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The Cyprus Property Market
There are few countries in the world more suited for work and play than the idyllic island of Cyprus. However, buying a property in a foreign country is a task fraught with many twists and turns in the form of unknown rules, regulations and practices which will pretty much be Greek to an outsider who doesn’t know the ropes. In order to combat this lack of knowledge, many people turn to local developers, contractors or agents for support and while this might sound like the sensible thing to do from the outset, the truth is that prospective investors should exercise caution when engaging with developers or real estate agents.. Despite the fact that everyone has heard the horror stories about withheld titles and misleading information, the reality is that it would be grossly unfair to throw everyone into the same sinking ship and in fact, if you use the following tips as the foundation on which to build your Cyprus property search, you need never have to worry about being a victim of what could end up as a costly scam.
Seek professional independent advice
It should go without saying, but we’re going to say it anyway: always make sure that the person you are doing business with has a stellar reputation. Like most property markets in the world, Cyprus had a long-lasting boom which reached its apex between 2007 and 2008. Of course, this brought with it a number of new developers and enthusiastic buyers who started to consider buying things which their own parents would have probably snubbed. Unfortunately, such a market can only lead to disappointment for the buyer because as we all know impressive marketing and honesty are no substitute for what you actually get at the end. Regrettably, it is hard enough to find impartial reports when you have actually lived in Cyprus your entire life, so can you imagine how it is for “outsiders”. If you form part of the latter, independent property service providers are the only way to avoid the hazardous pitfalls.
The truth is that while many buyers are well-advised to shop around and research the market themselves to help identify what they like, seeking professional independent advice is not something which one should underestimate. The truth is that many buyers can obviously tell if they like something, but most people are unable to see beyond just that. Independent advisors, such as a reputable law firms or chartered surveyors are there to give you the nitty gritty facts about specific properties and they are answerable only to you.
Independent consultants are able to look beyond the shiny surface of certain statements being made and identify those “red flags” which are not immediately apparent. In addition to this, they will also help you find out the following:
- If the property you are interested in is mortgage-free;
- If the title deeds tied to your property of choice have been issued;
- If the property of your choice has a final approval certificate;
- If the property you are interested in is free of any other impediments;
- If the seller has taken care of all his tax obligations;
- If the price being asked for the property of your choice is reflected in the property’s market value;
- If the plots next to your possible future home could be developed in the near future.
Moreover, should you decide to buy a home off-plan, independent consultants will be able to ensure that you know what to expect from the completed project whilst safeguarding your rights.
Special note for potential clients
Thanks to the 2013 citizenship-by-investment program for non-EU citizens launched by the Cyprus government, the need for Cyprus property has increased as one of the requirements for applicants is to invest in real estate of a set minimum value. Indeed, although many developers will offer to undertake and help with the application process for potential citizens, we do not advise that you just succumb to their charms and surrender your hard-earned money. Buyers who want to go about acquiring property to be eligible for citizenship-by-investment are strongly urged to seek advice from an independent citizenship-by-investment consultant for a very simple reason; although they are not bound to do so in each and every case, the Ministry of Finance may request an independent evaluation of your chosen property and see if it matches up to the asking price. If your property of choice is found to be overpriced, your citizenship application can actually be rejected.
Better safe than sorry!
It is without a shade of doubt that Cyprus is a desirable place to relocate as everything from its incomparable Mediterranean climate to the quality of life which can be enjoyed on it contribute to making it an ideal location. Whether you’re after a small studio or an exclusive villa, Cyprus truly has it all and all you, as a buyer, need to worry about is getting the right people on your side to help you buy a problem-free property. Indeed, if someone does experience shady behaviour on the part of the seller even after seeking aid from reliable, independent property service providers, buyers will still be able to turn to the Competition and Consumer Protection Service and can always have legal recourse, if necessary. At the end of the day, all that you as a consumer can do is minimise the risk of you having to seek help from the Cypriot courts, so why not try to avoid that risk altogether and ensure you have the right professional support from the get-go!