Thinking of buying a property in Turkey? Then you need to read the buyer guide produced by Turkey Homes. This informative, free guide will give you the low down on what you need to do before, during and after the sale has been completed. As well as detailed information about the actual buying process, there is advice on every aspect of living and working in Turkey.
Can I buy in Turkey?
Recent changes in rules governing property ownership now means most foreign buyers can own property in Turkey. The 'reciprocity principle' means foreigners can purchase freehold land and property in their own names in Turkey providing that Turkish citizens are allowed to buy freehold land and property in the purchaser's country of origin or residence. This includes most of Europe and the Middle East.
Is property in Turkey a good investment?
One of the friendliest and most beautiful places on earth, Turkey is loved for its stunning coastlines, glorious weather and affordable property prices. Turkey boasts a strong economy and a young, cosmopolitan population leading to growing demand by foreign buyers, especially those from the Middle East. Expanding infrastructure and innovative projects have led to widespread media interest with highly regarded architects and designers choosing Turkey to showcase their work.
Costs to buy a property
Turkey is a vast country with a huge choice of property available. Prices are still very favorable when compared with other popular tourist destinations and although they are rising, it is still possible to get a beautiful two-bedroom apartment with sea views for less than £100,000. At the other end of the scale, there are many homes on the market built by world-famous designers and architects located in luxurious surroundings. Whatever your budget, there are always costs to buying property. These include: stamp duty, 4.4% of the assessed value of the property, legal fees of around £1,000, agency fees of 3% and miscellaneous paperwork costs of around €500. The ongoing costs of property ownership in Turkey are low, especially when compared with Spain or France.
To buy property in Turkey you will need your passport and a local tax number, which is also needed to open a bank account in Turkey. You will also need a couple of sets of passport photos for identity.
Do I need a lawyer?
Although it is not a legal requirement, Turkey Homes advises all of our clients to use a lawyer to buy a property in Turkey. We have many trusted connections with experienced solicitors who we can refer you to and you can find highly qualified Turkish solicitors on the British Consulate website. A lawyer’s fee will be in the region of £1,000 but it could well be the best money you’ve ever spent.
The buying process
After you’ve found your dream property, Turkey Homes advises that you appoint a lawyer who can go through all the relevant legal paperwork, the TAPU (title deeds) and Iskan (habitation license). Usually a holding deposit will be required, which varies according to the area and the seller, but is typically £1,000 to £2,000. You will need to pay a full 10 to 30 per cent deposit at a set date and for this you will need to get a tax number and open a bank account.
Once the deeds including Iskan are ready for issue, sellers accept the balance of the asking payment. Taxes will also be payable at the deed issue time. The lawyer will then draw up a contract to complete the transaction. Once all the paperwork is signed and the deposit received, your application papers will be sent for military clearance, before the deeds can then be issued into the buyer’s name. There is no need to stay in Turkey to sign for your deeds; you can get a UK-based notary to appoint the lawyer to sign on your behalf.
How long does the buying process take?
The buying process usually takes up to eight to 12 weeks, however since legal changes introduced in 2013, this period can be dramatically reduced. Once the deeds including Iskan are ready for issue, sellers accept the balance of the asking payment. Taxes will also be payable at the deed issue time. The lawyer will then draw up a contract to complete the transaction. Recent changes in rules governing property ownership now means foreign buyers can get the title deeds, known as TAPU, faster.
How can I finance my property?
The simplest way if you need a mortgage to buy your Turkish property is to raise the money against your own home. Mortgages in Turkey are now available to all EU residents but are still at an early stage of development. We can offer you financial advice but it is important to remember that you need your finances in place before you make an offer on a Turkish property.
How to pay bills
The most common way to pay household bills in Turkey is by standing order. With the cost of living much lower than most European countries, about a quarter of the UK, the lifestyle is significantly more appealing. Like most countries, it is advisable to insure your Turkish property through one of the large European insurers.
Should I make a will in Turkey?
Your UK will is legal in Turkey so once you have completed on your Turkish property, you should update your own will if you are a UK national. However, some people also decide to make a will in Turkey for added peace of mind, which your lawyer can help you with.
Can I rent out my Turkish home?
There is a good selection of high street and web based letting agencies available. Rental yields are good in Turkey and as a holiday destination, it is high profile so rather than pay for an expensive letting agency, it is worth promoting the property yourself first to family and friends. The rental income will depend on many different factors such as location, if it is close to the beach with a seaside view, the size of the property, the standard of accommodation and if you are prepared to rent the property out during peak season. However, taking these facts into account, many people achieve between a 6% to 10% rental yields per annum.
Capital gains tax
If you keep your Turkish home for five years or more, it will be capital gains free. If you decide to sell within the first five years, there is a 15% sliding scale property capital gains tax due on any property. To clarify exactly when you bought the property, you should check the date on the title deed (TAPU). The amount you will need to pay will be calculated by subtracting the original purchase value of the property from the sales value of the home. The capital gains tax is the amount of profit made from the sale.
The standard of private healthcare, which is often cheaper than much of Europe, is very high in Turkey at both hospitals and dentists. For emergencies, Turkey’s public ambulance service can be reached by calling 112 and some hospitals in the major cities offer private ambulance services. Most European health insurances are accepted in Turkey and there are several new purpose built hospitals with the country leading the way in cosmetic surgery, dentistry and fertility treatments.
Residence and work permits
Holidaymakers can stay for a maximum of three months in Turkey with a 90 day multi entry tourist visa. As of 2013, property buyers were granted with year-long residency permits. If you want this resident visa, you will need to apply for it within one month of first entrance. There are many companies around that for a small fee, will guide you through applying for a visa. Alternatively, you can simply leave the country for 24 hours and then return on another standard three-month visa. Many people choose to do this and take a trip to Northern Cyprus which is only a three-hour ferry ride from Alanya. To apply for a residency visa you will need six passport size photos, two copies of your TAPU or rental agreement, two copies of your passport plus the original, your Turkish tax number, your residency book (if re-applying), a bank statement and go to a stationers and ask for an official plastic residency folder.
Before you work in Turkey, you must apply for a work permit from either inside or outside the country. You can only apply after you have been granted your residency permit. The documents you will need to accompany your application are your passport, four passport-sized photos, photocopies of the pages in your passport that show your photo, expiration date and the last stamped entry of your passport. If you are looking for work in Turkey, you will also need an application from the Ministry for Labor and Social Security. If you are approved for a work permit, your passport will be stamped with your new work visa.
Can I bring my pets with me?
Foreigners can bring one pet cat, dog or bird to Turkey with them providing all the necessary paperwork has been completed and the animal has had all required vaccinations including a rabies vaccination with a certificate and an International Health Certificate issued no longer than 15 days prior to flying. You will also need to acquire an Identification Car or Pet Passport and a written statement from an approved and accredited vet that it is more than three-month old. Providing all this is in order, your pet should not have to undergo a quarantine period on entry to Turkey.
With a huge choice of budget airlines available, Turkey has never been more accessible. Even Turks, who traditionally travel by road, are now taking more internal flights. The major carrier is Turkish Airlines, flying within Turkey and internationally. For short-haul routes within Turkey, Pegasus Airlines and Atlas Jet are popular. Flying out of London gives you a choice of numerous budget airlines offering direct flights to Turkey. The most popular flights from the UK include: British Airways, EasyJet, Jet2, Thomson and Thomas Cook. Again for our clients travelling from GCC countries Istanbul Ataturk International and it’s domestic connections to Bodrum, Fethiye and Antalya available at almost every hour. Then again with the new Istanbul Third Airport with massive 150,000 million passenger a year capacity also to be recognized as the world’s largest airport with 6 runways will pave the way for all travels to Turkey.
Turkey is a large country and therefore has variable weather conditions. For a hot, dry summer and mild winters, visit the coastal area bordering the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas. The coastal area bordering the Black Sea has a warm but wetter summer and the areas bordering the Sea of Marmara, which includes Istanbul, has a hot and sunny summer and although temperatures in the winter can get cold, it rarely reaches freezing. Much harsher weather conditions occur in Anatolia where there is a long hard winter. But in the most popular tourist areas, expect beautiful hot sunny summers and mild autumn and spring months.
The do’s and don’ts of buying in Turkey
Make sure you have researched the company you are dealing with. Can they give you customer testimonials, are they an established company with an excellent track record and can they show you a copy of the title deeds to make sure the person who is selling has actually got their name on the deeds. A frequent saying when dealing with overseas buyers is don’t leave your common sense on the plane. Don’t part with your money if you happen to meet someone who says a friend is selling their home – you would never do that in your own country so the same rules must apply in Turkey.