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Selling a house is harder than buying one

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Buying a property in Cyprus is not difficult due to the abundance of supply; selling your own property is more difficult since you have to compete against well-organised developers and agents.

For this reason, the selling time may take up to six months or even longer (depending on how marketable your property is).

Consequently, if resale of the property is on the agenda when buying, bear in mind the general market needs and not your own.

The more marketable and wider your property’s financial appeal is, the lesser the time required to sell and the greater the possible gains.

  • In selling your property, you must 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 with people knocking on their door at all hours].
  • The appointment of estate agents (avoid exclusivity) is recommended. The commission payable is normally 3%-4% (Nicosia) and 5% in the seaside towns on the sale price, although agents, mainly in Paphos, charge 8% (note that when dealing with foreign agents, this may reach over 10%).
  • For this reason, agree on the agent’s commission beforehand. Do not accept the deal whereby the price is fixed, and the agent gets the commission plus what they can obtain over the fixed price (greedy agents may overprice your property and, consequently, render it unmarketable).
  • We suggest that you appoint a qualified valuer (contact the Cyprus Association of Surveyors for a recommendation) who will ascertain the value of your property and its sales terms. You may find that you are undervaluing or overvaluing your property, with negative results on your sales price and period of sale.
  • Appoint several (2-3) selling agents but check who they are (your Bank Manager and the Association of Surveyors may recommend reputable ones).
  • If on-the-spot advertising/agents do not achieve a sale, try to advertise through the local press (or internet).
  • Bear in mind the payable taxation (if any), the exchange rate and the exportation of the sales amount before commitment.
  • The sales/transfer of a property’s ownership is a straightforward procedure. You simply present yourself at the Land Registry Office, together with the purchaser, and you sign a sales form.  Provided that there are no registered impediments and a clean title, the deal is concluded within the hour.
  • Bear in mind that before the transfer, you must have paid all outstanding property taxes on your holding and obtained a certificate of tax release from the Inland Revenue.
  • Ensure that Municipal taxes, garbage, water and other services and any outstanding common expenses are covered before sale/transfer.
  • Bear in mind that when you sell your property, you are liable to Capital Gains tax (although various exemptions, tax relief, will make it minimal if it is your main residence).
  • Do not take for granted that you will pay only capital gains. If you do this often [i.e., buy and sell], you will find that you are liable for income tax [higher tax rate].
  • If you are not the registered owner and sell “your” property, you need the cooperation of the original owner to cancel/assign the sales agreement, or you can opt for an assignment of the original sales contracts.
  • To sell the property to a non-EU member, you need to have Cabinet approval of the transfer.
  • Whatever you do when you buy/sell your property, we suggest employing a reputable legal firm (preferably one that is not connected with a developer). Agree on the fee beforehand.
  • Be prepared to answer the buyers’ questions regarding the title deeds, financiers release, town planning, building permit, certificate of final approval etc. (these items refer to non-title properties).
  • Finally, prepare yourselves psychologically since some owners have second thoughts on selling when it actually comes to it.
  • One seller insisted her cat remain a tenant in the house (with a written agreement binding the buyer to look after the animal]; on another occasion, the children were crying when the buyer visited – there was no sale!!