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Buying Property in Turkey

A usefull article sent by a British Lady who purchased a property in Calis

Have you ever thought of buying property abroad? Does the idea of your own place in the sun appeal to you, maybe your own private pool, beautiful views, the beach nearby? Maybe you just want an investment for the future.We felt the same.

We were keen to invest into property as a retirement plan so combining it with a place in the sun seemed a great option. Initially we were undecided where to buy. We looked at property in the UK, USA, Spain and Cyprus.

We employed the help and services of an independent international estate agent (from Coldwell Banker, Century 21 also provide a similar service). His help and advice was invaluable. This was a big decision for us. We are not rich; we have 3 children to look after and a mortgage so it needed a great deal of thought and future planning. We were using the equity from our UK property to invest into our holiday home.

For each country we looked at there were various reasons we chose not to buy there. Property price, distance from the UK, didn’t like the area or country. Our estate agent suggested that we have a look at property in Turkey. The prices were cheap but the market was growing so it would be a good investment. There was a good range of good standard properties (and poor) and the exchange rate was good. We had never been to Turkey so decided to go over and have a look. Our estate came with us. He had researched some registered estate agents to show us around and was there to give us advice and moral support.

Our estate agent had recommended a particular area in Turkey. Calis, an up and coming resort, reasonably close to the airport, with its own long shingle beach, promenade, shops and restaurants. There are also livelier resorts within a half hour drive. We decided to go for a week just to see what we thought. It was October so the main summer season had finished.

We arrived late at night and were surprised at how warm it was. On arrival to the hotel the welcome that we received and the friendliness of the staff was overwhelming. When we awoke in the morning and went out onto the balcony of the hotel the views were absolutely breathtaking, in one direction was blue seas and in the other beautiful mountains. I was already hooked!

We spent our first morning exploring the resort and was very pleasantly surprised, not only by the place itself but the people were also in a league of their own. Their friendliness, helpfulness and willingness to please was like no other country we had been before. It was infectious and we could not help but feel that we had been made part of their community already.

Our first day of property hunting was spent with a non registered estate agent. The reason we did this was that our estate agent wanted to show us the difference between a qualified, registered estate agent and a non qualified agent. In Turkey the law is that anybody can sell property. They can also advertise any property, so these may be obtained from websites or other estate agents books. However you only pay your fees to the agent that sells you the property.

It was quite an eye opener as we were shown around various properties in numerous areas. The different estate agents that took us out were not all able to speak English which made it difficult to ask questions regarding the properties shown. However those that we were able to ask about, the agent was still not always able to help as they did not seem to know much about the property they were showing us. My husband is in the building trade so we had many questions regarding the construction of the property. Many of these remained unanswered. We didn’t really see anything we liked so retired to our hotel but still full of enthusiasm for starting again the following day.

We spent a very pleasant evening in Calis getting to know the locals, meeting ex pats and trying out the Turkish food. We had a ot of helpful advice on areas and things to look out for from both Turkish people and the many Brits that live there.

The following day we were taken to meet a registered estate agent in Fethiye. We were greeted by the Turkish owner of the building company who spoke perfect English and a Scottish lady that was the estate agent. We spent the first hour in their office drinking Cay ( a great Turkish tradition) whilst explaining to these people the sort of property we were interested in, the areas and our budget. They drew up a plan of places they wanted to take us and then we set off. We saw some fabulous places, and with each and everyone came a full explanation of facilities and amenities.

It helps to have an idea of the sort of property you would like, i.e. apartment, villa, with pool, without pool, however keep an open mind. You also need to have a budget before you start, it wastes your time and the estate agents looking at property you know you cannot afford. If you have your heart set on a particular area again I would say keep an open mind.

We had no particular area in mind but felt that a property near the resort or the sea would be ideal. We were taken out by several estate agents on our first day, to various properties in a few different resorts. The experience was both interesting and a bit of an eye opener. Each of the estate agents was unfamiliar with the properties they were showing us so either could not answer our questions or quite blatantly made it up. My husband works in the building trade so had a lot of questions relating to the construction of these properties. Some of these questions remained unanswered. Many of these properties were also of poor quality. A couple of the agents could not speak English and as most Turkish people in the resorts areas speak very good English we found this quite difficult as we had many things we wanted to ask.

On our second day of exploring properties we were taken to a registered estate agent in Fethiye where our agent had arranged to meet the staff there and had given them an overview of the sort of property we were interested in. The day had been very well planned with property viewings in 3 main areas. Each property was of a much better standard that the day before, the estate agent was extremely knowledgeable; the building manager also came out with us. The estate agent was British and the manager spoke perfect English so all our questions were answered. They were also able to advise us on the law of buying in Turkey, all the procedures involved. Part of the service they provide is also to provide a solicitor (which you should always use when buying property, home or abroad), a translation service at the notary and bank, and would escort us to purchase furniture. None of this had been offered by the previous day’s agents. We really could see a big difference between using a registered estate agent and just one of the high street ‘shops’ so I would definitely recommend a reputable estate agent.

Once we had chosen our property (which was not near the sea or in a resort but in a beautiful mountain village!) the process moved very quickly. We met with our solicitor who drafted up the contracts in both English and Turkish. We were taken to open up a Turkish bank account in nearby Fethiye which is essential if buying a property. You will need this so you are able to transfer money to Turkey to enable you to pay your bills, set up direct debits as necessary and generally have some cash available for unexpected expenses. We contacted our bank at home to arrange the financing and finally signed the contracts before going home.

Once we returned home our first job was to finalise the finance so we could transfer the money over to the estate agent. This seemed a very straightforward procedure which we did using a Swift transfer at the cost of £20. (This charge may vary according to bank and increasing bank charges) There are other ways of transferring the money as well, check with your own bank the most suitable way to do it (and the cheapest). There was not much else for us to do at that point then until we were able to return to Turkey which we did the following April.

Our next step was to return as soon as we could once the Tapu (property deeds) was available to collect. This involved more visits to the solicitor, more paperwork and collection of our title deeds and keys. We were then able to arrange for the electric and water to be transferred into our name. You will need to get any current metre readings before you do this so you can be sure your first bill does not incorporate any use of facilities by the builders that you then end up paying for. Once you have transferred the metres into your name you can set up direct debits with the bank if you wish to pay the bills. We only did this for the electric as we are able to pay our water and property tax bills in the council offices in the village. It’s very easy to do and convenient.

We now needed furniture for our new home. Our estate agent took us out to buy furniture. We could choose from going to lots of different specialised shops or just one, cheap and cheerful, does it all shop. We chose the latter. Our aim was to rent the villa out for holidays so we did not want extravagant furnishings, and we would only be using it for holidays ourselves. We were able to buy everything we needed for about £500-600. Everything was delivered to the villa the next day free of charge. We then arranged to have some curtains made which was quite expensive but definitely worth it. Again the shop was recommended by the estate agent and the owners were extremely helpful. They came out to the villa to measure up and advise us the best ones to have and the best way to fit them. It took a few days for them to be made and about a day and a half to be fitted.

Our next step was to get the swimming pool sorted. We needed somebody to fill it, maintain it, empty it and clean it at the end of the season. This has been the hardest thing for us each year as it is an annual chore. We have tried various companies and no matter whether they are cheap or expensive the service seems to be the same. All I can say is if you do find a good pool man, keep him!

We also needed a cleaner for our guests. This was a job we wanted to give to somebody local and we were very lucky to be recommended a lady from the village. There are a lot of companies which offer this service but the costs are high, however the cleaner herself does not get the amount you pay. Our cleaner is cheaper but the money is at least all hers.

Also beware that some companies charge quite a lot for a laundry service which seems pointless if you have your own washing machine which the cleaner can use. Once you home is furnished, your amenities are connected and all services needed are in place you home is ready to enjoy. There are of course ongoing maintenance and upkeep as with any home but you will learn what works best for you as time goes by. The friends you make, the neighbours and locals will all help and advise as they have all been through similar experiences.

We love our villa, if we could we would live there permanently. I hope you enjoy your experience too.

Above Article has been sent by Marina from UK who owns a Villa in Calis

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