Buying Property in Turkey
Historically, it was very difficult for a foreign national to buy property in Turkey. Indeed, overall it was nearly impossible for a foreign national
to directly own a freehold (or complete and transferable) interest in
real estate in Turkey. The laws restricting foreign ownership of real estate
in Turkey had been longstanding.
In 2003, the Turkish government significantly liberalized the laws governing the
ownership of property by foreign nationals in that country. Specifically, the
Turkish government enacted what is known as a reciprocity law when it comes to the
ownership of real estate by foreign nationals.
The new law essentially
provides that if a Turkish citizen can purchase and invest in property in the
country from which the foreign national comes from, that same foreign national can
then, in turn, purchase and own property in Turkey. Thus, citizens from many
countries -- from the United States to the United Kingdom and many other nations
in between -- can now purchase and own real estate in Turkey.
The Turkish government moved to change its extremely restrictive real estate laws
in order to bring it more in line with the statutes and regulations governing property ownership that are in place in the other nations that make up the European
Even with the easing of restrictions pertaining to the ownership of property
by foreign nationals in Turkey, there are areas within Turkey in which foreign nationals
are prohibited from purchasing and owning real estate all together. For example,
foreign nationals cannot make the purchase of or otherwise own real estate that
is in the vicinity of military bases and other similar sensitive locations. It is
important for a foreign national to pay close attention to these prohibitions so
that he or she does not become involved in a real estate sales transaction that
might need to be scuttled in the long run due to the location of the subject property
When it comes to purchasing investment
property in Turkey, it is vital that a very thorough title search be undertaken
to make absolutely certain that the property is free and clear from an absolute
and complete transfer to a purchaser. Turkish property is notorious for being encumbered
by liens and other blemishes to titles. Therefore, it absolutely is imperative that
a foreign national who is seeking to purchase and own real estate in Turkey obtain
the services of a capable lawyer or solicitor who can work to ensure that the property
is not encumbered.
The first step in the real estate purchase process for a foreign national (or anyone
else in Turkey) is an oral offer on a piece of real estate. If the offer is accepted
by the seller, a preliminary contract is drafted and executed between the buyer
and seller. At this juncture, the buyer is obliged to place a deposit on the property.
Generally, the deposit amount that is placed is between 4% and 10%. The deposit
is non-refundable if the seller backs out of the deal without cause. (Cause for
withdrawal includes a failure by the seller to provide clear title to the property
or the seller abandoning the deal.)
The final contract for sale of real estate in Turkey actually is executed at the
Land Registry Office. A new title or deed is then applied for directly at the Land
Registry Office. The new title and deed usually will be issued to the purchaser
of the real estate within about three months.
One final factor that a real estate purchaser needs to keep in mind when buying
property in Turkey. Unlike virtually anywhere else in the world, earthquake insurance
is compulsory in nearly all locations of the country. Therefore, a purchaser of
real estate in that country will want to make sure that this expense is factored
into the overall costs of buying real estate in Turkey. Generally, the costs of
such insurance is not prohibitive when it comes to buying real estate in Turkey.