Earlier this month, for our readers’ benefit we profiled the Turkish British Association (TBA), an independent organisation along the lines of the Citizens Advice Bureau that has established operations in Didim in Turkey. The organisation is an independent, free advisory service for Britons and other expatriates moving to live in Turkey or thinking about investing or buying property in Turkey.
Fortunately for us at Degtev, and for you our readers, the Turkish British Association has provided us with some exclusive and comprehensively critical advice and warnings for buyers of property in Turkey. The advice and warnings to heed have been offered by the agency as they see increasing numbers of Britons and other expats falling foul of less than ideal practices in the property industry in Turkey.
If you or anyone you know is thinking about buying property in Turkey we cannot blame you, the nation has so many positives in its favour. However, you need to tread carefully and sagaciously when you do venture abroad to purchase real estate, and in this, a guide to buying Turkish real estate safely, you will learn exactly the traps and pitfalls to be aware of. This is a ‘cut out and keep’ article for all those interested in Turkish property!
Our sincere thanks to Fulya Onder from the TBA for her professional advice and assistance with this guide.
Seek Professional Advice Before You Buy
Instead of taking the time to seek professional advice before buying, many would-be buyers simply don’t take the decision to purchase seriously enough. They would rather chat to people on the street or in bars about their buying experience, or gain advice from biased sales representatives rather than coming across as serious and sensible buyers and seeking professional advice before they buy.
Don’t follow this trend and pattern – no matter how much you spend on a property in Turkey, chances are it will be a significant chunk of your savings. Would you hand over a pot of money to a British estate agent without a second thought? No – so why not take the purchase of a home or investment property in Turkey as seriously as you would such a purchase in the UK? It’s your money, don’t gamble with it or risk it on the unprofessional and biased advice of others.
Don’t Use Your Agent or Developer’s Solicitor
Agents and developers will cleverly lead a buyer into using their own solicitor as it is far easier for the agent or developer. What’s more, it’s easier for the buyer to go along with such suggestions and advice because chances are they don’t know one solicitor from another. The absolute danger with taking this path is that the solicitor could be completely biased at worse, and will have a total conflict of interests at best. And at the end of the day, if you as an individual client has an issue with the agent or developer down the line, who is the solicitor more inclined to assist, the agent or developer who puts tonnes of well paying business his way, or lowly you? Think about it!
Don’t Overlook Land and Title Searches
You wouldn’t buy a British property without proper conveyancing having been done, so why would you buy a property abroad without land and title searches?
You have to instruct a solicitor to carry out these searches on your behalf, it is not par for the course that they will do so unless you specifically employ them to do so. Do not part with any cash until these searches come back clear. If necessary, sign a preliminary conditional holding contract that removes the property from the market for a fixed period during which time your searches are conducted. If all comes back clean with land and title checks, you are contracted to go through with the sale, if there are any issues, you can withdraw from the sale.
In other countries this is standard practice – insist on such treatment in Turkey.
Getting Your Title Deeds May Not be Easy
Being totally honest about it, it can be very tricky and time consuming to get title deeds issued in your name even long after the purchase process has gone through to conclusion in Turkey. Any number of niggly issues can arise that put a spanner in the works for many months, therefore you need professional assistance to smooth this path for you if you ever want to see your deeds!
Beware the Companies Which Hold Your Personal Details
When you buy a property in Turkey your agent and/or your developer will take copies of your passport, any power of attorney you leave with your solicitor and even copies of your bank account details. If you agree to them holding these details you have to be totally sure that they do so in a secure manner and that all copies are returned to you upon finalisation of the property transaction.
Be careful with your personal data and who you trust to hold copies of it. This is a serious matter but one that very few people think about.
Does Your Builder Have Insurance?
Many builders in Turkey do not have sufficient insurances in place to protect buyers in the event that the building company goes bankrupt before a property is complete and delivered. It is therefore imperative that a prospective buyer finds a solvent and reputable construction company before they agree to buy. This is where there Turkish British Association comes into its own, they can advise buyers on who is and is not safe. But even upon their recommendation, it is ultimately up to you to check out your builder before you part with any cash.
Investors Need Investment Advice!
If you’re not a professional property investor with many international properties in your portfolio, you should seek independent investment advice before you buy a given property in Turkey. Whilst you may have identified a perfect area and ideal property type that you believe will rent well and for profit, there may be other issues that you have overlooked – from tax obligations to the longer-term investment potential of a given property. Consider getting independent investment advice before you buy a property abroad.
Think About the After Sales Experience
Finally, think about the level of after sales assistance you will need when buying a property in Turkey when you live in the UK. Naturally you can’t be there watching the progress of your property’s development or even the sales process every day, but there are companies who will watch the progress of your property for you. Alternatively, some of the estate agents and developers have a good after sales service. Again, this is something the TBA can help with, they will advise you on which companies can deliver what they say they can.
The Turkish Business Association can be contacted in Didim on 811 0810 between 10am and 6pm local time, Monday to Friday.