Ask a lawyer: Buying a house or real estate in Turkey
BY ASENE ASANOVA
ISTANBUL LIFE AUG 03, 2021 11:41 AM GMT+3Exterior view of houses in Alanya, Turkey. (Shutterstock Photo)
How do you go about buying a house in Turkey? Here’s everything you need to know
With its varied climate, beautiful nature and rich history, Turkey is a popular destination for foreigners looking to purchase a home outside of their home country.
According to official numbers from the second half of 2020, housing sales to foreigners increased by 4% compared to the same period of 2019. During the pandemic, Turkey’s house sales fell slightly; however, the latest figures show that activity in the real estate sector has gradually lifted.
In June 2021, sales to foreign buyers marked the best January-June period ever, topping the 20,000 threshold for the first time. Sales in the period saw a nearly 44% year-on-year increase.
Turkey could be one of the best countries to buy a house. However, there are some details that you need to consider to make sure you do everything right.
Istanbul-based lawyer Elvan Kakıcı Şimşek explained that foreigners who want to buy real estate in Turkey should pay attention to their legal rights to avoid becoming victims.
“There are some issues that foreigners who want to acquire real estate should pay attention to in order to prevent problems that may arise because foreigners are not familiar with the legislation and practices in Turkey,” she said.
What you should know
- In Turkey, real estate purchases and sales transactions are made at the Land Registry Office, called the “Tapu Dairesi” in Turkish. Purchase and sale transactions not made at the Land Registry Office are legally invalid.
“We recommend that foreigners who will buy real estate pay the sales price at the Land Registry Office while signing the ‘tapu,’ which is a title deed. If they are going to have these transactions done by a representative, not in person, it would be appropriate to have them done it through a lawyer,” Şimşek said.
To purchase real estate, a fee of 4% will be paid in total, 2% for the buyer and 2% for the seller. These rates are calculated over the sale price of the real estate.
- If the title deed of the property to be purchased cannot be obtained immediately or if the property in question is still in construction, Şimşek recommends signing a promise to enter into a purchase and sale agreement and to have it notarized with a notary public.
The real estate sales promise contract notarized at the notary will give the buyer the right to apply to the court and transfer the property to his name if the real estate title is not provided in the future. After the real estate sales promise contract is signed by the notary public, it should be taken to the Land Registry Office and annotated on the title deed. The real estate promise contract has to be drawn up at the notary public, and in this case, a fee of 0.54% is charged by the notary public over the sale price.
- If the title deed of the real estate to be purchased cannot be obtained immediately or if a real estate sales promise agreement cannot be signed at the notary public, a written contract must be made between the buyer and the seller, Şimşek added.
However, with this contract, you only have the right to request a refund of the money you have paid, she noted.
- Make sure you do your research before making any decision.
“Before making any payment, we recommend that you examine the title deed of the real estate to be purchased and find out if there are any liens, mortgages or limited real rights on it. Apart from this, we recommend that you research the current zoning status of the real estate, whether it is in military or security zones,” Şimşek said.
In order to prevent problems that may arise due to foreigners being unfamiliar with Turkish legislation and practice, Şimşek strongly recommends that foreigners use real estate lawyers to do their transactions.
“You shouldn’t work with people and companies that are not known to be reliable. In case of any dispute between the parties regarding the immovable act, the situation should be brought to the judicial authorities, and a lawsuit should be filed in the Turkish courts,” she said.
Can you get citizenship after buying a house?
Well, yes, but there are some conditions.
According to Turkey’s immigration program, you can obtain citizenship by purchasing a property worth at least $250,000 (TL 2.08 million). You are permitted to sell the property after three years, and this will not affect your citizenship.