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Buying a holiday home

4885 Views 41 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Veronica
I am sure that this query has been covered in several posts previously, but after a quick search i cannot seem to find any suitable answers.

I am seriously looking at buying a holiday property in Cyprus (3 bed villa with pool in Paphos / west coast area) for personal use and short periods of rental. I would appreciate any feedback / advice on the following:

- What would be the average price of this type of property?
- Are there bargains / deals to be had?
- Have prices stabilised or still falling?
- What are the average running costs for this sort of property?
- I know a pool is essential, but what are the running costs?
- Is it cost effective to 'shut down' the pool during winter?
- What are the average rental charges for this type of property?

Any general advice, do's and dont's, etc would also be greatly welcomed.

1 - 9 of 42 Posts
Personally after buying in Cyprus and having property here for 7 years I would advise you not to buy ANY property in Cyprus. With a crystal ball and hindsight I wouldn't have bothered buying after all the bad experiences I am aware of and encountered. The attitude and corruption of government officials, lawyers, banking staff is unbelievable.

If you are adamant you want to buy and being in the fortunate position as a cash buyer then you will obviously have no need for some of the above. However I cannot stress enough do not buy anything unless you are receiving the title deeds. People will tell you what you want to hear and even if they have an AX number still do not buy. I currently have my AX Number and have done so for well over a year. I went to the land registry to find out more details regarding my house and plot and the government officials were rude and very reluctant to divulge any information, it was almost as if they were protecting the developer. Even though it was my plot, my property, my AX number, my contract of sale etc. it is honestly not worth the hassle, I cannot stress this enough and I am not the only one to go through this I know many other people who have had the same treatment from government officials.
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Thanks for your comments, I have read many more like them. The more I look into buying property in Cyprus the more wary I become. Whilst not discounting it as a place to buy, I am now looking at other countries where there are some good (and safer) deals to be had. What I find ludicrous is how the government of Cyprus allow this to go on. Surely in this economic climate they should be encouraging investment from abroad, or is it (like Greece) they dont want us there??
You are very right to be cautious. I was in the Larnaca District office only a few weeks ago and had a meeting and tried to explain to them in a very diplomatic and polite way as to why there is such a reluctance in British and overseas buyers unwilling to buy in Cyprus. I explained that the title deeds is an issue and how developers are mortgaging land and property with banks with people they have already sold to. I explained that there needed to be more communication with the buyers aswell as the developers. They honestly do not believe it and they all think it is down to the world recession why no one wants to buy in Cyprus. They really do not care and I can see Cyprus heading down the Greece route if that is how there government officials behave and that is there attitude. I know many people who have money to invest but they wouldn't touch Cyprus with a bargpole. I also went to the village local council building again to get information regarding what taxes the developer had paid so I could verify he had indeed paid them. The Oroklini council office told me to go to the land registry for this information. The practically said they had the information but they were afraid to upset the developer by giving me this information. When I went to the land registry to ask for this information and any additional information regarding the transfer of title deeds and what taxes the developer had paid there reply was we have done our job transferring it to the developer and it has nothing to do with us and basically that they don't care.

Now the developer has the title deeds and they are saying they are not ready to transfer to me as there is some "complications" Suffice to say it now looks like I will be having to get my lawyer involved at even more expense to myself. I could tell you so many horror story's ranging from the developer, government officials, bank staff even the lawyers. I cannot stress enough if you do buy only buy property with title deeds. In all honesty I wouldn't buy knowing what I know now.
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What can we expect from the land registry office that looks like a shambles on speed? The last time I visited their office only a few weeks ago in Larnaca I was amazed that in this 21st century you could see such a shambles. Hardly a computer in sight and the only one that was evident pre-dated 1985, brown paper files scatted all over the floor and desks. The only staff moving with any conviction were those distributing coffee and sticky cakes. People waiting to be served? The usual Cypriot bun fight! Why can’t they grasp the simple action of having a numbered ticket dispenser and a display showing who is next to be served? Instead it is barge, push, elbow and something resembling a rugger scrum to push their way to the counter.

Everyone's details is paper files that goes for the banks and lawyers aswell. They do not back anything up or scan or copy anything, everyone's files is in a flimsy brown paper folder. If this is how they work with the correct information could you imagine what it would be like of they lost the file or if there was a fire in the building?
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Well said Anders:) Unofortunately some people forget that when you are in a foreign country things are not always done the way you are used to and think that everyone should adapt to how they want it rather be willing to adapt to how things are done in the coutnry they have chosen to live in.
It is unfortunate that some people have had bad experiences buying here but the fact is that the vast majority of people who own here are happy with their decision.
Unfortunately in the Larnaca area there are a large number of developers and lawyers who have failed their clients miserably. We met the lawyer who has been taking on cases against fellow lawyers with a great deal of success and he told us that Larnaca has by far the largest number of bad lawyers and developers.
Thank heavens we don't sell much property in that area because it sounds like a nightmare over there.:eek: Give me Paphos any day, we know who to trust here and who not to trust so have nothing but happy clients:clap2::clap2::clap2::clap2:
This is not something that has happened overnight this has been happening for years. That is why there are over 40,000 expats waiting for the there title deeds. It is very naive of you to think that this only happens in Larnaca. Do you really think that 40,000 expats waiting for title deeds all live in Larnaca. There seems to be too many people particularly on this sight that have a them and us menatality between the east and the west of Cyprus ie Paphos and Larnaca, Ayia Napa, Protaras. If you really think it is all a bed of roses over and no one has been effected by similar circumstances then you are greatly mistaken. I know people from all over the island that have been effected by corruption from government officials, developers and lawyers. Of coarse not every single person on the island is like this but people need to be warned and no the dangers before buying in Cyprus. I have travelled and lived all over the world also.

As for accepting that it is the "Cyprus " way, I've never heard anything so riduclous in my life. If you think it is acceptable for people to be handing over tens and or hundreds of thousands of pounds in cash for property in good faith that they don't technically own and could lose because developers are remortgaging the land or because of governments officials not having a clue what to do then you are sadly mistaken. If I help at least one person from going through some of the problems I have encountered then it is worth telling them about the problems they may encounter.
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As anywhere else you live in the world you have to accept the rules in the country where you in fact are a guest. If anyone a UK citizen should know how it works. I am 100 % sure that you would not agree to change 1 of your stupid UK laws because a group of Cypriots told you that the system is stupid.

I agree with you that the Title Deed and mortgage system is not good and have to be changed

And if I was to hand over that sum of money I would be 100% sure how it will work. If I dont find that out, and its well known, then I have my self to blaim in a way.

And ofc there is crooked people in this business as in any other business, but that is a worldwide phenomena. Believe me I have seen much worse examples during the last 25 years of living abroad. Spain, Greece, The Canary Islands are all good examples of the problem. In fact, one of the biggest svindlers were from UK, John Palmer

The way to not get problems is to prepare yourself. Read, listen to them who has done this before, take references etc. This forum is a good example of where you can get good information

We will soon buy a house in Cyprus. I am not at all afraid getting scammed because I know I have made my homework. It has taken time but it will be worth every cent. Now I just look forward to soon be able to make the last move in my life and start to enjoy the Cyprus way of life

If you have had a bad experience I feel sorry for you as for all others that have problems.

But again, never forget you come as a guest to another culture, a culture that have goods and bads. If you cant accept that and adjust to it then you are in the wrong place

I have learned the hard way buying without title deeds this is why I am offering my experience to anyone and everyone in saying do not buy in Cyprus at any cost with out title deeds including a property with AX Numbers. ONLY BUY A PROPERTY WITH TITLE DEEDS! Lots of my neighbours in Cyprus would say the same thing. I am not naive to think there are are not other countries that have other problems with buying and selling and of coarse you should do your research before buying. I actually did quite a lot of research and did several visits to the island before committing. I just never realised how bad and how corrupt the government was until years down the line.

The swindlers issue I also agree with and is completely unacceptable in any country. I have seen the holiday homes from hell programme and feel so sorry for that people. I have see the holiday homes from hell show in the UK aswell. The good thing is at least the UK has NHBC which holds builders accountable and the owners know that any major structural issues will be fixed by the builder and if not then buy the NHBC for up to 10 years. Not too mention you get your keys and title deed in your hand when you buy in the UK. As for having to adjust to the Cyprus system, I agree every country has there own culture which is fair enough but I do not and never will agree on the title deeds issue in Cyprus it is completely wrong and corrupt. The simple line is if ANYONE is buying and handing over large amounts of money and life savings then in return they should be receiving there title deeds and keys in there hand on the same day. For all the sins that the UK has and I have bought, sold and rented out property in Scotland at least you get your keys and title deeds in your hands when you hand over your money.
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It must be better to loose 1 paperfile then to loose all in a computer server crash.

I dont defend the system in Cyprus but it is their system. If everything is so horrible why stay here. There is many other places in the world

Many writes about the Cypriots not liking UK and other expats and if all they here is how bad their country is then I can understand them.

I have been fortunate to live in many countries all over the world and the key has always been to adjust to the system, not try force the system to adjust to you.

I dont think that UK would change if the expats tryed to change the UK system.
Seriously no your wrong it would not be better to lose your whole paper file, are you for real??? It would be better if they had everything on a computer system and had everything backed up and also had a paper file as an additional back up.

I did not say everything is horrible in Cyprus, I said the government officials are corrupt and do not care about the problems going on with the title deeds issue and treat UK people like 2nd class citizens.

I have also been fortunate to travel the world with my occupation. There is a difference between adjusting to people's culture and being treated like a 2nd class citizen from corrupt government officials which is completely unacceptable.

As for the U.K. changing for expats, unfortunately they have and that is the problem there. Too many expats and foreigners coming into the U.K. and claiming benefits while the average U.K. person is supporting them, but hey that's another issue and nothing to do with Cyprus system and corrupt.
I agree that buying property in Cyprus has it's pitfalls and risks and make no mistake, Cypriots are just as affected as expats. I disagree that it's due to corrupt government officials, although they do exist, it's more due to loopholes in the system, apathy and a real reluctance to prosecute the crooks.
Those developers swindled a lot more natives than expats so they don't really discriminate.

I am a Cypriot, I speak fluent Greek and yet anytime I need to get anything done with any sort of government official is extremely painful. They are inefficient, unmotivated and for the most part are waiting for the day to be over so they can go home. If you land one of those jobs you are hired for life.

It's definitely not an acceptable level of service and for those of us that experienced well run government/civic services and know it can be done, is maddening. Don't feel alone though, Greek Cypriots are treated just as poorly.
And I hate that in many cases you have to take a third party with you to do the paperwork that they get paid to do!
This laid back attitude also has benefits, they are not as quick to repossess your house if you can't make the payments, for example.

Speaking up is totally acceptable, I don't feel it's Cyprus bashing and as a contributing member of the local society you have a right to point out the faults to the status quo. If every expat stayed with the attitude that everything should be accepted as is, the animals on the island would have no voice. Because of expats they have a place to go!

A lot of non natives misjudge Cyprus maybe because of the feeling you are in paradise but it has it's share of bad people just like everywhere else in the world.

When buying property, which as Veronica pointed out people do successfully every day, go with your eyes wide open and armed with as much knowledge as you can! Know the local system and don't assume that it must work the same way as anywhere else. Your life's savings are on the line!

We are about to start the very painful process of building a house, I may feel differently then:) if the stress of dealing with the whole lot of them doesn't kill us first!
You couldn't have worded it better. I agree it is not all corruption but also ineffiency, no motivation and a lack of care and service. Some people on here are taking it personally and think I am attacking the Cyprus as a whole, which I am not. I have met some wonderfull Cypriots. Unfortunately the unpleasant experiences have mostly been with government officials, the banking staff and the developer and it's staff.

I do not live in Cyprus but it is my second home and I have had my property for 7 years now and myself and family visit regularly. If I didn't like it I wouldn't come back. Lots of my neighbours are looking to sell and have had there property on the market for several years now and unfortunately and the accept they will never be able to sell there house until they get there title deeds. This is clearly wrong and although some people keep changing the subject my main point I keep putting across is NO ONE should ever buy in Cyprus without a title deed in place because I gaurentee it will cause stress, disappointment and heartache.
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You just said that tomany foreigners coming to UK and claiming benefits. You react on that but then Cypriots must be able to react in the same way. Or..

I think that a majority of the expats coming to Cyprus nowaday is people with a pension, this because of the problem with jobs.
This people all claim benifits like free healthcare. They have not contributed any tax to the Cyprus state. Perhaps this is why some Cypriots dont like the expats coming

Much of this lays in history. Cyprus and its citizens was not very well treated during the period as a British colony. Everyone admits that. It will take time to heal.

But how you can accuse all Cypriot goverment officials to be corrupt. Have you met all? In every country there is bad apples in the basket, also in UK.
I have paid my way through UK customs without getting a reciept more then one time when some document was missing

I agree that the Title Deed problem has to be solved. But again, this is a problem for all buying a new home in Cyprus, regardless if he is Brit or Cypriot, Swede or Russian[/

I agree not all officials are corrupted but there are a hell of a lot that are but they are also inefficient, have no motivation and a lack of care and service. Certainly all of the people I have seen walking about in the Larnaca District Office. You seem to be taking this very personally and think I am attacking the Cyprus as a whole, which I am not. I have met some wonderful Cypriots. Unfortunately the unpleasant experiences have mostly been with government officials, the banking staff and the developer and it's staff.

I can't beleive some of the stuff your coming away with though, you state "Cyprus and its citizens was not very well treated during the period as a British colony" AND??? Does that mean all British people living and visiting the island should suffer for this? The Cyprus economy is hurting yes because there is a recession but mainly because the building trade has dried up. The quicker the government and developers realise they need to start treating people with respect, service, duty of care and offering properties where the consumer gets what they are paying for ie title deed in hand with keys on day of purchase, the sooner more people will start buying and wanting to move to the country. Yes that includes, Brits, Russians any nationality.

As for UK pensioners getting free Cyprus healthcare, are you not aware that ANY citizen in the European Union is entitled to free healthcare where ever the choose to live in any country of the EU? Yes that means Cypriots living in the U.K. The pensioners are actually boosting the economy, they are taking there pensions from the U.K. And investing it in paying council taxes, electricity, shopping etc etc etc. Seriously where are you getting these ideas from???

Another classic line "Perhaps this is why some Cypriots dont like the expats coming" Are you having a laugh, so your saying it's ok for the Cypriots to treat the British people poorly coming to live to or visit Cyprus because there bitter and twisted about Pensioners living there or that it's an ex British colony? You really believe that is acceptable for Cypriots to have that narrow minded attitude towards foriegn people coming to live and visit Cyprus. Pensioners and tourism are actually boosting the economy, along with foreigners purchasing property. I have never heard so much rubbish in my life!

I do not live in Cyprus but it is my second home and I have had my property for 7 years now and myself and family visit regularly. If I didn't like it I wouldn't come back. Lots of my neighbours are looking to sell and have had there property on the market for several years now and unfortunately and the accept they will never be able to sell there house until they get there title deeds. This is clearly wrong and although some people keep changing the subject my main point I keep putting across is NO ONE should ever buy in Cyprus without a title deed in place because I gaurentee it will cause stress, disappointment and heartache.
But this is just common sense! It is normal practice for a solicitor to do these types of searches in the UK. Are you saying that this is not done as a matter of course in Cyprus? How can I "make sure that the seller has not borrowed on it"? What are you paying solicitors for if not to do these sorts of checks and be made accountable?

I am getting more concerned!
There is a lot you would think is common sense in Cyprus but you will find common sense goes straight out the window in Cyprus! Question everything even with your solicitor! Do not take anything for word, everything you do should be in writing! One thing I have found that happens in Cyprus a lot is that they tell you what you want to hear and have a very selective short memory and this can be everything from buying goods, lawyers, developers, agents, bankers, government officials. Trust no one and get everything in writing! Sounds like common sense, but it really does apply in Cyprus!
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