How long should it take to purchase a house?

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CatWitch
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How long should it take to purchase a house?

Postby CatWitch » Tue Sep 03, 2019 4:28 pm

I am at my wits end!
Deposit paid end of 2018, completion date agreed for spring 2019. An excellent lawyer fighting our corner. Modern house with no problems. So why has the sale still not completed? I don't want to walk away, I have invested money, time and dreams in this house and met some lovely Greek people, and cats, along the way, but the inaction of the owners team in processing this sale is getting too much.
Is this just the norm and all dates and promises should just be totally disregarded?
We can't make plans! We should have been there for my birthday in the spring and now our September trip with friends looks in total jeopardy.
Rant over, where are my blood pressure tablets?
Last edited by CatWitch on Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tim
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Re: How long should it take to purchase a house?

Postby Tim » Tue Sep 03, 2019 5:17 pm

Generally the sales process is faster than in the UK - just a few weeks from handshake to completion. Is your seller possibly caught in a chain and is unable to complete with you until they complete on their next property? Just a thought.

Tim

Kilkis
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Re: How long should it take to purchase a house?

Postby Kilkis » Tue Sep 03, 2019 6:09 pm

There are a multiplicity of reasons why they might not be able to complete. For example the house may not be legal and they may be experiencing problems getting it legalised. It may not be their fault. I know one person who has a legality issue with the Forestry Commission but they are dealing with these problems area by area and his area is not scheduled until next year. There may be contentions over ownership, i.e the house has been inherited jointly by several people and some want to sell and some don't. Payments of their income tax/ENFIA/electricity bills/water bills/council tax/etc/etc are not up to date. They have to get certificates for all these items before they can sell. Many people have experienced severe problems paying these items due to recession and are deeply in arrears.

I would have thought your lawyer should be able to find out from their lawyer what is causing the hold-up.

Warwick

CatWitch
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Re: How long should it take to purchase a house?

Postby CatWitch » Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:31 pm

No chain. Ownership is fine, no idea if their tax/ENFIA etc situation are up to date but I know they pay things by direct debit and are responsible people. The survey produced a minor fine which they paid. They like us are desperate to finalise. It's just getting their lawyer to respond to anything let alone tell us when we will complete is next to impossible. Our lawyer and the estate agent's lawyer are on it but getting nowhere.
Last edited by CatWitch on Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Guy M
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Re: How long should it take to purchase a house?

Postby Guy M » Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:30 pm

I think Warwick’s advice is very good. It took us under a month which I don’t think was abnormally fast, so getting the lawyers to speak to each other seems a good idea. Sorry about the delay - v stressful.

Kilkis
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Re: How long should it take to purchase a house?

Postby Kilkis » Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:50 pm

It sounds like they have a crap lawyer. Who was the deposit paid to? If to their lawyer then it is possible he has spent it and is delaying to avoid having to come up with the money? If the sellers' lawyer is the problem I suspect that only the sellers can resolve it. How they could do that I am not sure. There are some very good lawyers on Crete and some extremely dodgy ones.

Warwick

YoMo2
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Re: How long should it take to purchase a house?

Postby YoMo2 » Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:28 am

Kilkis wrote:It sounds like they have a crap lawyer. Who was the deposit paid to? If to their lawyer then it is possible he has spent it and is delaying to avoid having to come up with the money? If the sellers' lawyer is the problem I suspect that only the sellers can resolve it. How they could do that I am not sure. There are some very good lawyers on Crete and some extremely dodgy ones. Warwick


As Warwick says, only the sellers can resolve this. Maybe they should fire their lawyer and get a decent one? If you paid the deposit to the current lawyer that might not be possible, unless of course the seller is prepared to swallow that loss by reducing the price by an equivalent amount.....

Andrew

Voni
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Re: How long should it take to purchase a house?

Postby Voni » Fri Sep 06, 2019 9:50 am

So sorry to hear of your problems with the house purchase.

FYI as I understand it once the deposit has been paid if the seller pulls out they have to repay you double the deposit, if you pull out you lose your deposit. Of course trying to recoup funds from the seller might prove extremely difficult at least they haven’t said they want to pull out but........

I certainly agree with Warwick that you need to establish who has your deposit. Although incomprehensible to most foreign buyers, is not unusual without your knowledge, for Greek lawyers to use the deposit to pay for the sellers financial liabilities like legalisation, tax arrears, engineers fees etc. in the eyes of the lawyer it is just helping to facilitate the sale. If all goes through no problem. I’m not saying this has happening your case.

Our first failed house purchase dragged on for months, we also found it difficult to get to the truth of what was happening hindered by the Greek tradition of not wanting to be the bearer of bad news. Fortunately because we never reached pre contract stage our lawyer properly held our deposit in a bank account in our name then when the purchase fell through our money was safe. When we purchased our present Crete home we later discovered our deposit had been spent in advance to facilitate the sale, it all worked out thankfully but if not we would have been seriously out of pocket with no hope of recouping the funds, it had all been spent!

When we made our house purchase our lawyer went online in front of us and checked the tax/ENFIA/ utility bill status of our sellers she knew in an instant that it was all clear.

Buying in any foreign country is never easy, but please be assured that Crete is a beautiful place and no doubt when you are sitting in your new home with a glass of wine watching the sunset all this will fade away.

Good luck, it will be worth it!

CatWitch
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Re: How long should it take to purchase a house?

Postby CatWitch » Mon Sep 09, 2019 12:04 pm

"When we made our house purchase our lawyer went online in front of us and checked the tax/ENFIA/ utility bill status of our sellers she knew in an instant that it was all clear." - This is interesting, I will ask our lawyer about this.
The deposit was paid directly to the owners.
Recent communication shows the problem is the owners lawyer. I think we all trusted the lawyers to progress the sale but 10 months on the total disregard for the clients is staggering. Such a learning experience that has put me off I must say, and the bureaucracy is staggering as you all know, but it's true, the dream is that glass of wine on the beautiful terrace watching the sunset - and being passed the rest of the bottle :-).
Last edited by CatWitch on Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Kilkis
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Re: How long should it take to purchase a house?

Postby Kilkis » Mon Sep 09, 2019 1:44 pm

A lawyer may be able to check online the status of things like tax/ENFIA/ utility bills etc BUT, unless things have changed in the last few months, when it comes to drawing up the contract the Notary needs printed certificates for all these things. Typically the sellers' lawyer will tell the sellers what is needed but he expects the sellers to do the running round collecting them all, e.g civil engineer, tax office, town hall, water company etc. All the certificates are time limited so if there is any sort of delay the sellers may need to go back and get new versions. It is very tedious.

It is possible to give a lawyer power of attorney to do these things for you but I would advise caution. I would only ever give a very limited power of attorney specifying exactly what he has the power to do. I wouldn't advise giving a general power of attorney; I have heard some horror stories where clients have done that. Since the power of attorney has to be notarised I would sit down with a notary and get them to draft exactly what you need. I wouldn't let the lawyer draft it and simply take it to a notary.

Warwick

Voni
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Re: How long should it take to purchase a house?

Postby Voni » Mon Sep 09, 2019 4:29 pm

Just a thought....

Remember in Greece both the seller and the buyer pays commission to the estate agent so in effect they are working for both parties.

In our failed purchase we found the estate agent was much more willing to give us information about the issues with our proposed purchase than our lawyer. Both were reluctant to email details but when I phoned the estate agent and followed up with an emailed list specific questions like:

Is the property legalised now?
Has the court search shown up any charges against the property?
When did you do the court search?
Is the property on any forestry land? Etc etc

I got the answers.

I don’t want to alarm you but depending on what you are purchasing and where the property is may also mean different financial liabilities that may need resolving. If your property is outside the town limits and built on a plot less than 4000 the neighbouring house(s) are termed a “family dwelling”. In the property boom a lot of builders stretched the law in this way to get more houses on what should be a single plot. Officially the houses on the same plot should be physically joined but this isn’t always the case.

Unfortunately houses sharing common land as this is also known have shared responsibilities for the debts of the others....hard to believe but I’m afraid it is true. So if it is a shared plot and the neighbour has tax liabilities for example, this debit will have to be cleared before any sale can be progressed.

It is now possible to do legal horizontal and vertical splits which as far as possible take away the shared financial obligations of houses built on common land, separate contracts have to done by the notary to sort this so it can be resolved but any debts have to be cleared first of course.

Everyone has hiccups when buying a house, you will get there in the end....don’t give up the dream....

Kilkis
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Re: How long should it take to purchase a house?

Postby Kilkis » Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:38 pm

A quick comment on Voni's post. In some cases there is a zone around a village, outside the village boundary but close to it, where only a 2,000 sqm plot is needed to build. Close to villages, therefore, you do sometimes get two 100 sqm houses each on a 1,000 sqm plot that are also legally considered as one property. As with the case Voni described, it is possible now to split the plot so they are regarded as two completely separate properties but again in order to do so both properties have to be legalised and both have to clear all debts. If you are the one who wants to sell and the other person doesn't care you can finish up paying all the costs for both properties, which can be quite expensive.

Warwick

mouche
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Re: How long should it take to purchase a house?

Postby mouche » Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:41 pm

Kilkis wrote: If you are the one who wants to sell and the other person doesn't care you can finish up paying all the costs for both properties, which can be quite expensive.

Warwick


Any idea as to how much? Have heard 5.000 euro, maybe on this forum, which stopped me/us from going ahead with this possibility.

Kilkis
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Re: How long should it take to purchase a house?

Postby Kilkis » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:55 pm

The cost of legalising each property depends on what is wrong with it. Mine cost about €1,000 fine to the government to legalise and €1,000 fee to the civil engineers who did it but it had very little wrong. The declared size was about 9 sqm less than the actual size, one corner was 2.4 m from the boundary fence when it should be at least 2.5 m and I had put up a tiled pergola to act as a car port very close to the boundary. The last could have easily been removed but the 10 cm breach on the corner of the building could not be easily rectified and meant it could not be fully legalised so I went for the 30 year rule and left the car port in place. The engineers who did it said that mine was the lowest fine they had dealt with up to then but I have since heard of slightly smaller ones. Unless there is nothing wrong at all you could probably assume €1,500 would be a lower bound for legalisation. Mine is inside the village boundary therefore there was no issue of splitting plots so I am not sure what that costs but it is largely Notary's fees so it shouldn't be too expensive.

I know of people who were initially told it would cost about €50,000 just to legalise their property because there was so much wrong with it and another civil engineer told them that in his opinion it could never be legalised. In the end they found a buyer and got it legalised for a lot less than €50,000 but I am not sure of the exact amount, possibly around €20,000. That was built on an enormous plot, much bigger than 4,000 sqm, so no question of split plots.

I know of one split plot case where one half didn't want to sell so were not prepared to pay anything. The people who did want to sell had to pay for both properties to be legalised, i.e. fines and civil engineers fees for both, Notary's fees for both properties to be split, since each property needs a new contract, and to pay off all outstanding debts of the people who did not want to sell. That was under €50,000 but not a lot under I believe. That is the most expensive I have heard of so you could assume it will be less than that.

I know of several other cases that are in the few thousand Euro category.

Sorry but it is not possible to give a precise answer.

Warwick

mouche
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Re: How long should it take to purchase a house?

Postby mouche » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:24 pm

Maybe my question was unclear as I was thinking solely of the cost of splitting the properties into two seperate properties, nothing else. The fines for legalizing the property I know as far as my own property is concerned as I have paid them.


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