FAQ - Property
Q - Can we fly direct to North Cyprus?
A – All flights into Ercan, North Cyprus’ airport must touch-down or stop in Turkey before continuing to the TRNC. Normally you can fly into Larnaca on the South side and cross the border by taxi to the North side if you are an EU citizen. You can rent a vehicle before coming for collection and drive it over the border to the North side, provided you have confirmed with your hire company beforehand that this is acceptable, as they need to provide you with a car with whole island insurance. When you cross the border you will need to pay 25€ for 1 month’s 3rd party insurance of the vehicle.
Q – Should I use the inspection flight services offered by many Estate Agents?
A – There are advantages and disadvantages to this type of service. If you visit with an Estate Agent or Developer inspection flight package you will be shown a range of their properties, but it is unlikely you will be allowed time to consult with other agents who may be able to show you other property options. They may be keen to show you properties in a small range of locations which means you cannot get a real flavour of the island and the range of property buying options available. The advantage of using this type of service is that they know the island very well and you will be able to visit several properties per day.
If you choose to visit independently you can view properties with several Estate Agents which will give you a better view of the market options available. Before coming do a little research and use our guides to consider what type of location you wish to live in and what requirements your property must provide. Approach several Estate Agents before coming and specify your requirements and request they put together a programme of properties for you to visit taking into account your requirements.
Finally, give yourself time to relax and reflect after viewing properties. Deciding to buy a house should be a positive experience and you should not make it too stressful. Remember if you don’t find a dream property on your first visit you can always come again.
Q - What are the approximate costs to rent a 2/3 bedroom furnished property?
A - Most tenancies are minimum 6 months and prices for a 2 bedroom apartment start from £300 per month. Villas with pools usually rent from around £500 per month. In addition you pay for electricity, water, gas and telephone.
Q - I don't really know the areas very well, how will I know that I am choosing an area/location that I want?
A – Visit for a few days and drive around the island. This will give you a sense of where things are in relation to each other and how far away towns and villages are. If you stop walk around and take in the environment you will get a feel for a place and whether it seems a suitable area to live. Ask friends and family who know the island they can often give you a ideas about different areas on the island.
Many people ask this on the North Cyprus forums on Facebook, we wouldn’t recommend this as an approach better to consult people you know and trust or even better spend some time on the island and get to know the different areas yourself.
Many people move here, rent for a few months before purchasing a property. This is a sensible option as it gives you a chance to learn more about
Northern Cyprus and allows you to undertake your property search over several weeks/months.
Q – I’ve heard different things about the type of land and title deeds - I would like to understand this more – how do I find out?
See our section about types of land and title deeds in our ''Buying a Property'' section.
Note: the laws for building development and processes for sale of properties have changed significantly in the last few years and now protect the purchaser more. Make sure advice you receive from friends and family relates to recent property purchase experiences the poor experiences of 10 years ago are not reflective of the current purchasing process.
Q - What documents are required when purchasing property?
A – You only require your passport.
Q - Can I pay for the property from home?
A – There are several methods by which you can transfer funds to pay for your property from your home country. The most common practise is to transfer funds to your solicitor who will arrange for payment to the developer/vendor at the appropriate time.
Q - Can I get a mortgage in the TRNC?
A – Yes, several banks offer mortgage for foreigners who wish to relocate to the TRNC. Normally you will need to own approx. 50% of the property to take advantage of this type of mortgage and be able to meet the monthly income requirements. Mortgages are usually on 5 or 10 year term.
Alternatively many developers offer easy payment terms on their properties, these often include a period of interest free payment of 1-3 years followed by repayment of the outstanding balance at a fixed interest rate. Interest rates are generally between 5-10%.
Q - When I have found the property that I want, what happens next?
A – Once you have chosen a property you wish to purchase it is standard practise to pay a small non-refundable deposit (£1000-£2000) to secure the property. The vendor should then remove the property from sale. Immediately following this, or just before you pay this deposit you should contact a solicitor to use for the conveyancing process. Your solicitor will advise on the necessary steps required for the sale to progress to completion. See our guide on buying a property.
Q – When do I pay for the property and what are the installments?
A – If you are purchasing a pre-owned/resale property, after the payment of the initial deposit you will not need to pay anything further until the contract has been drawn up, agreed and signed. At this stage you pay for the property and take possession.
If you are purchasing a new build off plan/part build then it is common to agree a contract with staged payments, which are paid at agreed points during the progress of the build. Many developers now request that 25-30% of the property price is paid at the point of contract signature and the balance paid when you take possession of the property. If you are purchasing with a developer loan, then an agreed payment schedule will be agreed and included within the contract.
Q – I want to buy an ‘off plan’ property. When do I pay for the property and what are the installments?
A - You will pay a £1000/£1,500 holding/reservation fee which is usually non-returnable. A contract will then be drawn up detailing the agreed staged payments, which are usually 10% on signing contracts followed by stage payments as the build progresses or if a resale property is being purchased, the balance is normally paid on possession of the property.
Q - What taxes are payable on the purchase and when are these payable?
Taxes, apart from Stamp Duty which is payable within 21 days of the date of the Contract, are usually payable at the end of the transaction after your Permission to Purchase has been granted and the title deeds are being transferred into your name. However, some vendors require VAT to be paid on the sale price at the date of delivery of possession of the property.
The taxes are – Stamp Duty – 0.5%; Land Registry Transfer Fee – 3% (one-off option); VAT – 5% see our summary table.
Q - Whilst the property is being built I will mostly be abroad. How will I monitor progress and will there be a need for me to come out and view progress regularly, and if so how frequently?
A – Your Estate Agent or Developer’s Agent will keep you updated on the progress of the property. If you have friends on the island you may want to ask them to periodically check the development is progressing as scheduled. It’s usually easy to see whether a development is being actively progressed. This is particularly important if you have agreed a staged payment plan. We would recommend if you are concerned about progress you visit to ensure there are no issues. If you do identify issues your Estate Agent or Solicitor should assist you to rectify them.
Many new builds offer customers a choice of interior fittings such as tiles, wardrobes, kitchen finishes etc you may wish to visit during the build to decide on these options, rather than make selections when you first decide to purchase.
Q - Is it best to ship my goods over or purchase locally?
A – This decision generally depends on the purpose of your purchase, if you are planning to relocate here and live here permanently you may prefer to bring your personal possessions from your home country. If you are purchasing a holiday home or for investment to rent out the property it will probably be sensible and more economical to purchase locally.
Shipping costs are generally calculated my cubic meter – there are several shipping agencies in North Cyprus who are experienced in shipping goods as part of a relocation move.
Q – Is it easy to purchase furniture for my new property in the TRNC.
A – Yes, there are plenty of local furniture shops, both here and on the Greek side, including IKEA. Property developers and Estate Agents often arrange furniture packages for their clients to purchase from specific local stores and can assist you to agree prices etc., although you may want to investigate the range of furniture styles and prices available on the island, before deciding to use one of these packages.
Q – Should I import my car?
A - This is very much personal preference. You have a one-time opportunity to import your car without paying full import duty. The car must be less than 5 years old or have been owned by yourself or an immediate family member for at least 2 years. For more information see our Buying, Selling & Importing Vehicles section. Cars are generally more expensive in the TRNC than in the UK and retain their value for longer.
Q - Once the property is completed how do I ensure that I am satisfied with the property before making the final payment?
A – Estate Agents are usually happy to send photographs of your completed property for you to review. However, we would recommend you visit the property at this stage and check whether you are satisfied. As is normal with new properties there is usually a number of items which may need to be resolved before you are fully satisfied with the property and it is useful to be available to ensure they are remedied to your satisfaction.
Q - What about utilities? When does the electric, water etc get connected? Are the costs of these included in the purchase price? If not how much will these be?
A – The cost for connection of utilities varies depending on whether you are purchasing a pre-owned property or purchasing a new property. Transfer and/or connection fees are generally payable when you take possession of your property. See table in our Buying a Property for more information.
Q - Once the utilities are connected when do I start paying and how much is it?
A - After a month, the first bills will be issued. Electricity bills can sent to you by email / mobile phone SMS message if you register your phone and email address. Other services should deliver their bills to your property. For more information see our Ongoing Costs table in our Buying a Property section
Q - Can we pay our bills by direct debit/standing order?
A – Yes, if you have a Bank Account in the TRNC you can pay your electricity, satellite TV and phone by standing order. For water some districts have a meter system where you pay in advance at the local council. Online payment services for example car tax/vehicle inspection service; fines for speeding or parking offences are becoming increasingly available.
Q - Do I have to make a new will in Cyprus?
A – We strongly recommend you make a separate Will to cover your property and assets in the TRNC. Although wills written in other Countries may be accepted it is still a requirement to prove probate in the TRNC in addition to your own country and generally a will signed and lodged with the Registrar from the District Court in the TRNC will make the process much simpler for your loved ones to deal with your estate after your death. For more information see our Wills & Testament section.
Q - Am I required to take out medical insurance?
A – If you stay on the island for at least 6 months a year, you will need to purchase either Private Emergency Cover or State Health Insurance as part of the Residency process. If you spend less time per year on the island travel insurance from your home country will generally be suitable.
Q - Are there tax implications if I decided to sell up and return to UK/Europe etc?
A – The first time you sell a property in the TRNC it is tax free so there are no taxes to pay and no restrictions on repatriation of funds.
Q - How long are we allowed to stay on the island legally?
A - You will be issued with a 30 days tourist visa when you arrive, although this can be increased up to 90 days if you can show proof of accommodation (hotel booking etc.). If you want to live or spend more than 6 months a year on the island then you must apply for a temporary residents permit.
Q - Who looks after my property whilst I am away?
A – There are many management companies that can provide maintenance care while you away. If you purchase a property on a housing development/complex, the developer is obliged to make suitable arrange for the site for 2 years after the development has been completed.
Q -I am not a citizen of the TRNC, but I want to purchase 2 properties in the TRNC? How can I do this?
A - You can sign the Contract of Sale for two properties in your own name, however you can only apply for purchase permission for and take title for one property. Therefore, you will need to find a nominee (this person should be a friend or relative or someone you know and trust) to take title to the property and hold the property on trust for you or you will need to set up a TRNC company.
Q- Can my spouse and I purchase one property each?
A - Currently the law permits for husband and wife to own one property each.
Q -How long will the permission to purchase process take and what does it involve?
A - This is a lengthy process taking up to 1 year. The process involves searches being taken from the Land Registry, the Immigration and the Military. Please note in order to apply you will need to provide a Criminal Record Bureau Disclosure Report (DBS/CRB Report) from the country which your passport was issued from.
Q - Do I need to wait for my purchase permission before I can move into my property?
A - No. Once the Contract of Sale has been signed or your property is complete and you can take possession of your property. Once the contracts are exchanged between the parties and registered at the Land Registry you will then acquire beneficial interest and contractual rights of the property. Registering the property at the Land Registry is compulsory and must take place within 21 days of contract signature this ensures you are protected from the property being sold or transferred to a third party and from any subsequent liens being placed on the property.
Q - Can I sell my property before I obtain my purchase permission?
A - This depends on the terms of your contract of sale. Solicitors will generally try to insert a clause into your contract to allow you to sell the property before taking title. The solicitor would then prepare an assignment of contract to be signed between you, the vendor and the new purchasers assigning all of your rights and obligations to the new purchasers.
Sources: H&A HASİPOĞLU & AKBİLEN PARTNERS PARTNERS – Guide to Buying a Property in the TRNC; Ayhan Erciyas & Associates Ltd – The Guide to Buying Property in the TRNC; www.kibrisdevelopments.com;