Is it Safe to Buy Property in Turkey?
Many people ask us if it is safe to buy property in Turkey, and the answer is yes if you do things the proper way. In years gone by, when Turkey first opened its housing market to foreign nationalities, there were many horror stories of people losing their life savings because the system didn't protect the buyer. However, the Turkish government changed the buying process for foreigners and now it is a super-tight way to protect your investment if you follow the recommended guidelines. So, what are they?
How to Buy Property Safely in Turkey
1: Use a Reputable Estate Agent
In years gone by, anybody could be a waiter by night and estate agent by day. These days, as rules have tightened up, stories like that rarely happen, but still, ensure your estate agent is reputable. Look at their record of accomplishment. Do they have an already existing stream of clients who have received the deeds and moved into their home? Look at their online presence. Any dedicated agent will have a professional website, a Facebook business page and other social media profiles where potential and existing clients interact. Sites like Trust Pilot and Google Reviews invite people to leave reviews about companies they have interacted with, so check those as well.
2: Use A Lawyer in Turkey
The Turkish law doesn't require buyers or sellers to use a lawyer, but we strongly recommend you do. Whenever we take on a new property, we do our due diligence, but the lawyer will carry out official checks to ensure your investment is guarded on paper because things can change from day today. For example, did you know that if a home does not have an Iskan (Habitation certificate), its value can drop by as much as $40,000? The lawyer also checks there are no debts against the property, draws up contracts and arranges for them to be notarized. This is important because if the seller backs out, courts only accept notarised documents. Our responsibilities alongside walking you through the buying process is to help with other aspects like tax numbers, opening bank accounts, and getting utilities changed over or connected.
3: Only Send Money Online
Paying cash for extra purchasing costs is fine. This could be translators' fees, or utility registration etc. However, when it comes to handing over money for the actual property itself, make sure there is a paper trail. Because most sales have a set payment plan of a deposit, the final balance and maybe staged payment in between, it might be easier to give cash, but sending online to a registered bank account is the legal way to do it.
4: Off-plan, Resale and New Build Property
The above guidelines apply to no matter what type of property you buy, and on some occasions, off-plan properties in Istanbul offer a six month to 5-year interest-free payment plan. One notable aspect of Turkey's current housing market is that most buyers choose new build or resale properties built after 2002. The reason is that building regulations changed then, making houses and apartment residences more resilient in the case of an earthquake. Properties older than that also often incur pricy redecoration and décor design
5: Buy Earthquake Insurance
So, how are your bricks and mortar safe if a major earthquake does occur? Well, as mentioned, building regulations are now the best in the world. The government regularly consults with architects and seismologists, to keep these regulations up to date with the latest developments in construction. The government operates a system known as DASK. All properties owners are required by law to buy yearly DASK insurance, and this money is then pooled, so in the event of an earthquake, your investment is safe. Read about the earthquake building code in Turkey.
6: Inheritance Laws and Wills
Many people buy a property intending to hand it down to future generations. Turkey has its own set of inheritance laws. For example, if the father dies, the children will receive a percentage of the property alongside his widow. However, buyers override these laws by taking out a private will. We recommend you do this in Turkey, not in a foreign country, because Turkish courts favour their processes, making transferring ownership easier.
7: For More Advice on Safe Purchasing
To start your property search now, see our portfolio of apartments and villas for sale in here. Each listing contains everything to know, including price, location, why it stands out and contact details to find out more or arrange a viewing. You might also be interested to learn about the buying process of a home in Turkey. This article gives a brief outline, but as your estate agent, we walk you through every step, until you sign for your deeds, put your key in the door, and settle in.
We hoped we have answered your questions on whether it is safe to buy property in Turkey, but if you do have any more, call or email us today, and one of our local agents will be happy to chat with you. Our combined team has more than 20 years' experience in the housing market as a proven real estate agent. With offices all over Turkey, including Istanbul, Bodrum, Fethiye and Antalya, we also stay up to date with local developments and news.