So, you’ve decided to purchase property in Cyprus, and why wouldn’t you?
Excellent weather, low crime rates, tax benefits, affordable living costs, superbly located - the list of reasons to invest in Cyprus are seemingly endless.
It’s easy to have your heart firmly invested when you find that perfect home, but when it comes to your head, the process is rather daunting because it's fraught with unknowns.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
When you evaluate all the pitfalls that can impact a new investor, they are integrally linked to three key components: your real estate agent (or developer), your lawyer and finally the seller.
These three, play a huge role in converting your dreams into reality, and while you may be happy to let go of your third bathroom desires, compromising your stance with these stakeholders should be your one non-negotiable.
Real estate agency – Working with a top agent who is experienced and trustworthy can go a long way to ensure that you get the best house and price in the market. Remember, a skilled agent is the one with a lengthy track record and a quality inventory. Examine the agent’s work by reviewing their marketing tactics - their listings, website, brochures and signage. Check if they mitigate risk: Do they provide real data answers when it comes to investment analysis and neighbourhood market performance? Evaluate their presentation: Are they showing you houses to benefit them, or are they focussed on what you want?
Scour the web and ask questions upfront - never feel obligated and move on if your needs aren’t being met.
Your lawyer - Issues that new homeowners encounter usually have nothing to do with the law of Cyprus. As a member State of the European Union, transactions in the country are subject to EU law in both domestic and constitutional matters. The Cypriot legal process is straightforward and the level of transparency that currently underpins real estate investment in Cyprus has never been better. The number one issue experienced by most buyers, however, came about by appointing a lawyer with a conflict of interests, working for both the vendor and builder/seller. A well-known lawyer, with a solid track record who is independent to your sale, is the way to go.
Don’t be shy to ask for referrals from former buyers before making a final choice.
The seller - While you may not have control over the person who is selling their home, you certainly can glean useful information from them. Ironically, the seller can provide advice that is equal to the importance of your agent and lawyer.
Devise a list of questions that will give you deeper insight into your investment. For example, knowing why the house is up for sale, and for how long, could be a strong indicator that it was priced too high to begin with.
Take out your note pad and jot down what is included in the sale. Pay close attention to lighting fixtures, sheds, wall mounted sound systems, window treatments and other things you don’t want to find missing when you move into the home.
Enquire about the age and condition of the house and ask if they made any major repairs or renovations. They should produce a building permit for work undertaken. Sketchy plumbing and mediocre construction can end up costing you financially, so be prudent. Lastly, don’t forget to ask about the heating, cooling, septic and electrical systems.
When your checklist is complete and your mind is at ease, you can return to thinking with your heart.
Ask them what they loved most about their home and the neighbourhood community. That perfect reading spot in the living room that gets all the afternoon sun, the flowers that bloom every spring and the kindly neighbour who shares the lemons from their garden tree.
Now that you’ve done proper due diligence – you can envision life in your new home, stress free.