Ask a lawyer: Buying a house or real estate in Turkey

With its varied climate, beautiful nature and rich history, Turkey is a popular destination for foreigners looking to buy a home outside of their home country.

According to official figures for the second half of 2020, home sales to foreigners increased by 4% compared to the same period of 2019. During the pandemic, home sales in Turkey decreased slightly; however, the latest figures show that activity in the real estate sector has gradually recovered.

In June 2021, sales to foreign buyers marked the best January-June period on record, surpassing the 20,000 threshold for the first time. Sales for the period saw an increase of almost 44% year-on-year. the other.

Turkey could be one of the best countries to buy a house. However, there are some details that you need to take into account to make sure you are doing everything right.

Istanbul lawyer Elvan Kakıcı Şimşek explained that foreigners who want to buy real estate in Turkey should pay attention to their legal rights to avoid becoming victims.

“There are certain issues that foreigners who wish to acquire real estate should pay attention to in order to avoid the problems that might arise because foreigners are unfamiliar with the laws and practices in Turkey,” she said.

General view of apartment buildings in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo Shutterstock)

What you should know

  • In Turkey, purchases and sales of real estate are carried out at the land registry office, called “Tapu Dairesi” in Turkish. Purchase and sale transactions not made at the Land Registry Office are legally invalid.

“We recommend that foreigners who buy real estate pay the sale price to the land registry office by signing the ‘tapu’, which is a title deed. If they are to have these transactions carried out by a representative, and not in person, it would be appropriate for them to do so through a lawyer, ”said imşek.

To buy real estate, a fee of 4% will be paid in total, 2% for the buyer and 2% for the seller. These rates are calculated on the selling price of the property.

  • If title to the property to be purchased cannot be obtained immediately or if the property in question is still under construction, Şimşek recommends signing a promise to enter into a contract of purchase and sale and have it notarized with a notary.

The contract of promise of sale of real estate notarized at the notary’s office will give the buyer the right to go to court and transfer the property to his name if the land title is not provided in the future. Once the real estate promise of sale contract has been signed by the notary, it must be filed with the land registry office and noted on the title deed. The real estate promise contract must be drawn up at the notary’s office, and in this case, a fee of 0.54% is deducted by the notary from the sale price.

  • If the title deed of the real estate to be purchased cannot be obtained immediately or if a contract of promise to sell real estate cannot be signed at the notary, a written contract must be made between the buyer and the seller, added Şimşek .

However, with this contract, you only have the right to request reimbursement for the money you have paid, she noted.

The seaside town of Alanya with several residential buildings overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.  (Photo Shutterstock)

The seaside town of Alanya with several residential buildings overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. (Photo Shutterstock)

  • Make sure you do your research before making a decision.

“Before making any payment, we recommend that you examine the title to the property to be purchased and determine whether there are any liens, mortgages or limited rights in rem. Apart from that, we recommend that you research the current zoning status of real estate, whether in military or security zones, ”Şimşek said.

In order to avoid the problems that may arise due to the ignorance of Turkish law and practice by foreigners, Şimşek strongly recommends that foreigners use lawyers specializing in real estate to carry out their transactions.

“You shouldn’t be working with people and companies that are not known to be reliable. In the event of a dispute between the parties regarding the real estate deed, the situation should be brought before the judicial authorities and legal action should be taken in Turkish courts, ”she said.

Can you get citizenship after buying a house?

Well, yes, but there are certain conditions.

According to Turkey’s Immigration Program, you can get citizenship by purchasing a property worth at least $ 250,000 (TL 2.08 million). You are allowed to sell the property after three years, and it will not affect your citizenship.


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