Even if you are going to buy an apartment or house in Cyprus with the assistance of a realtor and/or translator, it will still be useful to make a list of questions that you will ask the seller. This will give you confidence in the transparency of the transaction and the understanding that no problems will arise in the next stages.
Preface: Some Important Points
If this is your first transaction in Cyprus, it is better not to take risks and act through a realtor or organization. You can contact our specialists at DOM, the top real estate agency in Cyprus, for advice and direct assistance. Remember that independently executing all the paperwork is a long, complicated, and often incomprehensible process. Documents in a foreign language are even more difficult to understand. In addition, the process of acquiring property in Cyprus by a foreign citizen has some nuances.
If you are confident in your abilities but do not speak Greek well, find an interpreter. Of course, English can help, but only if both you and the seller speak it very well. Otherwise, it will be difficult for you to understand the interlocutor, and in this situation, there is a risk of missing something important. Misunderstandings on such serious matters are unacceptable.
Listed below are some questions that are best asked directly to the seller or property owner. Based on the answers, you will be able to understand whether this option suits you or not.
The very first task is to check the documents for the property, but there are a few more questions to ask:
- When was the property acquired?
- How was it acquired (inheritance, purchase, mortgage, donation)?
- Who was the previous owner (if any)?
If there are multiple owners, do they agree with the division of shares and, in general, do they all agree to the deal?
It may seem unnecessary to ask such detailed questions to new owners, but in fact, it is crucial. For instance, in some cases, an heir may sell an apartment, only for their right to inherit to be invalidated later. This is just one of many possible scenarios. Therefore, it is important to check the legality of the property and not hesitate to ask various questions.
Another important point to consider is encumbrance, which should be documented. As a rule, it is better to entrust this task to a specialist. If there is an encumbrance, then the problem can be solved, but it will require some effort from the soon-to-be owner. Therefore, you must either refuse the deal or ask for a discount that will cover the material and moral costs of further actions.
Тitle for real estate in Cyprus (also known as Title Deed) is a document that confirms the ownership of a property and includes all the relevant information about it. When buying primary real estate, obtaining the title is usually not a problem since the developer takes care of the documents and quickly gives them to the new owner.
However, with secondary real estate, things can get a little more complicated. Re-registering the property to a new owner can take quite a long time. If the selling party has recently bought the property, they may not yet have the title in their possession since it is still being re-registered. As a rule, this is not a significant obstacle but can add unnecessary trouble.
Redevelopment is acceptable, but only if it is fully confirmed and approved, and the owner will have the relevant documents in their hands. If there are no papers, it is better to refuse the deal. Otherwise, you may receive a very large fine and a whole series of litigation.
Debts - not only utility bills
Debts on a communal apartment can be checked based on the documents (a realtor may well help with this action), as well as through a management company. If there is a debt, then you will have to re-register it for yourself, and then repay it. This is not a very complicated procedure, but in any case, the seller must provide a discount a little more than the amount owed. Still, it is better if the apartment is transferred to you “clean,” without any debts.
It’s also recommended to ask the owners and residents in a friendly way if they have any outstanding loans, fines, and other debts - otherwise, letters demanding payment on the previous owners may be sent to your address for a long time.
Purchase amount and deposit amount
Be sure to verbalize all the amounts that appear in the transaction. Although they will be documented, a verbal agreement is an important aspect of communication. Additionally, this will help protect yourself from unscrupulous realtors who quote buyers one amount while the actual price of the real estate is lower. It is desirable that you can contact the owner and discuss all the amounts with them as well.
Are there tenants?
If an apartment or house in Cyprus is for sale and is rented at the same time, make sure to discuss all the nuances. Ideally, try to talk to the tenants themselves to find out if they are aware of the upcoming deal and if they undertake to move out at a certain time.
Hint: There are cases when the owners change, but the tenants stay in the apartment. In this case, you will definitely need to personally discuss all the issues and conclude a new lease agreement after the purchase.
Disadvantages of the apartment
During a direct inspection, make sure to ask about the shortcomings of the apartment. A conscientious seller will honestly tell and show what you should pay attention to. Generally, there are no apartments without flaws (even if it is a primary property in an elite complex, there are still features), so the answer “Everything is perfect” should be considered obviously false.
There are two options: either refuse to interact with such a seller at all, or carefully examine every corner, interview your neighbors, and check the nuances of the layout of the house.
Who are the neighbors?
A very important point is to know who lives nearby, especially when it comes to apartments.
Who are the Neighbors?
It's important to know who lives nearby, especially when buying an apartment. You should ask delicately and in detail about who lives in the adjacent apartments, whether there are children and pets present, how many tenants there are, and how clean and quiet the surroundings are.
Other important factors to consider include whether there have been incidents of property damage (such as flooding from neighbors or the owner-seller), incidents of wiring short circuits, or serious renovations in the neighborhood. These details can give you a fuller picture of any potential issues.
Tip: If you plan to live in the apartment or house you're buying, it's a good idea to get to know your neighbors in person. At the very least, try to meet a few of them.
If time permits, take a few walks around the courtyard of the building. Observe the playgrounds, children, and parents, as well as how pets are walked. In general, if you have the opportunity to get a closer look and assess the atmosphere, do so. Otherwise, you can limit yourself to asking detailed questions of the seller.
Energy Efficiency and Utilities
Ask about the energy efficiency class of the building and the amount of utility bills in both summer and winter. A class A rating suggests that you'll pay very little for electricity, as the complex is almost completely self-sufficient in energy. A class B rating indicates that the building is about half self-sufficient. As a rule, all new buildings in Cyprus today have an energy efficiency class of B or higher.
The state of communication is also important. If you are buying a secondary home older than 10 years, be sure to ask when the wiring, pipes, plumbing, and gas equipment were last checked and changed. Evaluate the communication visually, and if the building is old, it is better to invite a specialist to give a competent opinion.
Also, ask how the management company works, such as whether it quickly responds to requests from residents, is active, and holds events, among others.
Heating is an important issue in Cyprus, especially for apartments or houses. Cottages and villas often have their own system, and the buyer needs to figure out how it works and how much it costs to maintain. It is also not superfluous to ask (see paragraph above) when it was last in operation and when the repair was made.
Apartments usually have either underfloor heating or split systems. In this case, it is worth asking more about their effectiveness and the principle of operation, as well as orienting yourself on payments in the cold season.
Finishing applies to repairs and materials that were used. There are usually no problems with the walls (you can paint or re-paste the wallpaper), but you should ask questions about more durable things, such as laminate or parquet, tiles, ceilings, built-in sets, interior and exterior doors, and so on - especially if you do not plan to change them in the near future. Find out the manufacturer, discuss the quality, and assess the need for replacement in the near future.
Of course, you can take a stroll and check out all the necessary amenities that are within walking distance. These include grocery stores, gas stations, playgrounds, kindergartens, and schools, which are especially important for families with children. Be sure to evaluate how much noise the street facing your prospective home's windows produces.
If you plan to live in an apartment or house on your own, ask the owners or tenants about the best places to go for groceries, nearest shopping centers, etc. Pay attention to the actual time it takes to get to a particular location.
Important: The concept of "walking distance" can be subjective. For example, the nearest beach may only be 500 meters away, but the road is always uphill, taking at least 15 minutes and a lot of effort.
Parking and car charging
In modern complexes, a parking space is usually provided. The same applies to a private house. However, it is also possible that the car will have to be parked outside or you will have to look for a parking space each time, so check with the seller about this point.
If you own an electric car, pay attention to new-build complexes of business and elite class as they usually have special chargers installed at each parking space.
Seismic Resistance and Fire Hazard
It is important to inquire about the seismic history of the area where the prospective property is located and how the building has fared in previous earthquakes. If the house has experienced shaking during earthquakes with weak magnitudes, it is important to assess how well it has held up, as excessive shaking may indicate that the building is not sufficiently stable.
For private houses, it is essential to review all relevant documents to ensure that the building meets all safety standards, not only for seismic resistance but also for fire hazards, particularly if the house is situated near fields that could catch fire during severe droughts in the summer. It is also important to ask about any incidents that have occurred in the area and their consequences.
In conclusion, there may be numerous other questions that need to be addressed when searching for a new property. Take the time to explore and find out everything that interests you, and consider using a translator to help save you time, money, and frustration.
If you are interested in properties on the island of Cyprus, consider working with the number 1 real estate agency, DOM. Their website features the largest database of residential and commercial properties on the island, with over 30,000 options to choose from. Contact their professional brokers for assistance in making the right choice.
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