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Buying North Cyprus property | your first steps

Isa Alemdag at Golden Beach of North Cyprus

When considering a North Cyprus property purchase for either relocation, investment or vacation, you will have many questions in your mind: should I rent or buy a home first?  Which North Cyprus area should I choose for my property?  And if I do go ahead, what is the process for reserving and buying my new North Cyprus villa or apartment? Welcome to our new guide on the first steps for buying North Cyprus property, which we recommend you read prior to any property viewing or inspection trip.  In this new NCI guide we help you weigh up the pros and cons of renting versus buying (if you are moving to live in North Cyprus); we outline the various areas and what they offer and then finally describe the process for buying your new North Cyprus property.

Your new home:

Finding your new home in North Cyprus – should I rent or buy a home?

Key Points

  • Golf View Maisonettes X8 - North Cyprus Property

    Golf View Maisonettes – North Cyprus Property

    Both renting and buying a home in North Cyprus is easy, affordable and generally hassle-free.

  • Renting may be preferable if you are not sure whether North Cyprus is the country for you – though do bear in mind that this may mean moving twice as most people decide it is!
  • Buying has become much more affordable now with the advent of 10-15 year Mortgages.
  • Buying properties close to Kyrenia or Famagusta takes advantage of the current investment and property boom and enables fast reselling or renting out if you wish to move again.

If you are relocating or moving to Cyprus, you may be weighing up the pros and cons of renting either before or instead of buying a property.  Renting to “try out life in North Cyprus” is initially preferred by some new of those who choose to make North Cyprus their new home, and of course it is essential to know you like the country enough to make it your home!   However if you know that the TRNC is the right place, it may be time to take the plunge and buy your new home, rather than having to move twice or risk signing a long rental contract just before finding your dream home.  Our website and Buying Guide (please see Buying Guide section in our website) can help all would-be residents to carry out due diligence on issues such as North Cyprus Title Deeds.   Do talk to us at NCI to avoid pitfalls before making a property purchase, as well as perhaps contacting a recommended North Cyprus lawyer with any legal queries.

Plantation Golf Residences 8 - North Cyprus Property

Plantation Golf Residences – North Cyprus Property

Another reason why more newcomers are buying property is that prices rising in key areas.  The advent of NEW 10-15 year mortgages and low deposit payment plans, has also made it even more possible on all budgets to afford to own a place in the sun sooner rather than later.  If you are also seeking an investment, the best strategy is to purchase a property which is in a high demand North Cyprus location with high capital growth potential, which can easily resell OR rent out for holidaymakers if you are not residing in Cyprus full time.

The cities of either Kyrenia (Girne) or Famagusta are where the prices and demand are increasing the fastest and also where the English speaking and British ex pats tend to cluster.  There is currently a Kyrenia Property Boom, with demand for ready apartments outstripping supply and buying off plan becoming more common.  (If you buy off plan of course, you will need to rent whilst your property is being built).  If it’s possible you may wish to sell or upgrade soon, we at NCI always advise buying as close as possible to these very popular urban areas to ensure great resale potential as well as ease of letting long term or to holidaymakers.  However, do be prepared for the higher prices for North Cyprus property in or near to a city.   A three-bedroom villa with pool in a country area will cost the same as perhaps a two-bedroom apartment in the city.   The city property will most likely resell the most quickly.  Our expert North Cyprus International Advisors can help you weigh up your relocation property choices.

If you decide to rent a North Cyprus home before buying, you will probably need to sign a 6-month rental contract.  There are sometimes low cost 6 month winter lets.  In parallel to the higher sale prices near the city, the monthly rental prices also increase nearer to the Kyrenia or Famagusta cities and the associated facilities such as English schools including English School of Kyrenia, businesses and shops.

Geography:

Kyrenia (Girne) Harbour and Castle - North Cyprus

Kyrenia (Girne) Harbour and Castle – North Cyprus

North Cyprus geography – which area to choose?

  • The island of Cyprus offers a huge array of different scenery and geography (topography) ranging from miles of unspoilt countryside and beaches in the rural, mountain and Karpaz, to high, forested mountain ranges up to 1,952metres
  • Most ex pat buyers focus on Kyrenia (Girne) and the north coast, (either West of Kyrenia, Kyrenia town itself, or East of Kyrenia) OR the East Coast with its golden beaches (Bogaz, Bafra and Famagusta City). The capital city of Nicosia (Lefkosa) offers fabulous shopping and historic attractions, but generally attracts students to its excellent Universities rather than residents or holiday makers.
  • This array of different vistas is unusual for an island only 2,276 square miles (about the size of Wales). You can ski in the morning and visit the beach in the afternoon!

North Cyprus offers a vast and ever-changing array of beautiful scenery from area to area.  The geographical area you choose for your relocation or move will depend largely on the reasons for your move to the Mediterranean.    Do you choose Kyrenia (Girne) and the areas to the east and west of the town on the North Coast?  Or head east to Famagusta?  What about the capital city of Nicosia (Lefkosa)?

Bellapais Abbey - North Cyprus International (Picture is courtesy of Martin Liebermann - http://www.martin-liebermann.de/ )

Bellapais Abbey – North Cyprus

If you wish an investment property for rental or capital growth – or need access to English speaking universities, English schools or businesses, or just want a charming city environment, you will no doubt be aiming for the “central belt” developed area of Kyrenia (Girne) with its famous & historic harbour – “the jewel of the Mediterranean” and nearby Bellapais with its famous Abbey.  If you are coming for retirement or beach life, but still fancy being able to drive into Kyrenia, you may well like to focus on the coastal areas to the west or east of Kyrenia – as the beaches improve the further away from the city you go.  If you are a golfer, you will wish to live near Esentepe (20 minutes East of Kyrenia) with its fabulous 18 hole Korineum Golf Course. Many ex pats favour the east of Kyrenia region, including Esentepe & Bahceli, due to its fast-growing new facilities (including marinas) and newer standard of beach villas.

Eastern Mediterranean University in Famagusta

Eastern Mediterranean University in Famagusta

The inland capital city of Nicosia (Lefkosa) offers lovely Mosques, markets and modern city life with several excellent English speaking Universities including the brand new Near East University with its hospital and medical training department, but tends to attract locals, tourist day visitors and students, rather than ex pat residents due to its lack of coast.   The Famagusta coast (with Bogaz and the tourism investment area of Bafra to the north east), although flatter, offers fabulous long sandy beaches and slightly lower prices than the Kyrenia area with Bogaz and Bafra being near the unspoilt nature reserve of the Karpaz Peninsula with its fabulous new Karpaz Gate Marina for yachting enthusiasts.  Famagusta city offers world class walled Venetian city, the popular Eastern Mediterranean University and modern city attractions.

If you are retiring to the countryside and are open to different options, there’s a huge choice ahead of you. The foothills of the Besparmak mountains of the North Coast provide a gorgeous country hill area for mountainside villa residences as well as a wildlife haven for walkers and trekkers in Spring and Autumn.  The unspoilt nature haven of the Karpaz Peninsula offers miles of beaches and even some camp sites, with eco-tourism and traditional craft fairs common.  The flatter East Coast with its charming Bogaz Harbour and modern city of Famagusta offers a busy holiday area due to its fabulous long stretches of golden beaches.

North Cyprus International - West Coast Bay Apartments - North Cyprus Property GT13

West Coast – North Cyprus

The lesser known West Coast Bay Area, with its border market town of Guzelyurt (Morphou), plus Vouni Palace and Soli amphitheatre ancient sites, attracts those who really seek peace, quiet and countryside.  Growing in popularity, it offers miles of citrus groves, beautiful sandy horseshoe bay, fish restaurants and old Ottoman-style Sufi village of Lefke.  Throughout the year there are seasonal flower, fruit, nut and date harvest festivals, celebrated with gusto in the relevant villages where one can observe traditional and modern crafts, food of all kinds and Cypriot dancing.

Procedure:

You’ve decided to purchase – what’s the process?

  • Unless you speak Turkish and live in the TRNC full time, you will need to give a limited power of attorney to a North Cyprus lawyer for the purchase of your property.
  • The standard “reservation deposit” removes the property from the market and is between £1,000 – £2,000 sterling. We recommend this is initially paid to your legal advisor and not to the owner of the property.
  • Contract completion – once contracts are prepared by your legal advisor and approved by yourself can be signed in as little as 1 week, but the standard time is 2-3 weeks from reservation. The process of taking possession in North Cyprus can be much quicker than in a country like the UK. Properties with bank mortgages may take longer.

Lawyer:

Setting up Power of Attorney

North Cyprus International Approved LawyersDuring your inspection trip or viewing day with NCI, if you have not already selected your independent legal advisor prior to your visit, we can help with a list of approved lawyers.  Setting up a limited power of attorney with a certified legal advisor in North Cyprus is quick and free of charge.  You must have your passport with you.  It is a power of attorney ONLY for the process of buying North Cyprus property and is without risk to yourself.  The lawyer will prepare the contract, check the legalities of the property, oversee your “application for permission to purchase”, register the contract of sale at the land registry and more.  

Many visitors set up this power of attorney during their visit to have the option to buy property once they return home if they are not sure before they leave North Cyprus.  It is important as it enables the lawyer to on your behalf to sign documents if you are away from Northern Cyprus for long periods of time.  

Paying a deposit

To take a property off the market, it is customary to pay a non-refundable deposit of between £1,000 to £2,000.  This can usually be transferable to another property with the same owner or developer, should you change your mind, but is generally not refundable.   You can pay this in cash or by bank transfer.  Sometimes credit cards can be used too.  At NCI we do not encourage the practice of reserving properties prior to flying out to view and would recommend you avoid any pressure to do so.  We would also advise where possible to pay this deposit to your legal advisor rather than direct to the owner (this means that if the legal advisor finds something seriously wrong legally, you will be able to get it back).  You do not need a North Cyprus bank account to purchase a property as all monies can be transferred by bank transfer.

Process:

The process of buying

In North Cyprus, it is usual for the full legal fee to be paid up front to your lawyer once they start work, often before you leave Cyprus.   This is because most of their clients live overseas and if funds were not paid up front, in the event of a buyer pulling out, the lawyer would not have received any money for their work.

North Cyprus International Kyrenia (Girne) Office | Property Agents

North Cyprus International Kyrenia (Girne) Office – North Cyprus Property Agents

Before any North Cyprus title deeds to the property can be registered in your name, you will need to obtain what is called Permission to Purchase (often written as P2P in shorthand) from the TRNC government.  (It is unusual for this not to be granted – the only reasons for this would generally be if the prospective buyer has a police record in their country of origin or if the property was found to be built in an army zone).   This takes 6- 9 months.  However, your ownership is protected during this period by the Registration of your contract of sale at the land registry, which must be carried out by your legal representative soon after the contract has been signed.    A Police Report will need to be obtained from your country of origin.

If your property is a new build, the Contract of Sale will include all important terms such as plot number, plot size, price, payment schedule, completion date with penalty clauses for late completion. All floor plans and specifications will be attached to the contract to ensure that the vendor is bound to carry out the construction work in accordance with these.  If your property is a resale property, then as much detail as possible will be included such as plot size, furniture included, any current warranties etc.  Your lawyer will carry out land searches and check that all properties are legally in order.

Taxes:

North Cyprus Property Taxes

As well as the sale price, there are three main taxes which must be paid which usually total 8.5%.  (Current in March 2017).

  • The first is a 0.5% stamp duty
  • The second is 5% VAT to the government unless the title deed is in the owner’s name and the VAT has already been paid. Please note, even if the VAT has been paid, if the title is not in the seller’s name, you will have to pay it again.
  • The third is the 3% (first purchase) transfer of title fee which should be paid once the Permission to Purchase has been gained and the title available. If you have had a title deed in your name before in North Cyprus, the cost is 6%.

If you need any advice about finding or buying your North Cyprus Property, please do contact our experts at North Cyprus International via email (help@northcyprusinternational.com), ‘phone (+44 207 112 8086 or +90 548 861 0600) or live chat on our website www.northcyprusinternational.com.

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