How To Buy Property In Turkey – Foreign Buyers’ Guide

Buying a property in Turkey - dos and don'ts and how to do it safely.

You don’t have to be a millionaire to enjoy a Mediterranean lifestyle – there are plenty of affordable houses and apartments in Turkey. Property in Turkey remains cheap – relatively speaking – for foreign buyers.

This guide will look at how to buy property in Turkey and avoid possible pitfalls.

Peculiarities of the Turkish property market

Pushing up the appeal of Turkish property even more is the fact that the nation is driving ahead with the promotion and extension of its tourism sector, making parts of the country very popular with property investors and speculators.

However, the Turkish property industry is often compared with the Spanish industry 20 – 25 years ago, when foreigners buying a property were left unprotected by laws and exposed to various scams. Those foreign buyers who triumphed and actually managed to secure a quality home for their hard-earned cash were the lucky few.

In this report, we’re going to get right to the heart of the matter and discuss how you can buy property in Turkey without being ripped off. 

Be careful when buying a property off-plan

Turkey’s off-plan property sales peaked in 2002 – 2007. Foreign buyers were convinced buying off-plan was the best way to make money.

They were often convinced that it was the last chance to buy in the location of choice and that by the time the property was completed, the price would have gone up already.

Quite a few of those early buyers did make money on their purchases. However, there were also many tragic stories where developers went bust. Others disappeared with all the deposits and payments that had been made to them and no actual properties to show for it.

Sometimes such ‘emperor’s new properties’ were sold off-plan to unsuspecting individuals who had no idea that their deposit, and even their stage payments if they’re unlucky, would disappear into the back pocket of a conman, leaving them with absolutely nothing but a gaping hole where both their savings and their dreams used to be.

People were left in situations where the developer had no finished projects under his belt, the lawyer was the developer’s cousin and was refusing to take calls or answer emails from the buyer, and everyone everywhere seemed to be asking them for more money before they would progress either their complaint or the build of the invisible property.

If buyers don’t quite know the lay of the land when it comes to the purchase process in Turkey, they are vulnerable. So, if you do want to buy off-plan, make sure you understand your risk.

There are no specific financial guarantees to people buying off-plan property in Turkey, so you won’t have any protection if your builder goes bust.

Turkey citizenship by investment program

The options start from $400,000 for real estate investors.

After the investment is finalized, it takes 3 to 6 months to receive your citizenship. The major benefits include:

  • Rights to permanently reside and do business in Turkey
  • Enhanced business opportunities in the EEC area (European Economic Community)
  • Pathway to the UK’s Turkish Businessperson Visa
  • Pathway to the US E2 Investment Visa
  • Visa-free entry to over 110 countries

If you have questions or need more information about your citizenship by investment options, contact us via our page on Residency and Citizenship. We will be happy to help. 

Start with locations

If you want to look seriously at a property purchase in Turkey, here’s how you should approach the market and the sale to avoid being scammed.

Yes, property in Turkey can make an exceptionally good investment purchase; however, not all property in Turkey is of good value, and this is where you need to start. 

You have to work out which locations are worth investing in, which developers are worth trusting, and which specific property is worth your hard-earned cash. 

Despite what all agents and developers will tell you, the market is not so buoyant in Turkey at the moment that you have to make quick decisions and act in haste.  The tourism economy contracted over the last year because of the global recession – and this has had a direct impact on the real estate market. 

Yes, things will very likely rebound in Turkey as it has all the elements in its favor, such as stunning scenery, a fantastic climate, investment into infrastructure, a growing economy, increased accessibility, and an overwhelming desire to progress – but you’re buying in today’s market, and today’s market is subdued.

This is a point in your favor, it means you can take the time you need to do the research, and it means you’re in a strong negotiating position.  Approach your purchase from a business-like frame of mind, however, so that you remain firm in the face of pressure from developers and agents.

Working out where to buy will be a personal choice.  Your choice may be dictated and directed by whether you’re buying a holiday home for yourself abroad, an investment property to rent to the tourism market or a home for you to move to live in Turkey. 

Think about accessibility to an airport, major road links, amenities, facilities, attractions, and essential services. Make sure your location choice ticks all the boxes you identify as important based on the reason you’re buying the property. 

For example, if the property is to be let to tourists, it needs to be within reach of an international airport, it needs to be close to amenities such as swimming pools and restaurants, it needs to be near the sea or places of interest.

Or, if you are after a long-term let, look at the most popular places to live in Turkey for expats.

Decide what property type you want to invest in

Next, you need to think about the property type – apartments are popular choices for those looking for a lock-up and leave holiday home, as well as for those seeking an investment property that they can rent out easily. 

Villas with pools are attractive for people thinking of moving to live in Turkey, and then village properties and more traditional homes make good long-term projects for those who want to perhaps renovate, add value and resell.

Having selected the location and the property type, it’s time to begin your hunt.  There is no need to buy off-plan in this day and age if you don’t feel secure in doing so. 

There are many developments that are completed and that have empty, brand-new units for sale – what’s more. There are plenty of resale properties on the market.  For anyone who wants to be sure their money is going into bricks and mortar, a completed property makes a lot of sense.

Alternatively, you may be won over by the thought of having some influence on the final finish of property and still decide to buy off-plan.  Whichever property type you decide upon, you absolutely have to have fantastic legal backing before you progress any further – and this is where things can get exceptionally tricky. 

Working with property agents and lawyers

In Turkey, you’re likely to be introduced to a lawyer by your agent, developer, or vendor – but you need a reputable, independent lawyer who is a property specialist who knows the area you’re buying in and who will look after your interests. 

You need to investigate their qualifications, you need to ask for testimonials, you need to know from the lawyer why you should trust them to help you, and then finally – when you have chosen your lawyer, you need to know in advance what they are going to do for you.

They have to check your right to purchase and be given the title deeds to the property you’re interested in. 

So, the property must not be built on disputed land. It must not be close to military land. It cannot be held in the names of multiple people if there is seemingly only one vendor.

There must be no outstanding mortgages on the property – or if there are, you have to have a watertight contract that sees the money you pay the vendor going to pay off the debt on the property so that you do not inherit it. 

The lawyer must ensure you’re buying what you think you’re buying. They need to look into the background of the developer if you’re buying off-plan and advise you about their reputation ideally.  Will the developer be in business in a year – what can your lawyer tell you?

Paperwork and bureaucracy

It’s faster for locals to buy a property in Turkey in terms of the paperwork involved. They can obtain the Title Deeds within a few days.

As a foreigner, you will have to go through the process of obtaining permission from the Military first. Foreign citizens are not allowed to purchase property too close to military bases.

The applications are processed at a local level, however, the wait time can take up to 4 weeks.

Buying a property in Turkey – summary

It’s important to research the market and what’s available first. Know the area, and get recommendations from fellow expats.

A reputable estate agent is a must. Don’t buy a property from a friendly local whom you have met in a shop or a cafe. To protect yourself, you have to have the very best legal representation if you want to buy a property in Turkey safely.

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  1. Hi there Ola,

    Thank you for the article it really helps people like ourselves who are looking to retire in Turkey god wiling.

    Myself and my husband are looking currently at Bordum and Marmaris to buy property in and of course to settle down/Retire in eventually.

    We would like to have someone who is trust worthy and honest who can help us find the right property and get around the paper work, visas etc in order to do so.

    Let me know if this is the sort of work you’ll handle for expats like ourselves looking to call Turkey our home…

    Cheers Margaret

  2. Could you kindly provide some advice on if a single female can buy in turkey or if we purchase as an unmarried couple.

    Many Thanks,


    • Hi Hayley, Turkey is relatively safe for single females, especially in popular expert locations. There’s no requirement to be married to buy a property or live together. Do your research well when looking for your ideal location, get to know local expats and chat with them before buying anything.

  3. Hello Ola,

    Thanks for the informative site. My wife and I plan to visit Turkye this winter and take a triip along the Aegean coast. Will be looking for possible places for relocation and retirement.

    So far have focused on : Kusadasi; Marmaris; Didim. Your opinion on these, please? Any ideas on how to approach agents and solicitors when it comes to purchasing? Maybe seek names and advice on expat blogs?

    • Hi Peter, you have chosen a beautiful place for retirement. We have a detailed guide on the Turquise coast that might be helpful:
      Out of the 3 locations you are considering Kusadasi is the least “discovered” by expats:
      Didim or Altinkum has been very popular with British expats, there are a lot of businesses catering for Brits which is convenient but might feel a bit devoid of charm and character. There’s a local market once a week and enough shops to provide you with all you need. What you won’t find here is a shopping mall. People go to Soke for this.

      Marmaris is very popular with tourists, gets crowded, and there’s a very lively nightlife during the tourist season, while during winter the whole town becomes somewhat quiet. It has all one could need for day-to-day life and the surroundings are beautiful, green and lush – there’s a reason for it, it rains quite a lot compared to other Turkey’s regions.

      I have just emailed you the contact details of a reliable estate agent operating in Didim and Kusadasi who can help you with your search and all the legalities.

  4. Hi,
    My wife and I are planning to visit Turkey in May to look for a possible relocation/semi retirement. I’m an architect who like to do consulting design work. We both love vibrant city life and culture. Besides Istanbul, any advise on other cities/regions and in Istanbul what areas to look for living among artists/designers?

  5. My wife and I are Canadians, we are looking to live in Turkey while working remotely for a Canadian company (thinking of applying for work visa or a residency permit). We would be renting most likely as we want a larger more comfortable apartment but still not looking to pay San Diego prices. What locales/cities would you recommend, Ola, if we also want to travel to Europe quite frequently. We are looking for a bit of everything, amenities, culture, expat communities, but of course sand, sea and swimming (SSS) trumps all. Thank you.

    • Hi Shawn,
      I’m Eren, shortly will be writing a guide for on the Turkish Riviera, one of the best and most popular destinations for expats in Turkey.
      For now, I’d recommend the residency permit, since you are working remote. The southern regions of turkey have a lot to offer in regards to culture, expat communities and especially price. Plenty to do in the summertime of course, but in winter there’s ski resorts and spa’s/getaways to keep you occupied, not forgetting the nature which can be enjoyed year-round! Check out Marmaris, Dalyan, Gocek, Fethiye, Antalya.

  6. Greeting from Alberta Canada I want to retired in Turkey place near airport away from large city with hood market health care and hood views and hood price of small house Any advise

    • Look at Turkey’s southern coast anywhere between Izmir and Antalya, there are a dozen destinations there that expat retirees chose as their retirement home. Both Izmir and Antalya have international airports,
      Both Izmir and Antalya provinces, as well as Muğla in between can be perfect for retirement. Didim, Bodrum, Marmaris, Fethiye areas are all great. Kemer is very close to Antalya (ie the airport) but quite tourist-heavy. You might also want to have a look at the Alanya area. It’s about 130 km to Antalya airport, has all the day-to-day amenities, great views and the property is very affordable there.

    • Yes, expats resident in Turkey can obtain loans from Turkish banks including mortgages. There are certain conditions that you need to meet. Most banks will require at least 12 months of residence and a Turkish citizen as a guarantor. Banks will also ask for proof of income. Another option for expats is to look for banks in their home country that provide overseas mortgages.

  7. Hi there im looking to buy in kalkan. My bank, HSBC, tells me there is no way to borrow / get mortgage for property in turkey without becoming resident here? Any advice welcome

  8. I would like to thank you for the information provided, as I am in the process of searching for property for investment (future retirement) along Istanbul, Bodrum or Antalya, I found the article very helpful. Thank you again

  9. Jonny Wopp,
    Sorry but what happened to your property? Was it a big villa? You lost money because the economy is in recession too.

  10. Unfortunately JW, your experience is quite common, but that is precisely BECAUSE you bought ‘wrong’, had you followeed a better approach you would not have become a victim of all the travesty you rightfully mention. How to buy ‘right’? That is the subject of the article above, and this article… link here :

    This article is ESSENTIAL reading for everyone considering a purchase in Turkey. It wouuld be a good idea if Expatra used this article to cmplement the one above.

    • To filiz ilmaz
      I have been trying to contact you. I have read your articles and it makes a lot of sense. I want to ask you a question with regard to buying property in turkey. Could you please tell me how to contact you. I have contactwd dozens of agents and it seems all in vain
      Cheers at gmail …

  11. The best way to buy a property in Turkey without being ripped off is to NOT buy one.

    Our advice having just managed to sell at a massive loss in Antalya region and having suffered 10 years of money grabbing by agents, lawyers, builders and the local govt agencies such as water and electricity is;


    just to really show how corrupt the system is the person who finally relieved us of this burden paid cash. Hilarious in a modern society.

    • Ripped off on the basic purchase and basars. What do you expect on more expensive assets like homes? The corruption and ripp off sport is throughout the entire society.
      Funniest ripp off I met was some additional tax at restaturant visit. I did not pay the extra tax (ripp off).

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