What are the Rules for Buying Property in Turkey as a Foreigner?

Buying Property in Turkey - Turkish Flag

When you’re looking at buying property overseas, there’s a lot you need to bear in mind. The rules and regulations for buying property are different in each country, and it can be tricky to get your hands on accurate information. If you’re looking at buying property in Turkey, you’ll need to know what you’re getting yourself in for.

While Spain, France and Portugal are all under the larger umbrella of the EU, Turkey is not. That means you might find yourself looking at a whole different ball game than the one you’re used to. Buying property in Turkey might be easier now than it was previously, but there are still some things you’ll need to know.

So, what should you expect when you’re buying property in Turkey as a foreigner?

Which area will you be buying property in Turkey?

Turkey is a beautiful country along the Mediterranean, the Aegean, and the Black Sea, with a history that stretches back to the Ancient Greeks and beyond. The cosmopolitan centre of Istanbul was once known as Constantinople and is home to some of the most famous architecture in the world. The old heart of the Byzantine Empire is still one of the most visited tourist destinations in Turkey.

If you’re looking at buying property in Turkey, Istanbul might be first on your list of places to check out. Elsewhere though, you’ll find popular holiday destinations dotted along the Mediterranean coast including Bodrum and Kusadasi. Bodrum is the town of choice for Turkish second homeowners, and it has its’ own international airport, making travel to this area of Turkey far easier than you might be expecting.

With the ancient ruins of Ephesus at Kusadasi, this little fishing town in the Aegean Sea is a great choice for any amateur historians or history boffins out there. Elsewhere along the Mediterranean coast, there are countless little ports and towns that you might want to settle in. Keep an open mind during your property hunt, and you might find yourself buying property somewhere you never expected.

Make sure you’ve got all your documentation

When you’re buying property in Turkey, as a foreigner, you will need your passport and potentially your residence card. You will need to find out before making an offer on the property whether the seller requires you to have your residence permit or not, to avoid the sale falling through later when you learn you don’t have all the correct documentation.

You’ll need to get all documentation translated, and although property developers often have a translated version of the documentation available, this task will fall to you if you’re buying a resale property. If you’re buying property in Turkey and you’re looking for a property on the resale market, you’ll need to look at the Tapu (the property ownership document) and make sure that the person who is selling you the property is the person named on the document.

Getting a bilingual lawyer who can help you with these proceedings will help you enormously, and ensure the property purchasing process goes smoothly. Before buying, you will also need to get an independent valuation done on the property; your lawyer or estate agent should be able to help you with this.

Buying Property in Turkey - Istanbul

Deposits are NOT a fixed amount

The deposit you pay will not be a fixed amount on every property, as per the rules and regulations in the UK and EU. The deposit on an apartment or house, when you’re buying property in Turkey, can vary between 10 and 30%. Sometimes the deposit you’re asked to pay is as little as $1000 and serves as a symbolic gesture.

As the deposit is not a standard 20%, you’ll need to know how much is expected before making an offer. If you intend to buy with a mortgage, you might also want to talk to your bank; a very low deposit might affect how much you can get for your money. As with buying elsewhere, it’s important to make sure you have all the facts before you commit to buying a property, and that includes how much you’re expected to pay for the deposit.

Insurance, Tax and Iskan

When you’re buying property in Turkey, some things will need dealing with before you exchange. The first of these is buying your earthquake insurance, known as DASK and compulsory in Turkey; this is necessary for your Tapu to be issued.

You will also need to get a tax number from the local office, which you’ll need to open a local bank account. Even if you purchase the property directly, using your usual bank or transfer service, it can come in very handy to have a local bank account that you can use to buy bits and pieces locally. It’s only at this point that you will send all the documentation off to get the new Tapu issued in your name.

If you’re overseas while buying property in Turkey, you might want to give power of attorney to your lawyer so they can sign everything for you.

Before the final purchase, you’ll also sort out the Iskan. This is the document that certifies that the building has been completed and has been fully approved for residential use. You will not be able to get your utilities connected without this document. All that’s left at this point is to pay the purchase cost, the 3% tax, and all additional fees.

If you’re interested in buying property in Turkey, we hope this has covered all the things you need to know as a foreign buyer. Take a look at our catalogue of properties in Turkey, here!