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Real Estate in Cyprus – What You Need To Know

For the property investor looking for a wonderful holiday home, Cyprus offers first-rate locations with lovely properties, including villas, apartments, and off-plan properties with attractive payment plans.

Cyprus is the third largest island in the Med (after Corsica and Sicily) and, with a history going back 8000 years, has a rich cultural heritage. It also has spectacular beaches and mountain peaks, vineyards studded with olive trees (a sort of one-stop-shop for aperitifs), and around 300 days of sunshine each year. That’s just about double the amount of sunshine anywhere in Britain gets, even in a good year: or about 10 times as much in a normal one.

Think of Cyprus and you think of sunshine, sea, swimming, scuba diving, skiing, and golf.

Buy Cyprus Real Estate
Buy Cyprus Real Estate

Did we say ‘skiing’? It might not be the first thing you think of, but Cyprus does indeed offer skiing in the Troodos Mountains between January and March. So you can go to the beach in the morning, and ski in the afternoon. Not too many places you can do that, it must be said.

Cypriot hospitality is a real treat, though it can take a bit of getting used to for those of us unaccustomed to strangers smiling at us. If you don’t speak Greek, don’t worry; just practice your pleases and thank yous (parakalo and efcharisto) and grin as you say hello (yassou)- the fact that you’re even trying will be greeted with pleasure, and you’ll do just fine. Of course, if you don’t want to sit in the sun, drinking coffee at a pavement café while chatting with the locals – well, best not try Cyprus, then.

Cyprus is a great place to have a holiday home, with its sunshine, beautiful beaches and stunning mountains, and property at very affordable prices (especially if you come to us, obviously).

Buy property in Cyprus – the legal procedure

The process of buying property in Cyprus is much the same as in the UK. Once you find a property in Cyprus, you make an offer on it. You then sign a contract, pay for it, and then sign a Deed of Ownership.

Selecting a Lawyer

You’ll definitely need a lawyer to handle the buying process for you. – we can put you in touch with lawyers who are qualified in Cypriot law, if you haven’t got one already.

Doesn’t matter if you’re buying land, off-plan property or a resale property in Cyprus – the same legal procedure applies.

  • Once an agreement is reached between the seller and the buyer, a Sale Agreement is drawn up.
  • 4 copies of the Sale Agreement are made, and all four copies are presented to the District Land Registry Office. One of these copies is stamped with the word ‘Original’ and will be kept by the buyer’s lawyer on the buyer’s behalf. The remaining 3 copies are stamped with a currency stamp and certified as true copies of the original.
  • The stamp duty is paid by the buyer or their Power Of Attorney, and one of the copies of the Sale Agreement is registered with the District Land Registry Office for reasons of ‘Specific Performance’ (explained in the next section.)
  • One of the copies of the Sale Agreement is given to the mortgage provider if applicable. The final copy of the Sale Agreement is given to the seller.
  • The conditions of the agreement are then met and the buyer becomes the owner of the property.
  • Once the Title Deeds have been drawn up, all parties, or their lawyers, meet up at the District Land Registry Office to pay the land registration transfer fees, payable by the buyer. This transfers the property from the vendor to the buyer.

Specific Performance

The ‘Law of Specific Performance’ stipulates that once the Sale Agreement is deposited with the District Land Registry Office, and providing that both sides are in a position to effect the transfer, then within 6 months of notification by the buyer to the seller, the seller must effect transfer.

There are two aspects of Specific Performance, both designed to protect the buyer:

  • Once the certified true copy of the Sale Agreement is deposited with the District Land Registry, the seller cannot renege on the agreement, or sell it to someone else. This provides protection for the buyer and prevents gazumping.
  • Once the Sale Agreement has been registered with the District Land Registry Office, the transfer fees are calculated on the property value on the date that the Sale Agreement was signed.

Buying Off-plan Property in Cyprus: Sale Agreement

The terms and conditions that must be met by the developer will be set out in the Sale Agreement, along with the timing and amount of the various payments which the buyer will need to make. Once the Sale Agreement has been signed by the buyer, it becomes legally binding; there is no cooling off period.

Buying Off-plan Property in Cyprus: Stage of payments

The deposit is normally payable on signing the Sale Agreement, and developers will usually seek 20%-30% of the sale price for the initial payment.

Once you’ve paid the deposit, a series of payments will be made depending on the development stage. The Sale Agreement will state that the developer must inform you or your lawyer that a particular stage is complete, and that payment for the next stage is due. This would be in the form of a ‘Notice of Completion’ which will be signed either by the architect or site engineer. After service of the notice, you are obliged to pay.

Buying Off-plan Property in Cyprus: Title Deeds

The Title Deeds for off-plan developments can take some time – 3 to 5 years. This is because the legal procedure to split the land from the apartments can only commence once they’ve all been completed.

Buying an existing property is a simple process.

Your lawyer will first check that the Title Deed is correct in its description of the property.

Your lawyer will then receive a draft Sale Agreement from the seller’s lawyer. You can normally expect to pay approximately 10% of the purchase price for the deposit and 90% of the balance when the Title Deeds are transferred.

Did you know…

  • Mt Olympus (no, not that one, the other one) is the highest peak in the Troodos mountains
  • Mufflon sheep are found only in Cyprus, Sicily and Corsica and are an endangered species
  • George Michael’s mum and dad are Greek Cypriots
  • Cypriots drive on the left hand side of the road (so anyone from the UK will feel right at home)

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