Buying property in Cyprus is not difficult due to the abundance of supply, however, selling your own property may be more difficult since you will have to compete against the well-organised developers and agents. For this reason it may take to six months or more to sell a property depending on how marketable your property is.
Consequently, if resale of a property is what you are thinking of when buying, bear in mind the needs of the general market and not your own. The more marketable and of a wide financial appeal your property is, the less the time required to sell and the greater the possible gains.
When attempting to sell property you should try on-the-spot advertising first. Placing a ‘for sale’ sign on your land/house/flat is the best form of advertising. Some people, however, feel embarrassed to do this, whereas others do not want the hassle of people knocking on their door at all hours.
The appointment of estate agents is recommended, though avoid exlusivity. The commission payable is normally 3-4 per cent in Nicosia and 5 per cent in seaside towns, although there are agents, mainly in Paphos area, who charge 8 per cent (note that when dealing with foreign agents, this may reach over 10 per cent). For this reason agree on the agent’s commission beforehand. Do not accept the deal whereby the price is fixed by you and the agent gets the commission plus what he can get in excess of the fixed price. Greedy agents may overprice your property and, consequently, render it unmarketable.
We suggest that you appoint a qualified valuer who will ascertain the value of your property and its sales terms. Contact the Cyprus association of surveyors for a recommendation. You may find that you are undervaluing or overvaluing your property.
Appoint multiple (two or three) agents but look into them. Your bank manager and the association of surveyors may recommend reputable ones.
If the on-the-spot advertising or agents do not achieve a sale, try to advertise through the local press or online.
Bear in mind the payable taxation (if any), the exchange rate and the exportation of the sales amount and so on prior to commitment.
Once a buyer is found, the transfer of a property to the new owner is a straightforward procedure. You simply present yourself at the lands office counter with the buyer and you sign a sales form. Provided that there are no registered impediments and there is a clean title, the deal is concluded within the hour. Bear in mind that prior to the transfer you must have paid all outstanding property taxes on your holding and obtained a certificate of tax release from inland revenue. In addition make sure that municipal taxes, garbage, water and other services as well as any outstanding common expenses are covered prior to transfer.
Bear in mind that when you sell your property you are liable to capital gains tax, though with the various exceptions and tax relief schemes, this will be minimal if it is your main residence.
Do not take for granted that you will only pay capital gains. If you regularly buy and sell property you will find that you are liable for income tax.
In order to sell a property to a non EU member you need to have the council of ministers approval to transfer it.
We also suggest that you employ a reputable legal firm, preferably one which is not connected to a developer or with a property of their own for sale. Agree on the fee beforehand.
Be prepared to answer buyers’ questions regarding the title, town planning and building permit, certificate of final approval and so on.
Finally be certain and prepare yourselves mentally since, when it actually comes to it, some owners have second thoughts about parting with their property.
Antonis Loizou & Associates EPE – Real Estate Valuers, Estate Agents & Property Consultants, www.aloizou.com.cy, [email protected]