Buying a Real Estate in Turkey
Turkey’s Booming Real Estate Market
The real estate market in Turkey is still booming. As per July 2021 statistics, 107,785 properties were sold in July 2021 alone and 134,731 in June 2021. Of the 107,785 properties sold in July, 4,495 properties in Turkey were bought by foreign nationals; almost a two-fold increase from the figure of 2,741 properties bought by foreign nationals in July 2020. These strong numbers in Turkish real estate transactions are pushing the prices upwards, in direct contrast to the overall market shrinking worldwide in the year 2021.
Legally Purchasing a Real Estate in Turkey
In Turkish real estate law, real estate sale contracts are only valid if they are drafted by and signed before the land registry directorates (called “Tapu” offices). Any other contract of sale of a real estate is invalid, regardless of what is written in the contract and whether the price of the real estate has been paid or not. All payments and down-payments that are made with respect to such unofficial contracts are made in good faith. This means that, based on an unofficially-signed real estate sale contract, the seller cannot legally force the buyer to pay any price or penalty, and likewise the buyer cannot force the seller to transfer the ownership of the property. This is where legal disputes arise; by signing and trusting unenforceable and invalid agreements, parties make arbitrary and risky investment decisions.
Another example of a case where legal disputes often arise is the day of the transaction at the land registry. By law, the agreed price of a real estate must have been paid prior to the signing of the official real estate sale contract at the land registry. Therefore a seller will always require the payment before transferring the ownership of the real estate to the buyer. However, a buyer will also wish to guarantee that the seller will honor the agreement in good faith and transfer ownership once the payment is made. This brief period of time between the moment of payment and the moment of ownership transaction is where legal disputes are most likely to occur.
Hiring a Real Estate Lawyer
Foreign nationals are often not equipped to handle real estate purchases without the help of a professional, due to the lack of knowledge of Turkish property laws and language barriers. In order to avoid potential legal disputes, foreign nationals must have an expert report done on the property. Furthermore, foreign buyers are also highly recommended to hire the service of a property lawyer who is experienced in property deals.
Antalya Lawyer Baris Erkan Celebi and his Antalya Law Firm offer legal services for Turkish real estate purchases to foreign nationals. These services include performing background checks on the property to make sure the property is clear of debts, mortgages and potentially risky reservations, reviewing and advising on any agreements signed between the buyer and the seller and/or the real estate agent, advising to the buyer on the expert report, confirming that all the permits are in order, securing the payment of the agreed price and duly pursuing the transaction process until the real estate is securely registered on the buyer’s name.
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