For all the damage caused by the economic crisis, one benefit was the lower price of housing. With Greece now emerging from the crisis, property prices are slowly beginning to recover. That said, accommodation in Greece is generally affordable and will likely be a good long-term investment as prices continue to rise.
Whether considering a white-washed Santorini blockhouse with blue shutters that match the sky; an Italian-style townhouse in Corfu’s rolling, green hills; or a luxury villa in the northern suburbs of Athens, expats have plenty of choice when it comes to finding a new home in Greece.
Finding accommodation in Greece
In the search for accommodation in Greece, hiring a local real estate agent will likely be a good idea. Many Greek sellers target foreign buyers and a better deal can often be found with the help of someone who speaks the language. That said, many Greeks avoid agents because of their commission fees, which are often high.
Exploring the areas one is interested in is always a good idea. Expats should look out for “for sale” signs, and ask locals if they know of any properties available. Places available for rent may also have signage up on the property, which is often a white or yellow sticker with the word enoikiazetai (for rent) written in red.
Many people in Greece prefer posting their properties online and in local newspapers as opposed to estate agents. While most ads are in Greek, there are some in English. Generally speaking, English ads are aimed at foreigners and may have higher prices than one would find in Greek ads.
Factors to consider for house-hunting in Greece
While everybody’s real estate priorities are different, choosing a respectable area within one’s budget is a good start. Especially when buying, expats should consider the general condition and age of the property they are considering, particularly as this affects property tax.
Expats looking to stay in Greece for a short period might want to consider renting instead. On the other hand, expats who can afford to purchase property that is of a certain value may be attracted by the prospect of getting a resident’s permit in return.
Renting accommodation in Greece
For long-term rentals in Greece, expats should be prepared to pay a deposit of between two and three months’ rent. This should be returned when the lease has expired, as long as there is no damage to the property. As a result, doing an inventory of any damages upon arrival might save a tenant’s deposit.
According to law, residential lease agreements have to cover a minimum of three years, although a shorter period may be negotiated between the landlord and the tenant. Generally speaking the longer the lease, the lower the monthly cost.
It is important that expats fully understand their contracts and should hire someone to independently translate any agreements written in Greek before they sign.
For short-term rentals, utility accounts are most often billed to the landlord and are typically included in the rental cost. For long-term rentals, however, the tenant will likely be held accountable for their own utilities, which are an extra expense on top of rent.
Buying property in Greece
Greek law generally requires the purchaser of a property to hire a lawyer to oversee proceedings. Hiring a public notary is also compulsory and should therefore be included in any calculations when buying real estate.
Though not required, it is also a good idea to hire a real estate agent to smooth the process of purchasing the property and a civil engineer to check for structural integrity and zoning rulings
Most of the above services will each cost the equivalent of around one or two percent of the total purchasing price. In order to secure the purchase of a property, it is common practice to put down a deposit of about 10 percent of the property's value.
►To get an idea of how much property in Greece will set you back, see our Cost of Living in Greece page
Are you an expat living in Greece?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Greece. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
With 86 million customer relationships in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.