer a long-term payment plan option over periods of up to ten years. This facility can provide a practical choice for financing your purchase, but don’t forget to get independent financial advice before entering into any agreement.

Create Your Wishlist

North Cyprus has a broad range of properties in many location types. Coastal or inland, lowland or mountainous, urban or rural, housing complex or isolated village? There are many options available. Start by deciding exactly what type of property you are after and what desirable local amenities. This wish list is critical in helping find the right property.

Choose an Estate Agent

The estate agent is a critical part of the buying process, not just finding your ideal property based on your wish list and budget but also guiding you through the process. Their local knowledge is essential and can help connect you with trusted service providers and tradespersons. This support can be invaluable when buying a property that requires renovation, extension or modernisation.

A good estate agent can advise on properties across the whole of North Cyprus rather than being limited to one or two regions. Make sure you choose an estate agent that covers all property types in all areas to make sure you don’t miss out on what could be your perfect property.

You will need to travel to North Cyprus to conduct viewings, so it’s essential to have a single point of contact who can coordinate viewings and help arrange a practical itinerary. You don’t want to spend the entire time driving from one end of the island to the other instead of having time to get a feel for locations and explore local amenities.

Selecting Suitable Properties

Your estate agent should be able to provide details for selecting suitable properties for you to peruse. From this list, you should be able to find a few properties that stand out as being potential for your ideal purchase. Liaise with the estate agent to book viewings over a period when you are available to fly over and start the property search in person.

Viewing Properties

Viewing properties abroad should be relatively stress-free, and your estate agent is on hand to help you achieve this. Don’t try and pack too many viewings in too short a period. Allow time to look around the local areas of each property and get a feel for them. Set time aside after the last viewing to go back and look again at your favourite properties if you want a second viewing. It’s far easier to double-check issues on the ground than try and do it from home because you had to fly back straight away.

If you are viewing an off-plan developed property, the seller will be the developer. They will provide all the information you need to assess if their property will be the right one for you. Your estate agent will act as your interface with the developer, smoothing the process and helping you make choices if you proceed down this route. As part of your property viewing, you should have access to building plots and samples to support your decision-making.

If you are viewing an established property where you’re buying off the current owner, you are responsible for surveying the property and uncovering any issues before making an offer. Properties are sold on an as-seen basis with no legal obligation for the seller to disclose problems. Make sure you have a good look at any property and get specialist advice if you find one that looks promising.

Legal Representation

If you are going to purchase a property, you will need a qualified and independent legal advisor who will manage the process in your absence. It would be best to have a legal advisor you can trust with your power of attorney to act in your best interests and communicate with you effectively when you are back home.

We always recommend you meet your chosen advisor face to face while viewing properties to help establish a good working relationship.

You should budget for the services of a legal representative to be around one to two thousand pounds.

Making an Offer

Once you have found the ideal property, the buying process starts in earnest. Due to the consistently high demand for properties in North Cyprus, there is typically little haggling. Instead, offering the asking price is the norm. You’ll need to consider this when looking for properties to view once you know your budget.

Offer Acceptance

If your offer on an established property is accepted, then your legal advisor will create a reservation contract between you and the seller. When both parties have signed the reservation contract, and you have paid a deposit, the seller takes the property off the market, and the due diligence process begins. The deposit will typically be between five and ten thousand pounds; you pay this to your legal representative. This money is held in a client account while the buying process proceeds.

If you are looking at a new development, the process is similar. The main difference is you pay the deposit to the developer to take the property off the market. The deposit is deducted from the agreed purchase price and will be the first of four or five staged payments you will make to the developer during the construction period.

Legal Due Diligence

Your legal representative will undertake a due diligence process following the laws of North Cyprus to ensure that everything is in order and there are no surprises.

If you are purchasing an established property from the current owner, your legal representative will help uncover any actual or potential issues as part of their checks. Their processes include checking for any injunctions or charges on the property or its land, that all building permits and controls are in place and valid, and that the seller has the legal authority to sell the property. They also ensure the property register is complete and correct, there are no outstanding loans or mortgages on the property, and there are no unpaid bills related to the property.

If you purchase a new off-plan property from a developer, your legal representative will draw up details, including construction details, building permits and completion dates. This written guarantee acts as the agreement between you and the developer, including penalties for issues such as late completion and cancellation options.

Property Valuation

If you are seeking a mortgage to purchase the property, then the lender will undertake a property valuation as part of the mortgage application process. Once completed, assuming there are no issues, the lender will provide details of the mortgage offer.

Permission to Purchase

Part of the purchase process for buying a property in North Cyprus is obtaining formal permission to purchase. This permission requires that the purchaser does not have a criminal record or other impediments to owning property. In addition, the rules allow foreigners only to hold one title deed each.

Your legal representative will require you to provide a criminal record check from your local police force. They will then make an application to the Council of Ministers with the details of the property purchase. The Council of Ministers then conducts background checks with relevant local authorities and against the land register. While in most cases, they grant permission, if you fail the checks and the Council of Ministers rejects your application, you can reapply using an alternative person and register the property in their name on your behalf.

Once the purchase is complete and you have your permission to purchase, then the property title deeds are transferred into the name of the person who successfully applied. If you are a first-time buyer in North Cyprus, once the transfer of the title deeds is complete, the title deed tax will become due. This tax is currently set at 6% of the purchase price, though if you are a first-time buyer in North Cyprus, this reduces to 3%.

Also, if buying a new development or the title deed is not in the owner’s name, value added tax will also be due. This tax is usually 19% of the purchase price but reduces to 5% when an individual purchases a home rather than a commercial property. However, the rules are complex, so always seek advice from a specialist financial adviser.

If the purchase completes before the permission to purchase is granted, you can still move into the property, resell it or rent it while you wait for the application to be approved. Typically, granting permission to purchase can take six months to complete.

Property Purchase

When buying an established property, the purchase follows the successful completion of the legal process. Once the due diligence process is complete with no issues found and any loan or mortgage is in place, the property purchase is complete. This process typically takes two weeks following the signing of the reservation contract.

Your legal advisor will create a purchase contract between you and the seller. You will then be required to transfer sufficient funds to your legal representative’s client account so that the total, including the initial deposit, equals 10% of the agreed purchase price.

This purchase contract must be registered with local authorities within twenty-one days of signing but requires you to pay the property registry stamp duty if you are a first-time buyer in North Cyprus. This stamp duty is currently 0.5% of the purchase price.

Purchase Completion

The final stage of the property purchase is the completion day. All parties meet at the offices of the legal representative for the transfer of funds covering the total purchase price to the seller. This transfer includes the funds held in your legal representative’s client account for an established property purchase. For buying a new development, this is the final staged payment.

In return, the seller hands over the keys to the property. Once all paperwork is tidied up and the Certificate of Final Completion is issued, you can head off to your new property and start the moving-in process, or maybe head off for a celebratory drink first.

Property Buying Golden Rules

Always start by talking to a professional estate agent. While online property search tools are now widespread, finding a property in any foreign country can be challenging. The estate agent can advise of any local issues or opportunities that a website alone cannot reveal.

Find a good independent legal advisor to act on your behalf. The advisor mustn’t work for you as the buyer as well as the seller or developer. Your estate agent should be able to provide suitable recommendations based on their experience.

Ensure you are fully aware of the rules for foreigners purchasing property in North Cyprus, including background checks and requirements for obtaining consent for the transfer of properties.

Seek expert financial advice to check your tax liabilities before committing to any purchase.

Never pay any fees or deposits upfront without having an agreed written sales contract. Oral agreements are difficult to enforce if something goes wrong, so always have a written contract in place using the services of your chosen legal advisor.

Ensure that the sales contract is complete and comprehensive. It must include all pertinent information so that there can be no misunderstanding or omissions should a dispute require legal resolution.

Always ensure the seller has the title deeds available before commencing the purchase process.

Be aware of the financial and legal implications of involvement in purchasing any property with disputed ownership.

While legally, the purchase contract takes precedence over any pre-existing mortgage, ensure your legal representative checks for mortgages placed on the land using a Land Search Certificate obtained from the Land Registry. Note that this check will require authorisation from the property owner.

If you are made aware of a mortgage before signing the purchase contract, then it is unlikely that the title deeds will transfer into your name until the mortgage is paid off.

Ensure your legal representative checks all building works have the correct planning permissions or building permits, including utilities such as water and electricity supplies.

If purchasing an off-plan new development, remember that you may need to pay for electricity and water connections which can be around one to two thousand pounds.

Don’t forget to ask your legal representative to draw up and register a will under the laws of North Cyprus to cover the property to prevent any possible inherence issues following the death of the title deed owner.

Always seek professional advice to ensure a trouble-free property buying experience.

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