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Foreign Purchase of Property in Turkey

Foreign Purchase of Real Estate in Turkey

 

Please note. New laws were enacted on the 7th January 2006, with the main difference being a limit ( 25,000m²) on the amount of land a foreign person or company can purchase. 

 

This occurrence has lifted the 'hold' placed on foreign purchase of property in Turkey.  For more information, please see our news page and updated Laws.

 

Who can purchase Real Estate in Turkey?

 

Where can I Buy Real Estate in Turkey?

 

Process of Purchase

            Simple Version

            Detailed Version

 

Fees and Taxes for property in Turkey

 

Important Information when Buying Real Estate in Turkey

(Or what to do and what NOT to do!)

 

 

SATILIK – FOR SALE

 

The Turkish Government has opened its doors to welcome foreign investment, including the purchase of property.  The process is fairly straightforward, and is outlined below.  It is always wise, however, to employ a lawyer and the services of a qualified interpreter.

 

Who can Purchase Real Estate in Turkey?

 

Any person who is a citizen of a country that has reciprocal property rights with Turkey.  These countries are:

Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Cape-Verde,  Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cote D'Ivoire, Croatia, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Guinea, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary,  Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, South Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein,  Lithuania,  Luxembourg,  Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mozambique, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria,  Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Senegal, Singapore, Somalia, South African Republic, Sri Lanka, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, The Republic Of Dominica, Turkish Republic Of Northern Cyprus, United States Of America, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yugoslavia(Serbia-Montenegro).

 

Citizens of the following countries need to gain permission from the Ministry Of Interior And Ministry Of Foreign Affairs:

 

Djibouti, Lebanon, Pakistan, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago.

Countries which have reciprocity with Turkey in terms of only building acquisition:

Azerbaijan, Belarus, Chad, China, Egypt, Georgia, Iran (with the conditions of five- year residence and permission of relevant Ministries), Jordan, Kazakhstan,  Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldavia, Morocco, Namibia, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan.

Where can I Buy in Turkey?

 

Non-Turkish Nationals as listed above (the secondary listed nationals having been granted permission) may buy Real Estate in Turkey, providing it conforms to the following criteria:

  • The purchase is situated within the municipal limits of a local Minister.  This includes cities, towns, villages, or what is classified as a tourist area (Land Register Law 4916 Section 19 Chapter 35).  Please note, if the property is away from a Designated Tourist Area, permission must be granted from the Local Minister,
  • is outside Military Zones (Military Forbidden-Zone-Law Nr. 2565 and the Security-Zone-Law Private),
  • is not of historical importance,
  • is no larger than 30 hectares in land area (if it is larger, you will need to gain special permission from the Turkish Parliament).
  •  

All of these should be checked prior to purchase, usually through a lawyer.  For more details please see Process of Purchase below.

 

 

Process of Purchaseing Property in Turkey.

 

Please note.  Any identification or documentation in any language other that Turkish that you are required to present to any official must be translated by an official Translator, and that translation signed by a Notary Public.  Both of these services are available in almost every town. The originals may be required to be sighted as well.  It is also highly recommended to have every contract checked by a lawyer.

 

Simple Version

 

  1. Once you have found a property in Turkey, you need to sign an Agreement of Sale and give a deposit, usually 10 %, and apply to the Lands Registry Office.  You also need to get a Turkish Tax File Number.
  2. The second step is to ensure that you have the right to purchase the property, and that the seller has the right to sell it.  This involves checking the Tapu (Title Deed), and checking with the Turkish Military that the property is not in a Military Zone.
  3. Once all permissions have been obtained, you pay the final settlement and will be required to come to Turkey to settle and have the property transferred into your name at the Land Registry Office.  (If you have signed a Power of Attorney with the Emlak [Real Estate Agent], they will do this for you – you will not have to present).
  4. You must register the fact that you have bought the property with the Local Minister’s office within 30 days of purchase. 

 

Enjoy your Property!!!

 

 

 

Detailed Version

 

  1. Once you have found a propertyin Turkey, you need to sign an Agreement of Sale with the Estate Agency or owner, and pay a deposit (usually 10%), which means the property cannot be sold to anyone else.  You will need a photocopy of your passport, four passport photos, personal details and give your mother and father’s names.  These are for the application to the Land Registry Office for the sale/purchase of property, which takes 3 or 4 weeks.

You should apply for a Turkish Tax File Number (Vergi Numarasi) from the Tax Office (Vergi Dairesi), and open a Turkish Bank Account now.  Both are very simple processes requiring your ID and residential address. 

The Tax File Number allows you to register for electricity, water and telephone, and most Turkish Bank accounts allow you to set up internet banking to pay your bills.  (It is also good to have a small amount kept in a Turkish account, as it can greatly reduce fees incurred by accessing your usual account in your home country).

The second step is to ensure that that the seller has the right to sell the property you have the right to purchase it.  The following information must be obtained:         

 

    1. A copy of the current Tapu (Title Deed).  This can be obtained by going to the Land Registry Office (Tapu Ve Kadastro Genel Mudurlugu) in the area in which the property is located.  You will need to have either the land registry number (‘parsel number’) as shown on the current Tapu or the full and correct address.  Often the Emlak will already have this.

 

    1. Documentation from the Army in that area stating that the real estate is not situated in a Turkish Military Zone.  The person you need to contact is the Garnizon Komutanligi – Commander for Military Zoning. You will need to take a 1/25 map of the area with you for their appraisal, showing the location of the property or land.  Again, the Emlak can do this for you.

 

Some Military bases require that the property be at least 400 meters from the fence line, and others require that the property should be at least 5 to 10 km away.  Military Zones can extend 1 nautical mile out to sea.  Properties must also be at least 25 km away from any airport (Military or otherwise).

 

It is in your best interest to sight the Tapu first, as it may already be noted on the Tapu if the real estate is in a Military Zone, and if this is the case, you will not be able to get permission.   This process may take up to 3 months, and if it is required that a representative from the Army go in person to view the site, a fee may be charged.  Often the Emlak will already have this, or will do this for you.

 

A copy of the Tapu will help you (or your lawyer) ensure that the seller has the right to sell the property and that the property is under no debt, (if it is under debt, it can be arranged to have that debt paid off in the purchase process).

 

As stated, these searches and checks can take up to 3 months, but at the end, you will be sure that you have legal entitlement to own the property.

 

For more detailed information on these permissions, and a list of things to check for, please see our Important Information section below.

 

  1. Once all permissions have been established (your right to buy, their right to sell and Military Zoning permission), you will be required to come to Turkey to settle and have the property transferred into your name.  (The exception is if you have signed a Power of Attorney (see below, Important Information), and then the authorized party shall attend the Land registry Office in your place).

 

This process involves the buyer, the seller, and a sworn translator going to a Notary Public to sign papers saying that the property has been sold, and that the monies have changed hands. This paper is then taken to the Lands Registry Office to sign the official Governmental documentation. 

 

The Purchase Tax needs to be paid at this stage, which is 3% of the sale price (1.5% from the buyer, 1.5% from the seller), and also earthquake insurance, which is between 50 and 100 YTL.

 

The property will then be signed into your name in the Land Registry, and you will be issued with a Tapu (Title Deed, Click to view translated Tapu). This process takes up to two hours.

 

Please note – the purchase price specified in the sales contract may not be the same one that is entered in the Land Registry and Tapu.  This is a common practice for the purpose of saving on the taxation.  This process is known as the ‘Value Mirror’, which is the minimum price which can be entered onto the Tapu.

 

However, it is good to note that:

 

  • the price on the Tapu may be used for insurance purposes (potentially undervaluing your property),
  • the price on the Tapu may be used as documentation for taxation purposes (if you sell the property within 4 years of purchase and wish to take the proceeds out of Turkey, you may end up paying considerable income tax),
  • If you under-declare the price, it may be seen by the government as ‘tax –evasion, in which case you may be fined,
  • If you are cheated by someone in the deal, your legal rights to claim will be based on the stated Tapu price,
  • or in the very rare situation that the Government re-claims property, the price they compensate would be based on the Tapu price. 

 

If you want the actual sale price entered on the Tapu, it is your right to do so.

 

  1. You must register the fact that you have bought the property with the Local Minister’s office within 30 days of purchase. 

 

Enjoy your new property!

 

 

Fees and Taxes

 

·         Purchase tax – 3% of price as recorded on Tapu (not necessarily agreed sale price).  This should be paid as 1.5% by the Seller and 1.5% from the Buyer.

 

·         Administration charges at the Land Registry Office, about YTL 50.

 

·         Earthquake Insurance – 60 to 100 YTL, required by law, charges differ depending on property price and location.

 

·         Garbage Tax – varies according to location, usually around 30 YTL, to be paid quarterly.

 

·         Property Tax (Rates) – varies according to area, usually between 0.1% and 0.3% of property value on Tapu, to be paid yearly.

 

·         Sworn Translator (Interpreter) – Approx 150 YTL.

 

·         Notary Public Fees – as arise (between 20 and 100 YTL per visit)

 

·         Water connection fee – Approx 110 YTL (new homes only).

 

·         Electricity connection fee – Approx 150 YTL (new homes only).

 

·         Telephone connection fee – Approx 30 YTL.

 

·         If the property is part of a complex, you will need to pay yearly fees as required.

 

 

Important Information - What to do, what NOT to do!.

 

Below are recommendations that should be followed to ensure piece of mind, and to help the process of purchasing property in Turkey go as smoothly as possible.  Evbazar.com has tried to be thorough in its information and cover all points where potential problems may arise, but as with any major purchase, it is up to the individual/s to ensure that they are well aware of all areas pertaining to the transaction, and to obtain their own legal advice.

 

Please note that most sales go through without a hitch, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

 

 

·         When buying a property in Turkey, it is important to keep a record of the amount of money bought into the country for that purpose.  If you are paying in Yeni (new) Turkish Lira, keep a copy of the exchange.  If you are paying in foreign currency, ensure that it is noted at the Title Deed office at the time of signing the Tapu.  This is so that if you sell the property within 4 years of purchase, you may take the money out of the country without being charged extra tax.

 

 

·         All steps in the process of purchase must be followed to the letter, or the sale may not go through.

 

·         An Agreement of Sale contract is not legally compulsory, but it is in your best interests.  This contract should be translated into your language as well as Turkish and both copies should be signed before a Notary Public (Noter), and then stamped by him/her.  In the case that a price is noted on this contract, a 0.75% Stamp Tax needs to be paid by both you and the seller.  If there is no price, then just the Notary Public fees will be charged.  Check that the contract covers all areas of concern to you and, as with all important legal documents, it is best to have it checked by your lawyer.

 

·         Many Real Estate Agents who market themselves toward Foreigners offer taking a Power of Attorney and going through all the legal procedures on the buyer’s behalf.  This may mean paying a little more for the service, but may prove worthwhile in terms of saving time and hassle. Again, it is recommended to consult a lawyer.

 

·         It is a good idea to have any legal documents and Tapu information translated into your own language, rather than just sign any document in blind faith.  Many Real-Estate Agents will offer their own translators, or if you prefer a totally impartial person, please see our Trades and Services directory.

 

·         When at the Notary Public (see Tips for Buying in Turkey), you will be stating that monies have been exchanged, and you will need to go through this process whether this has already actually occurred or it will be done after going to the Land Registry Office. To ensure all parties are protected during the exchange of monies, it is highly recommended to use the services of an Escrow Agency.  (See our Escrow Services page)

 

·         It is recommended to carry out a thorough investigation before any money changes hands.  Things such as the Turkish Zoning Scheme, the certified ownership of the seller, along with your candidature for ownership of property in Turkey should be researched, as well as the usual check for monies owed on a property and whether the property has any standing rental or lease contract.  While Real-Estates may be able to give you some information, it is always recommended to consult a lawyer in the course of these investigations.

 

 

Some points to check before purchasing are as follows:

 

a.       That the current Tapu is in the vendor’s name.  If there are also other names on the Tapu, check if the vendor has their permission to sell. (Legally, this needs to be a letter signed by a Notary and those giving permission).

 

b.       That the Tapu states that ‘Permission to build’ has been granted. If buying a newly finished building, ask to see the Insaat Ruhsati (document verifying that the building is complete to the specifications of the permission to build).

 

c.       That the Tapu states that ‘Permission to live (in)’ has been granted. (The Iskan Ruhsati is the document verifying that the building has been given permission to be lived in).

 

d.       That the property address matches the Tapu address exactly. It may take a visit to the property to verify this.

 

e.       If the Tapu states that the property is in a Military Zone. (It will say if it has ever been checked, eg if it has ever been owned by a foreigner).

 

f.         Does the Tapu state that the property is under any debt (eg Mortgage), and if so, arrange for this debt to be paid upon exchange of monies. 

 

g.       Does the property have any overdue Property Tax?  Legally, this would carry over to the new owner.  It is advisable to write a clause into your Agreement of Sale contract stating that the seller takes responsibility for any debts accrued prior to the date of sale, and also ask the seller to provide you with copies of the tax receipts pertaining to this.

 

h.       That the garbage taxes are up to date.  Owners should keep the receipts and be able to provide copies.  (Legally you are not liable for unpaid taxes [except property tax, see point g] accrued prior to purchase of the property, but the legal process for sorting it out can be time-consuming).

 

i.         The property has no current or ongoing rental agreements in place. If there are, you will need to check the tenant’s lease agreement, see if the tenant has given notice to vacate, and if so, do the dates correspond to your sale. It should also be noted in the Agreement of Sale document that the seller will vacate the property.

 

j.         If buying a Villa, check if there is permission for ‘combined road use’.  This is where a road or driveway goes past or through other properties and permission is registered at the local Ministry Office.

 

k.       That the land isn’t scheduled for public works, such as power-plants or highways.  This information can be obtained from the Local Minister’s Office.

 

l.         That the land is not of historical value.  This mainly applies to land or buildings adjoining the Bosporus, and in Istanbul.

 

m.     That the property is not still under co-operative control.  (In Turkey there is something called a Co-operative, which is where a group of people get together to build an apartment complex, or the like.  It is illegal for a foreigner to be part of a co-operative, and it is illegal to sell an unfinished part [flat, apartment, or house] of the co-operative building to a foreigner.  Once the project is complete, it is possible for a foreigner to buy a property from the individual co-operative member/owner, but it is recommended to seek legal advice before purchase.  In this case, you may also need to pay co-operative fees as required). 

 

n.       What the arrangements for billing of water and electricity are – are they privately metered?

 

o.       It is recommended to carry out a technical check of the property, and its legal papers, including council approval for the structure. 

 

In Turkey there are qualified valuers, known as ‘Ekspertiz’ (Expertise) or ‘Ekspertiz Companies’.  For around YTL2500, they will provide a 10 to 20 page report.  (To see a translated copy, click here Expertise Report.)  These reports are a full structural analysis of the property covering everything from building materials used, to foundation, to wiring and water pipes, along with legal zoning and all building permissions being verified.  They are not mandatory, but highly recommended.  (To find an Expertise Company in your area, please see our Trades and Services directory).

 

If a bank is involved in your side of the sale, they may require an Expertize Report.

 

·         You don’t need to have a residency visa to buy a property in Turkey.  You will require a residency visa if you wish to remain in Turkey for more than 3 consecutive months, obtain a phone (cellular or land-line) or buy a car.

 

·         It is the new owner’s responsibility to contact the Local Minister’s Office to register ownership for property tax.  This must be done within 30 days of purchase.

 

·         If this is your second property in Turkey, you must declare it, again with the Local Minister.

 

·         The usual commission charged by a Real Estate Agent is 3%.  It is your right to question the commission if it is over this rate.

 

·         When you own a property you have the right to rent it out.

 

·         If you re-sell the property, you have the legal right to take the proceeds out of the country (unlike some other countries eg. Spain or the Canary Islands).  If the property is owned by a company, Capital Gains Tax is payable upon sale of a property.  If the property is owned by an individual for more than one year, no Capital Gains Tax is payable.

 

·         You have the legal right to make a Turkish Will and leave your property to a beneficiary of choice.  If no will is provided, the property would go to your next of kin.

 

 

Finally, speak to someone in the know!  Talk to people who have already bought a villa in Bodrum or an apartment in Kusadasi.  See our Local Knowlege sections to find online forums (message boards) to speak to others about their experiences of buying property in Turkey.

 

Local Knowledge- property in Kusadasi

Local Knowledge- property in Marmaris

Local Knowledge- property in Bodrum

 

 

 

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