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GreeceOPINION; Selling Property In Greece To A Borrower

OPINION; Selling Property In Greece To A Borrower

Hellenic News of America
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By Christos ILIOPOULOS*

Selling your real estate property in Greece, while you live in another country, is not that difficult. At least, it is not much more difficult, than it is for a seller who lives in Greece. You certainly have the difficulty of finding the best buyer, at the price you wish to sell. You do have to sort out the problem of who is to show your property to prospective buyers, while you live abroad and who is to apply for and obtain the numerous certificates from various authorities the law requires the seller to have, in order to be allowed to sell. Also, you need to consider who will negotiate the terms of the sale, how you actually get your money and how this money is deposited to your bank account in Greece, or how it is wired to your bank account abroad.

When you live outside of Greece, having a bank account at a bank in Greece is significant and it could help you smooth out the process of receiving the proceeds of the sale. So, if you do have any bank account in Greece, even if you have not used it for ages, or if it does not have any balance, it may be wise to keep it and not to close it, because when you may want to sell or buy property in Greece, having that account will be very useful in future transactions.

When you sell your property in Greece, the buyer will pay you either with a certified bank check, or with a direct transfer to your Greek bank account. If the latter happens, you must have internet banking in order you or your lawyer who is signing the closing on your behalf, to be able to confirm and double check at the time of the closing in real time, at the notary’s office, that the funds have actually been deposited to your bank account by the buyer. If that is confirmed, your lawyer will sign the closing deed, the property will leave your ownership and become the ownership of the buyer and you will own the proceeds paid by the buyer to your bank. If the buyer pays with a bank check, the seller will hand over or underwrite the check and give it to your proxy, who will then deposit it to your bank account in Greece, using a power of attorney from you.

If you do not own a bank account in your name in Greece, the process of selling your property and receiving the funds becomes slightly more complicated. When the time comes to sign the closing deed, the buyer will have to wire the proceeds of the sale to your bank account abroad, at the country where you live. This cannot be done in seconds, like when the bank accounts of the buyer and of the seller are kept in the same country. In that case, the wire transfer from one country to the other can take a few days until the wire hits your account at the country where you live. The closing deed, however, cannot be signed before you receive the money, because in that case, you are not legally safe. On the other hand, the closing cannot be signed after you receive the money, either, because in that case, it is the buyer who is not legally safe. The usual legal formula to solve this problem is to sign the sale closing deed, while the seller has not yet received the money and to insert in the deed clauses and terms which essentially state that the deed will be quashed and cancelled, should the seller does not receive his/her money within 8 – 10 days average. When the seller receives the wire abroad, the seller gives instructions to his lawyer in Greece to sign another deed, called the release deed.

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When the buyer buys the property by getting a loan from a bank in Greece, the process requires essentially that the seller owns a bank account in Greece, in order the seller to be able to receive his/her money. This is because the bank which will lend the loan to the buyer, will issue a bank check only in the name of the seller, and not in the name of the buyer, which could be signed by the buyer and then given to the lawyer to be deposited to any bank account in Greece. If the buyer is buying with a loan, the bank’s check can only be deposited at the seller’s bank account in Greece, with a specific power of attorney by the seller to the lawyer in Greece, to have power to deposit the loan check to the seller’s bank account in Greece.

The conclusion is that if the seller does not have a bank account in Greece, the seller will have to essentially turn down all the offers from buyers who intend to finance their purchase with a bank loan. This means that the seller’s chances to sell the property are somehow reduced, because many buyers are buying using a bank loan in the type of a mortgage or similar financial schemes. In order to increase the chances to sell the property even to borrowers, the seller can open now a bank account in Greece. This requires the seller to send to the bank in Greece copies of his tax returns in the country of his residence, his telephone and electricity bills and a document proving his occupation or job in the country of his residence or that he is retired, plus a letter and proof from his bank abroad proving that he has a relation with a bank abroad. The Greek bank may also require physical presence in Greece of the seller, in order to give a signature specimen.

The sale transaction in Greece will be negotiated, prepared and signed with a power of attorney (POA), which the seller signs to a trusted person in Greece. That person (the proxy) will receive the deposit by the buyer, will identify, apply for and obtain the several documents required by law in order to sell and will eventually sign the closing deed, ensuring at the same time that the seller receives his/her money in a legally safe and timely manner.

*Christos ILIOPOULOS, attorney at the Supreme Court of Greece , LL.M.  www.greekadvocate.eu, e-mail: [email protected]

The copyrights for these articles are owned by the Hellenic News of America. They may not be redistributed without the permission of the owner. The opinions expressed by our authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hellenic News of America and its representatives.

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