Buying Property North Cyprus

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Interested in buying a property in North Cyprus ? Some people will tell you that now is the time to buy !
Speak to any Estate Agent in North Cyprus and they will tell you that at the moment, there is a property building boom underway. This can be seen in the built-up areas in Girne/Kyrenia, especially around the Bellapais traffic lights where there are currently, at least ten large apartment blocks being constructed. These are very large, impressive buildings with many apartments between them and an array of shops beneath each block.
These construction projects are not just the standard type, grey concrete structures that you would expect to see. The Architects responsible for the design have really gone to town and come up with interesting designs that aesthetically, are very pleasing to the eye.
North Cyprus Purchase Contract
Are you thinking about buying Residential Property in North Cyprus ?
A fact of life - North Cyprus property values have stabilised recently meaning that at the moment, there are some real property bargains to be had !
Are you thinking about buying a property on Aphrodite's Island of Love & Beauty and enjoying the 300 days (annually) of Cyprus sunshine ? Well, if you are currently weighing up the pros and cons of buying a property in North Cyprus, this article may just contain the information that you need to make an informed decision.
There is so much to see and do in this sunny Levantine idyll in the Eastern Aegean Sea, but for the purposes of this article, we will stick to the ins and outs of the property buying process.
First of all, potential buyers beware - this is not Britain ! North Cyprus is not even a full member of the EU. True, the judicial process is based on the British model, a legacy from colonial times ended in 1960, but this does not mean that you will be afforded the same legal protection as you would if you were buying a property in the UK.
A Guide for Overseas Buyers (British Expatriates and Foreigners)
Important points for you to consider before you become engaged in the North Cyprus property buying process
Using and Choosing an Advocate (Solicitor) and confirming what exactly, they will do for you
In North Cyprus, employing the services of an Solicitor to guide you through the property buying (or selling) process, is not (unbelievably for some) mandatory, but if you are seriously thinking about buying, or selling an immovable property in North Cyprus, we recommend that the first thing that you should do, is to find and appoint your own legal representative.
Having decided to appoint a Solicitor, make sure that you use an independent Solicitor. Quite unbelievably, it's common practice in North Cyprus for property buyers to be persuaded to choose a Solicitor that is recommended by the Estate Agent, Builder, or Property Developer. Don't do the unthinkable and use a Solicitor that is recommended by the 'other' party to the agreement. You need a Solicitor who will act in your own best interests.
How much does the Solicitor charge and what services are included in the price that you pay to them ? An obvious question, but many property buyers don't ask their Solicitor this question.
So, if it is not mandatory to appoint an advocate, what is the alternative ? Well, once you have settled on an arrangement with the property seller, you can both agree to have all the documents examined & signed off by a Notar and witnesses. This will legalise and protect the deal; it will also significantly reduce your legal (overall) costs of buying, or selling your North Cyprus property. This topic is outside the scope of this article, but is covered in another article on our web site.
Should you wish to secure the services of an advocate, it is important to fix the fee structure prior to any action being taken on your behalf. Agree the amount of money that is to be paid and at what stage of the proceedings.
Property Deeds / Kocan
Unlike most European Countries, property deeds are not always available when the purchase is completed and remember, without the deeds (or Kocan in North Cyprus), made out with your name on it, exchanged for the agreed price, you theoretically do not own the property. It remains the property of the original owner until the Land Registry (TAPU) issues a Kocan in your name.
You should also ensure that the Kocan includes the land on which the property stands, with accurate dimensions. Engage the services of a land surveyor to confirm the accuracy of the dimensions.
Property Encumbrances
When purchasing a property, you would expect an advocate (or solicitor) to carry out a 'search' on the property. This is to ensure that the property is free of encumbrances. In some cases, these may have been ignored by the previous owner, or your current builder ! These could be :-
• Permissions to purchase e.g. should military installations be nearby.
• Restrictions on out-houses, or shrubbery, roof height, water tanks etc.
• The local council (Belediyesi), or the Government may be planning road improvement schemes locally. This is prevalent now as the TRNC economy improves and the population increases. Make sure your new home in the sun will not be affected by traffic noise and fumes.
• Availability of utilities needs to be confirmed. As areas such as the Kyrenia & Iskele districts expand, the infrastructure does not always keep pace. Take a tour of the water, electricity & internet providers; demand assurance that your intended property will be provided with adequate services, from the day you move in. Have them sign a contract as such, they may not like it, they may have no provision for it but have -a- go! Under no circumstances accept an offer from any third party to provide you with electricity or water. There is a public telephone service in North Cyprus; it is a reliable service which facilitates worldwide connections. Most businesses have an 0392 number (prefixed by 0090 for incoming international calls), however, the majority of people use one of the two mobile telephone providers, both of which operate to international standards, under Government regulation.
Challenge your advocate to carry out these searches to your complete satisfaction; demand copies of all documents to confirm the work has been done & your potential purchase is 'safe'. You may care to obtain a second opinion.
Property Building Regulations and Restrictions
Overseas purchasers are permitted to purchase a completed property on a maximum of five donums of land. 1 Donum = 1000 square metres.
In common with many 'Western' countries there are rules in North Cyprus about what can be built & where ? Most countries include regulations concerning building design & the quality of build, materials specification etc. Building regulations are necessary to ensure that buildings are safe, are conducive with the surrounding environment & comply with previously submitted & approved architects & surveyors plans. Cyprus wide, new buildings are required to be earthquake proof. (The last major earthquake in Cyprus was in AD1222, however, there can be up a dozen small scale tremors each year, causing very little or no damage).
Of course you would expect that building regulations would be strictly enforced in North Cyprus. This is not always the case here now. Hence, it will be necessary for you, your advocate or an independent building industry specialist to check & ensure that the residence your are considering, a new construction or an established building is compliant with the regulations.
Other things to check
Neighbours ? Are they friendly, helpful, welcoming (offered a cuppa ?). Look out for noisy children, unexercised & unruly or caged pets. Chicken odours, 24 hour caged songbirds, overhanging or unwelcome trees dropping seasonal fruits on your land - beware vines & figs that attract fruit flies & vermin. Any stagnant water around ? This attracts mosquitoes. Abandoned & rusting old vehicles can spoil the view from your patio or rooftop terrace. Waste: Check that there are communal waste bins; that they used by your neighbours, rather than kept within a 'nose distance' of your bedroom window. You might decide to purchase your own bin-on-wheels & put it out for the Council Dustcart; in built-up areas you can expect a dust cart to empty your bin up to three times a week, very, very early in the morning.
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