Once you have made an offer on a property, and this has been accepted by the owners, you will appoint a lawyer who will represent you in Cyprus and assist you with the legal, technical and financial matters in purchasing a property in Cyprus.
In the Cypriot system, there are 2 main categories of properties–
1. The properties that have their own individual deed, at the stage of the purchase –
2. The properties, that do not have their own individual deeds at the stage of the purchase, and the issue of the individual deeds is dependant on the completion of the project, and the subdivision by the Lands Office.
The properties that have their own deed can be easily transferred in the name of the purchasers, considering that the only requirement for the purchasers is a permit from the District Office, which is granted as a matter of formality. Such a permit is not required if the purchase concerns land bought by Europeans.
In general, the legal formalities to purchase immovable property are effected in 3 separate stages –
1. To buy the property, which is completed when the purchasers sign the contracts. At this stage, the purchasers pay the stamp duty and registration costs.
2. To take possession of the property. At this stage, the purchasers pay for the utilities to be connected. From this stage, the purchasers may establish all the rights in this country(residence/tax/driving duty-free and domicile)
3. To transfer the deeds of the property which will be completed when:
a. A permit from the Council of Ministers is secured for the purchasers to transfer the deeds in their names (such a permit is not required if the property is a plot of land or a field)
b. The Vendors complete through the Lands Office the Subdivision of the project. If the property has its own title deed, then the transfer takes place immediately after the permit is granted. In this stage, the purchaser pays the transfer taxes.
The legal security in the meantime, during the above stages, will be provided with the following:
a. The purchasers sign a valid contract of sale for an existing property from the owners, free of any legal and financial impediments.
b. A valid contract will be signed, stamped and registered with the Lands Office. This procedure stops the vendors from the possibility of reselling it or mortgaging it.
c. The purchasers will be entitled to secure possession of the property prior, and regardless of when the transfer takes place. Based on this, purchasers may further secure the proper status to live in Cyprus.
d. The purchasers’ interest from the moment they sign the contracts is protected by the inheritance laws. This means that if something happens to purchasers, before or after, completing the procedures, their interest will be transferred in the names of beneficiaries of their estate, either through a will or by law.