In 2003 Turkey opened up its property market to foreigners on a reciprocal basis; meaning that if Turkish nationals can buy property in your country of residence then you can (reciprocate) buy property in Turkey. This allowed buyers from most EU countries (except Cyprus, Belgium, Slovakia and the Czech Republic), as well as those from Canada, the US and several countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa, to buy property in Turkey. At first there were special zones foreigners could buy in, but these were dropped and from 2005 foreigners could buy pretty much anywhere with the following caveats:
- Foreigners must obtain special permission for purchases over 30 hectares
- Article 87 of the villages act prevents foreigners from buying in municipal zones with populations of less than 2000
- The Military Prohibited and Security Areas Act prevents foreigners from buying in designated zones classed as military zones or zones vital to national security.
The Buying Process
Step One: Reserve
The first step in buying a Turkish property (after choosing the right property) is to reserve the property. You do this by signing a reservation agreement and paying an agreed deposit. It is a good idea at this point to open a Turkish bank account for the transference of funds.
Step Two: Obtain Military Approval:
All Turkish property purchases by foreign nationals must be vetted and approved by the military. To obtain permission for the sale you (the buyer) and the seller fill in, sign and send an application form to the regional TAPU (TAPU is Turkish title deeds) office, along with a photocopy of your passport translated into Turkish, and passport details of the seller.
This is then forwarded to the Military Head office in Izmir. Provided that the property is not in one of the areas named above (a village or military zone) this is pretty much a formality, but it can take up to 6 or 8 weeks for approval to be received.
Step 3: Transferrance of Ownership
The next step is to register at the local tax office, before taking your translator along to sign the freehold ownership document at the local land registry. This piece of paperwork allows ownership to be transferred faster because of a law passed in 2007. The paperwork is then sent to the authorities who transfer ownership and issue a new TAPU (title deeds) to the land registry and notify all parties in the sale that the transfer is complete.
Step Four: Registration of New TAPU (Title Deed)
All parties then meet up at the land registry to witness the new deed being entered into the register. Again, you should have your translator with you, although this stage can be attended by your lawyer or parties acting on your behalf anyway.
The entire process from start to finish takes around 4 months on average. Most developers will allow buyers to take possession of their new property during the process provided approval has been granted and significant payment made.