Spouses selling a house

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GlennB
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Location: Arkadia, Peloponnese

Spouses selling a house

Postby GlennB » Tue Jun 02, 2020 6:18 pm

This is a question our lawyer could answer, if only we had a lawyer ;) We're struggling to get in touch with one locally at the moment ...

Where a house is jointly owned, is one spouse enough to attend the final 'ceremony' of contract signing, or must both attend? Could a missing owner give power-of-attorney to the other?

I ask because we're leaving Greece and, ideally, one of us will move ahead back to the UK to get things organised there while the other completes the sale.

Rather a technical question, I realise. Cheers.

margarita
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Location: Kalyves area

Re: Spouses selling a house

Postby margarita » Tue Jun 02, 2020 7:24 pm

When we sold a house here I had to go back to UK for family reasons. Before I left I signed a Power of Attorney for my husband to act on my behalf. The notary who drew up the PoA was a great pains to make sure i understood what I was signing and that I realised that my husband could run off with the money.

Come the day of signing contracts it turned out that the PoA had not been signed properly. However all the lawyers and the notary discussed the matter and agreed that it was what I wanted. No one thought to ask me.

My husband signed the contacts and the money changed hands all OK.

So, yes, you can do what you suggested- so long as you mange to find a lawyer!

Houmeri91
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Location: Perama

Re: Spouses selling a house

Postby Houmeri91 » Tue Jun 02, 2020 7:47 pm

I am no expert or lawyer but I would say if you do eventually find a lawyer neither of you actually has to be there for the actual day of completion if you give the lawyer power of attorney. When I purchased my house back in 2003\4 neither of us were in the country when the final deed was done as we had given our lawyer the POA to act on our behalf , they completed the deed we flew out a fortnight later to still find the 104 year old mother of the seller still in the property . Seems he had family over from Athens and thought it was a good idea to leave her there. He knew the day we were arriving as was due to take the keys to the agents office but didn't think we wouldn't be so early arriving when we caught a 2am flight ..... but that is another story !
On second thoughts the moral of the the story is perhaps one of you best be here to sign in person this is Greece after all and anything could happen ! lol

Kamisiana
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Re: Spouses selling a house

Postby Kamisiana » Tue Jun 02, 2020 8:07 pm

When we sold our house the end of last year we had our long term lawyer and we did give her power of attorney via the notary anything in joint names needed two to sign, as we had a delay with the money transfer after we left it was easy as the lawyer did everything from that end elec water phone bank transfer pay notary estate agent the lot that we would not have been able to to from this end so if you can find a trustworthy lawyer to give power of attorney to it is well worth it 100euros for both of us.

Kilkis
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Re: Spouses selling a house

Postby Kilkis » Tue Jun 02, 2020 9:22 pm

In the UK there are two ways of owning a house "jointly". "Joint tenants" means that you own the house "jointly and severally" which means that both of you or either of you are responsible so either party could sign the contract. Each is entitled to 50 % of the proceeds. That is how most couples own property in the UK. The other method is "tenants in common" where each of you own a percentage of the property individually. In that case both parties have to sign the contract and each is entitled to whatever their percentage is.

In Greece ownership is effectively the same as "tenants in common" so both parties have to sign. As has been pointed out by other posters either or both parties could delegate that responsibility to somebody else, usually a lawyer, through a Power of Attorney. The Power of Attorney can be highly specific or quite general. If you don't already have a lawyer that you know and trust I would recommend one of you staying to sign and the other giving that person Power of Attorney. If you do decide to hand over responsibility to a lawyer I would use a highly specific Power of Attorney. I know of people who have given a very general Power of Attorney to a lawyer and lived to regret it.

The Power of Attorney must be drawn up by a Notary and be signed in the presence of the Notary. You could get someone else to draw up the Power of Attorney but it must be issued by a Notary. For example I gave a very specific Power of Attorney to the developer who built my house to allow him to do things in my name, e.g apply for things like building permission, water connection, electricity connection etc. He drew it up because he knew everything he needed to do. I went through it with a Greek speaking colleague and checked that everything was in order. We then took it to a Notary who issued it officially.

It is possible to get a Power of Attorney when you are in the UK but it is more complicated so I would advise doing it here in Greece.

Warwick

ros21m
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Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:32 pm
Location: Kerasia.

Re: Spouses selling a house

Postby ros21m » Tue Jun 02, 2020 9:55 pm

When I bought my house, my lawyer had power of attorney, via a notary to sign all the papers on my behalf.

filippos
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Re: Spouses selling a house

Postby filippos » Tue Jun 02, 2020 10:52 pm

Kilkis wrote:It is possible to get a Power of Attorney when you are in the UK but it is more complicated so I would advise doing it here in Greece.
Warwick

Unless things have changed the spouse who is leaving first can grant P of A to the remaining partner. It's now 10 years since we had exactly that situation. The Power of Attorney had to be done with a Notary and we were introduced to one by our regular lawyer. We had everything in place, deposit paid etc., etc and were simply waiting for an final appointment to be made for completion. The P of A took about half an hour. As the secretary went off to type the document the notary (female) laughed and said to my wife, "You do realise that when you've signed your husband can take all the money and run?

Ours was done in a hurry. We weren't leaving Crete but my wife was anxious about the deteriorating health of her mother so, "just in case" we arranged the P of A. The very same evening my wife received a message that mother was on her way to hospital so next morning Mrs P was on the first flight UKwards. A month later she was still in UK when the meeting for completion was arranged. On the day I met our lawyer and we headed off to a notary's office but not the notary who had done the PoA.

Half way there my lawyer casually dropped a bombshell. "I had a call from the notary who did the PoA this morning. The details were all entered in the ledger but she forgot to get your wife's signature on the actual document." My reaction was something like, "So why the hell are we going to this meeting if I can't sign on her behalf without the authorising document?" Came the reply, "That's all fixed. I've spoken to the buyer's lawyer and we've both consulted with both notaries and agreed that everyone knows the situation and what everyone wants so we'll go ahead and Mrs. P can sign the paper when she comes home." So we did just that.

Eight months later Mrs. P came home and soon after that we contacted our lawyer. "When should Mrs. P go to sign the PoA?" "Oh, don't bother with that. Everything is as planned and nobody will ever know the document wasn't signed."

YoMo2
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Location: Milatos, Lasithi

Re: Spouses selling a house

Postby YoMo2 » Wed Jun 03, 2020 7:10 am

filippos wrote:....... "Oh, don't bother with that. Everything is as planned and nobody will ever know the document wasn't signed."


Don't you just love Greece? :D

Andrew

GlennB
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Location: Arkadia, Peloponnese

Re: Spouses selling a house

Postby GlennB » Wed Jun 03, 2020 8:17 am

Thanks for all the replies. We'll get things arranged just as soon as more than one person at a time is allowed in the notary's office and we can get things signed.

filippos
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Re: Spouses selling a house

Postby filippos » Fri Jun 05, 2020 9:00 pm

YoMo2 wrote:
filippos wrote:....... "Oh, don't bother with that. Everything is as planned and nobody will ever know the document wasn't signed."


Don't you just love Greece? :D
Andrew

Emphatically yes!

Kilkis
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Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 3:58 pm
Location: Near Chania

Re: Spouses selling a house

Postby Kilkis » Fri Jun 05, 2020 9:15 pm

I'm not really disagreeing with the sentiment but to add a touch of realism, the bending of rules is great when it works, as it did in your case Filippos, but it can be a nightmare when it all goes wrong, as it did in the case of several other people I know.

Warwick

GlennB
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Location: Arkadia, Peloponnese

Re: Spouses selling a house

Postby GlennB » Thu Jun 11, 2020 11:01 am

The buyers' lawyer is French but licenced to work in Greece. His office is in Athens. He's asking our lawyer to provide our last 6 years E1 tax returns. We can do this easily as we've been sticklers for such things and our accountant is well known to our lawyer, but is it normal?

Kamisiana
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Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 4:06 pm

Re: Spouses selling a house

Postby Kamisiana » Thu Jun 11, 2020 11:32 am

That sounds about right our lawyer works with her brother our accountant so it was all done for us under one roof when we sold, they do not want you escaping if you owe a few cents to the tax man (unless you happen to own the odd oil tanker)

Kilkis
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Location: Near Chania

Re: Spouses selling a house

Postby Kilkis » Thu Jun 11, 2020 12:39 pm

I don't know why the buyer's lawyer would want 6 years E1 tax returns? What does your lawyer say?

It is not the job of the buyer's lawyer to ensure that "you don't escape owing a few cents" that is the job of the Notary. The Notary will require certificates from a whole range of bodies to prove that all payments due to that body are up to date and you don't owe anything, before she issues the contract. This will include the tax office, ΔΕΗ, domestic water company, agricultural water company, municipality, civil engineer that the house is legal etc. It wouldn't be unreasonable for the buyer's lawyer to request copies of those certificates but I can't see what right he has to ask for E1s. For example the certificate you will need to get from the tax office will show that you don't owe any taxes, e.g. income tax, ENFIA, inheritance tax etc. An E1 only shows incomes that are liable for income tax. It is worth noting that these certificates all have a limited shelf life so it is important to get them close to when you are going to complete, otherwise you will need to get them again and I think some involve paying a fee for the certificate. Your lawyer should be able to tell you exactly what certificates that you require, when to get them and where to get each one from, but it is highly unlikely that he will get them for you.

Warwick

Kamisiana
Posts: 448
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 4:06 pm

Re: Spouses selling a house

Postby Kamisiana » Thu Jun 11, 2020 2:02 pm

We must have been extremely lucky or canny to have kept our lawyer/accountant set up for years, all we did for the sale of our house was give last electric/water and phone bill to them that's all.
Our lawyer even arranged the engineer to make the house legal we just paid the fee, lawyer even assisted with the permanent residents permit and the new ones hopefully, also dealt with Xania tax office in person on our behalf for a small fee.


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