Buying Real Estate in Turkey
5 MOST FREQUENTLY-ASKED QUESTIONS ON HOW TO BUY REAL ESTATE IN TURKEY
1) How to Legally Buy Real Estate in Turkey?
In Turkish law, real estate purchase contracts can only be drafted by and signed in land registry offices (“Tapu”). Any other written contract regarding a sale of real estate in Turkey is null and void, regardless of whether the price of the real estate has been paid. One cannot buy an apartment simply by signing a hand-written contract with the seller and/or the real estate agent and paying the price; this cannot be emphasized enough.
The most commonly witnessed type of dispute in Turkish real estate law is when the buyer pays the price of an apartment to the seller and the seller does not transfer the apartment to the buyer. Even if the buyer pays the price of an apartment by bank transfer to the seller, the seller is not legally obliged to transfer the ownership of the apartment, unless he signed an official contract before a public notary or in the land registry.
For foreigners who do not know the law and the customs in Turkey, it can be complicated to buy an apartment in Turkey, especially if the seller or the real estate agent are not well-established parties. In order to legally and securely buy real estate in Antalya, in Istanbul or in any other city in Turkey without risking your savings, it is highly recommended that you consult with a real estate lawyer in Turkey and complete the transaction under your attorney’s supervision. A Turkish real estate attorney not only secures the transaction but also checks the required permits on the apartment.
2) What are the costs of buying a real estate in Turkey?
- The real estate purchase tax, which is paid on the date of the purchase, is 4% of the declared real estate value.
- Land registry fees, which are paid on the date of the purchase, are around 1000 TL.
- Mandatory earthquake insurance premiums, which are paid after the purchase, are roughly around 250 TL annually, depending on the type, size and value of the property.
- Charges for connecting water and electricity, including the security deposits, are around 1000 TL, which is paid after the purchase of the real estate and before the utilities are connected.
- Between around 600-1000 TL for a survey report, also known as the expert report. For foreign buyers, since March 2019, it is mandatory to obtain a survey report issued by an authorized surveyor company. This report is one of the documents submitted to the land registry when applying to purchase a real estate. This expert report examines the property, determines its market value and the positive and negative aspects of the property that affect the value. This report was made mandatory in March 2019 in order to protect the interest of foreign buyers in Turkey.
3) How much are the real estate agent commissions in Turkey?
Real estate agents may charge as commission maximum 4% of the real estate value, plus VAT, as per Article 20 of the Regulation on the Trade of Real Estate, published by the Ministry of Customs and Trade on 05.06.2018 in the Official Gazette numbered 30442.
This 4% is usually distributed between the buyer and the seller, as 3% from the buyer and 1% the seller or 2% equally from each party. Before you buy an apartment Turkey, when you are agreeing on the commission with a real estate agent, it is recommended that you make sure that the agent does not charge more than a total of 4% from the buyer and the seller.
4) How to apply for Turkish residence permit or acquire Turkish citizenship after buying a real estate in Turkey?
After you purchase a residential real estate, you may apply for Turkish residence permit based on the property. After you obtain residence permit in Turkey, if you reside in Turkey continuously for 5 years by extending your Turkish residence permit, subject to the fulfilment of other conditions dictated by Turkish Citizenship Law, you may apply for Turkish citizenship at the end of 5 years. For more information on residence permit, please see this link .
If the real estate which you purchase is assessed to be at least 400,000 USD, you may apply for Turkish citizenship immediately. For more information on Turkish citizenship by 400,000 USD investment, please see this link .
5) How much are the annual taxes on real estate ownership in Turkey?
For Antalya real estates, Istanbul real estates and in other major cities such Ankara and İzmir, annual real estate ownership tax is 0.2% of the real estate value, which is determined by the local municipality. This ownership tax is paid to the municipality in 2 installments in May and November each year.
Antalya lawyer Baris Erkan Celebi and his Antalya law firm offer legal counsel and representation for buying real estates in Turkey, including procuring, examining and advising on the survey report, advising on the property in terms of securely purchasing the property without any encumbrance in the deed, purchasing the property on behalf of the client via a power of attorney if necessary, checking the building and residential permits of the property, checking whether there are any mortgages or attachments registered on the property, assisting with the application and conclusion of the land registry process and applying for, pursuing and concluding Turkish residence permit and/or Turkish citizenship process if requested.