Turkey: Buying A House Or Property In Turkey

Last Updated: 17 December 2015
Article by Bicak Law Firm Esq

NEW LAW

In May 2012, Turkish Parliament passed a new law that enables foreigners to buy up to 300 acres of property which had previously been limited to 25 acres. Council of Ministers may also double the 300 acres limit depending on national interest. According to the new law, the total sales of the properties can not exceed 10 percent of the district where the sale takes place. Also the principle of reciprocity is lifted which will pave the way for Arab capital to buy properties in Turkish soil. The new law eases restrictions on foreigners purchasing real estate in Turkey.

FINDING A PROPERTY

It is not necessary to use an estate agent to find and buy a property in Turkey. However, many buyers choose to do, so estate agents cater to the specific needs of foreigners and are aware of all the legal requirements.

Before committing to buying a property, it is advisable to check whether there are any outstanding debts on the property. Once a sale is in progress, debt liability is shared by the seller and the buyer.

THE PURCHASE PROCESS

If you like a property and decide to purchase the property, a sales contract should be prepared. Sales contract includes the buyer, seller and property information as well as the agreed conditions.

Contracts can be drawn up with a notary or at the office of the local Land Registry. Turkish law dictates that they must be written in Turkish. They should include the following information:

  • Description of the property and its surface area (including land)
  • Full details of the seller and buyer
  • Purchase price - including a breakdown of fees and who is paying which fees
  • Purchasing schedule
  • Full details of the sales agent and lawyer, if used. Both should sign the contract
  • Information on any fittings and fixtures to be included in the sale
  • Details of any penalties should the sale not go through
  • The buyer needs their passport and two standard passport photographs so that the paperwork can be completed.

Please be sure that you purchase the property;

  • from the actual seller,
  • exact property which is shown to you,
  • without any debt
  • under the agreed conditions

PAYMENT

To get the buying process under way, a deposit is needed when the sales contract is signed. This ensures that the property is taken off the market during the process of the deeds being changed. The deposit can be paid in cash or with a credit card.

You might need to open a bank account in Turkey. Any person can open a bank account in Turkey. You only need a document showing your address, this can be a utility bill (electricity, water, internet, broadcasting bills, etc.) where your name and your house address is shown, which is obligatory for the process.

REGISTERING A PROPERTY

Registering a property takes several days to complete. It then takes between three and nine months for the Turkish government to process and release the title deeds for transfer. It is advisable to have a lawyer manage this stage to ensure everything is completed correctly. Once the new deeds (TAPU) have been received, the rest of the money owing on the sale is paid. It is advisable to check that all the details on a TAPU are correct before finalising the purchase.

You will need some documents to apply for a tapu in Turkey. You only need to bring your passport or valid ID card. These documents may be prepared within 2-3 hours time;

  • Passport translation at Notary Public,
  • Power of Attorney,
  • 2 photographs
  • Tax number registry
  • Tapu Signature and Happy End

After receiving these documents, the seller applies for the Tapu transfer on your name at the Tapu and the Land Registry Office. According to "Turkish Property Law", foreigners must get permission from the Military Headquarters, if the property is "not" close to the military zones.

A foreign buyer needs approval for a sale from the Turkish military authorities to ensure that it complies with the restrictions placed on foreign property purchases. This is done by sending a translation of the buyer's passport and the deeds of the property to be purchased to the local army headquarters. Approval usually takes between six to eight weeks.

When the permission comes, the seller and the buyers sign conveyance act at Tapu and Land Registry Office. The same day before the conveyance act assigned, all of the tapu taxes are paid. All payments of the property should be paid, just before signing takes place. According to property law, the seller has to declare "I have been paid in full".

CONVEYANCE

In contrast to most European countries, the entry in the property register in Turkey is not performed by a Public Notary but by an official of the Property Registry Department. It is a legal requirement for both sides (the seller and the buyer) to be present at the entry. It is possible to authorise an attorney at law by giving a Power of Attorney at Notary Public or Turkish Consulate. The delivery of the Title Deed of transfer does not require the intervention of a Notary Public in Turkey. After the entry and delivery the property register issues a proof of ownership, which is called the 'Tapu'.

THE TAPU

The Tapu is an official document stating ownership of property. It includes detailed information on the property and a photo of the owner. The buyer is not legally required to use a lawyer but is advised to do so to ensure that all the paperwork is done correctly. Both the buyer and the seller must attend the transfer of deeds. Turkish law stipulates that a government-authorised interpreter must notarise the sale of property to a foreigner. Once the contract has been signed in front of the appropriate officers, the buyer receives the certificate of ownership.

The owner's name, photograph and detailed information of the property appear on this document. This official document is supplied and an archive provided by the Tapu and Cadastro General Directorate. The Tapu conveyance is registered and archived by this directorate.

The Tapu has to be sealed with a stamp in the central part at the bottom of the document. In most cases a picture of the owner is suffixed and sealed to the top-right of the Tapu but it is not obligatory.

EXPENSES

Expenses of conveyance are as follows;

  • Giving Power of Attorney at Notary Public: Appr. 140 Euro
  • Conveyance tax: 3,3% of the property value stated in the Tapu Office. This is paid at one of the State Banks at the time of conveyance (the amount stated in the Tapu Office is lower than the real property value and approximately between 500-1.500 Euros).
  • Registration Fee at the Property Registry Department (The Tapu Office): Approx. 65 Euro.
  • Private Completion Report: Obtaining "Private Completion Report" (Ferdi Iskan). Starting from 350 Euros depending on the size and the location.
  • Lawyer Service Fee; If required, Lawyer/solicitor service fee is 1% of the purchase price of the property minimum amount of 1.200 Euro+ 18% VAT. Please ask for purchasing process details for your case and the legal entities.

Annuall expenses are as follows;

  • Property tax (Emlak Vergisi): 0.1% of the property value declared by the local municipality (to be paid before the end of May each year).
  • Earthquake Insurance: Varies between 85 Euros to 200 Euros (depends on m2).
  • Property Management
  • Some law firms in Turkey offer property management packages in those cases that require it.
  • Electricity
    • New connection of electricity meter: Approx. 100 Euro (once only)
    • Name transfer of an existing connection: Approx. 30 Euro (once only)
    • Energy cost per kwh: Approx. 0.10 Euro
  • Water
    • New connection of water meter: Approx. 60 Euro
    • Name transfer of an existing connection: Approx. 30 Euro
    • Water cost per m3: Approx. 0.75 Euro
  • Land Line Telephone
    • Telephone connection: Approx. 4 Euro
    • Cost per unit: Approx. 0.036 Euro
    • Monthly rental: Approx. 3.66 Euro
    • Unit period (province): 60 Seconds
    • P.S.: You can only get a land line telephone registered if you have residence permit in Turkey.

POWER OF ATTORNEY

It is recommended to give a power of attorney in order to facilitate the procedure; military checks, release of title deeds from the title deeds office and registration of the title deed at the notary office. The giving "Power of Attorney" process takes about two hours and needs to be witnessed at the notary office in Turkey or Turkish Consulate outside of Turkey.

Advantages of a Power of Attorney;

  • Avoids traveling several times to Turkey. On following the tapu process, you might need to follow up your paperwork.
  • In order to apply for Tapu or conveyancing, you need to know Turkish or you must need to have a sworn translator with you. A sworn translator fee is about 100 Euro per 2 hours work

"Power of Attorney" should be issued to the name of proffessional esolicitors. Give only needed powers. For example, when you purchase a property, give just "Buying Property" power. If needed give also "water and electricity connection" power. It is NOT advised to give General Power of Attorney. General one might contain debt accepting or selling your property. This can be used against you if in bad hands.

Giving a Power of Attorney means; "You may act on behalf of me for these powers". It will be your name and picture on the title deeds (the tapu).

There is a sworn translator at the Notary Public. This interprets that they have officially promised to the Notary to translate just the truth. You can not bring your own translator.

TIPS

Things to look out for when buying property in Turkey;

  • Does the property have a 'clean' title? Is the seller authorised to sell; sometimes there can be many owners. Ensure there are no legal issues.
  • Are there any debts attached to the property?
  • Has the building been constructed legally?
  • Is the property construction free from any defects?
  • Are any other particulars being advertised true?
  • Does the property have a full title, rather than a restricted title? Does it have the kat irtifaki tapu.
  • Is the property a cooperative property where the cooperative has not been completed? The Tapu can't be transferred until all the site is complete. You will be expected to continue paying the cooperative which can be substantial.
  • Is the property on or near an archaeological site?
  • Does the property belong to the government? If so special procedures apply.
  • Is there any evidence of fraud connected to the property or owner? The property could end up being seized or auctioned off before you get the tapu.
  • Is the property built in an military zone? You probably won't get the Army clearance to transfer the tapu.
  • Is the existing planning status of the property clear?

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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