June 16, 2020 How to buy a property in a foreign country? The people selling the property – agents, developers, and the solicitors they recommend- will usually assure you there will be ‘no problem’. Should you believe them? They make it seem so simple. Just like home.
There will be similarities between your home country and a foreign country like Turkey when it comes to buying. The general principles are the same. And that’s were it ends. The details are different, and that’s where the danger lies.
The risks are associated with a different language, culture, legal system, and of course, property system, known as a cadastral system. It may be that in your home country many of these risks have been removed because the various aspects have been regulated, and standardised. The property system in Turkey is moving in that direction, too, but is not there yet. And for that reason the risks remain.
Consider that the legal system in Turkey is much more limited when it comes to consumer protection laws that will guard buyer’s interests. And much more limited when it comes to certain laws related to fraud. So a foreign buyer should beware the risks and take the necessary measures for protection. ‘Buyer beware’ applies as a good rule to follow.
The protection to follow at the very first stage, before negotiating any aspects of purchase terms, price, etc, is called Preliminary Due diligence, and is followed by the full due Diligence. Being diligent about all details is the care that is due to your capital for protection.
Due Diligence covers many aspects of the property, including checks on title, cadastral mapping, ownership, representation, permits, structural build quality, etc, and more. But due diligence also extend beyond checks simply on the property itself. Yes, if the permits re not right, it can take many months and several thousand Euro in penalty charges and fees to make the property legal. There is no way around that now, as the tax man in Turkey will tell you.
Due diligence extends also to the transaction. That means checks on the procedures; because these govern the way you commit your capital. And checks on the counter-parties, because these are the people that are representing themselves as having the ownership and /or authority to sell the property – do they? And due diligence also extend to the payments, because this is where your capital is at risk, and where your losses begin. For example, a little due diligence on the payment procedures related to reservation deposits reveals that simply making a payment as a reservation deposit will legally achieve nothing of what you might have been led to believe, because such a payment will not prevent the seller from selling to another party. There are additional liens that are required, to do that, and even so, nothing legally can compel a property owner to sell to a buyer.
With recent regulation foreign buyers are required to be provided with an eksper appraisal report before purchasing. This provides some relief, because the sale of property to foreigners in Turkey is un-regulated. To address the growing dis-satisfaction and complaints from ripped off foreign buyers; the government introduced this new measure. It is good, but it does not address all the risks. And more to the point, the eksper appraisal report only provides information, it does not tell whether that information is sufficient to satisfy various legal, insurance or financing requirements, and it s not a ‘seal of approval’ confirming the property is safe to buy. In addition, the report still needs to be translated into English, and then interpreted to understand whether the information provided is satisfactory for legal, insurance, a and financing purposes. The experts at mytapu provide this service, and others, related to eksper appraisal reports...
So yes there are plenty of risks that require investigation, and good stewardship to mitigate. The Transaction Managers at mytapu.com have been managing Due Diligence on residential and commercial property in Turkey for more than 20 years, and their experience, cadastral and legal knowledge, is the essential shield that protects a buyers capital, and peace of mind, to avoid the sleepless nights of nightmares so many foreign buyers in Turkey have experienced, after a purchase, relying on the assurances of the sellers, agents, lawyers etc.
The best part about Due Diligence is that the fees charged by professionals can usually be recouped 2x or 3x in the amount saved on transaction expenses. Those are significant savings, on a purchase of Eur 50,000 of about EUR 3-7,000, and on a citizenship purchase of $250,000 can amount to $15 – 40,000. These savings achieved by good due diligence can cover the cost of furnishings, and contribute to ensuring the re-sale value of the property is not less than what was paid, as has been the case of more than 90% of foreign buyers in Turkey that purchased without good due diligence.
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