There are four main stumbling blocks preventing people from buying a property in Crete. Snobby Homes set out to find workable solutions to help find a solution to these problems.
WHICH ONE ARE YOU?
We’re trying to sell our house, down-size and use the balance to buy a house in Crete.
PROBLEM While current indications appear to show a tentative increase in UK house sales, until first-time buyers can be attracted back into the market it would seem there will probably be no significant improvement in the time it takes to sell a house until the end of next year. SOLUTION If you have the deposit, Snobby Homes will give you the time to sell.
Even with the fall in UK property prices there is still collateral in our home, but no bank will grant us a loan.
PROBLEM Despite all the saber rattling, banks are just not lending. SOLUTION If you have the deposit, Snobby Homes can help you arrange finance for the balance with a Greek mortgage.
We have the money but what with the exchange rate we can’t afford anything.
PROBLEM Eighteen months ago a two bedroom detached home in Crete would have cost the equivalent £115,000 and up to 15% on top of that to cover all purchase costs. Today, with a drop in sterling of some 30%, that same house would be costing around a total of £155,000. SOLUTION Snobby two bedroom detached homes are all around your original £115,000 budget - and that figure includes all purchase costs too!
We have enough for a deposit, but can’t find the balance.
PROBLEM Unlike property in the UK, in Crete, prices have not really been effected. The longer you leave it, chances are you could end up chasing a rainbow. SOLUTION Snobby can help you arrange finance for the balance, with a Greek mortgage.
What with everything else we just cannot afford to buy anything at all.
PROBLEM No matter what, you just cannot beg, borrow or steal enough money to buy a home in Crete. SOLUTION Fancy a two bedroom detached Snobby for peanuts? Much is being talked about fractional ownership, but invariably this is quite complex and you end up buying a property with complete strangers. Not so in Crete. Under Greek property law, several buyers can become the legal owners of a single property. That means if you club together with friends, or family members, to buy a Snobby, each individual can legally own a direct percentage of the freehold. What’s more, all the owners can take out a joint Greek mortgage and raise a loan up to 75% of the purchase price. Just think. If there were six owners, you could afford a Snobby for less than £20,000!
Have we helped solve a problem? If you have a question or wish to know more details about the above, just e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Never let your heart rule your head. Looking at property is a serious business. Before you even step on a plane you need to have drawn up a list of tick boxes and only waiver from one or two of these unless there is a real hard nosed reason to do so. Here are a few common banana skins to factor into your list.
MUST HAVE A BIG PLOT OF LAND
Unless you intend to move to Crete permanently a large plot will be difficult to maintain. Without regular attention and watering you’ll end up with a forest of dead vegetation. Did you know, with all the sunshine in Crete, you only need to water about 15 sq. m. of planted ground to cultivate more vegetables that two people are able to eat!
A large plot, by its very nature will be outside of a village boundary. That means there could be potential problems or delays in gaining access to utilities. You also need to consider the possibility of not being near any amenities. Perhaps its OK now, but what happens in years to come if you are unable to get to the shops? And if the plot is outside of a tourist resort then in the winter everything is going to be shut down. Even worse, chances are there will not be any medical facilities within easy reach.
MUST HAVE A SEA VIEW
Who wouldn’t? Land with a sea view is expensive, but here’s a top tip. Go for a plot where the land in front of yours drops down. In that way your view will never be spoilt. Too often we come across perfect land with a great view, but chances are someone, some day will build in front of you. You can never say never. Invariably a sea view means you are high up. In the future, as you get older, will a steep drive, or steps, be too much to walk up?
MUST HAVE A DINING ROOM
It’s all very well having pre-conceived ideas as if this was the UK, but you’re in Crete. Living here is different. The sun shines 320 days a year, so mostly you eat and live outside. If you are
determined to have a dining room, chances are it will never be used!
WE WANT SOMEWHERE OLD
If you’re thinking of building or renovating a property yourself, then be aware this is fraught with bureaucratic involvement. The law requires that you use an egineer so as to conform to strict building standards, including earthquake regulations. You must first obtain a building licence and pay taxes and IKA Insurance for the build – even if you do it yourself.
Official tax invoices must be obtained for all supplies and labour. Only a Greek registered plumber and electrician can provide you with the proper certification for electricity and water connections. And if that old stone derelict is your idea of heaven, be afraid - very afraid. Nothing short of an open cheque is the difference between dreams and reality. Old buildings invariably have no foundations and are unsafe as they do not conform to the new build safety specifications.
Found an idyllic resale? You need to carefully check two main points. If it is seven years old or more, chances are it will not be built to the same structural strength as a modern house and you ought to have a survey done to highlight any potential faults.
Culturally in Crete locals buy a house for ever, unlike the UK where most people end up moving every eight years or so. Consequently extensions could have been added without a building license which is illegal and could cause a problem. Many builders gambled on thinking once bought, their houses would never be sold on, and cut corners to save costs. There have been many instances, when a Brit wants to sell,and it’s discovered the swimming pool never had planning, or more metres were built on the plot than was legally allowed. As you would in Britain, be careful and check everything out.
I DON’T CARE - I MUST HAVE THIS ONE
So you’ve found the perfect place - be it off-plan, on a development, or a piece of land to build a new house on. When you are nearly 2,000 miles away - and in the current economic
environment, you do really need to consider protecting your money.
Most builders in Crete prefer stage payments to fund their costs. All require a deposit. That means you are paying in advance and until you receive the key to your house on completion, that money will always be at risk throughout the whole build process. Snobby Homes is the only builder in Crete with a scheme that legally
secures your deposit against loss, and the balance is only ever paid on completion - never in stage payments.
So, if you fall in love with a place, never let your heart rule your head. Be strict with yourself. If not you may well rue the day.
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Mike Saunders, Marketing Director of Snobby Homes is dismissive of fractional share ownership. He says, “Buying property abroad is a huge investment in trust and in today’s market buyers need to feel secure. I understand some developers have to re-market themselves with new ideas in order to survive, but I question whether fractional ownership is the way forward, and does it really benefit the buyer?
While we are doing nicely, I accept there is a market for those wishing to buy a property abroad, but they just don’t have the wherewithal to proceed at the moment. To those people we would say forget fractional ownership – there is an alternative. Buy a property in Crete.
A two bedroom detached Snobby for £25,000?
In Greek law houses are not owned jointly and severally, as they are in the UK. We have had several instances where friends and family have bought a Snobby together. If four couples agree to buy a Snobby, each couple would pay only 25%. Typically that means a couple can own a Snobby with their friends for just £25,000 and the title deed would legally show the freehold property as being equally owned by eight named owners.
Thus the Greek legal system already allows several parties to own a property without setting up a complicated system of fractional ownership with company involvement, hefty management fees, or having to buy with strangers.
We have been building Snobbys for five years now and it’s a concept which is proving extremely successful, despite today’s market. Our success means we are probably the only developer in Crete which does not have any financial borrowing, and we are the only company to legally secure every buyer’s deposit. In today’s economic environment these are huge benefits because they provide purchasers with an unbeatable level of trust and security they’ll not find anywhere else.”
Certainly it’s easy to see how Snobby Homes are still successful, despite the recession. They build Snobbys in western Crete, in the region around the picturesque fishing village of Kolimbari and within 40 minutes of Chania Airport, which receives direct flights from the UK. Crete is the largest and most southerly of the Greek islands, benefitting from 320 days of glorious sunshine every year, it has the lowest crime rate in Europe and being a member country of the EU since 1981 you can be confident that Greece is a safe and secure place in which to buy property.
Snobby Homes build only a handful of houses on each development, set quietly away, but within a stroll of everyday amenities. Snobbys have beamed ceilings, arches, pantiled roofs and stone features, set within fantastic individual private walled courtyard gardens, plenty big enough for a swimming pool and patios.
And the specification is amazing. You get a solar electric system generating FREE electricity, construction is with thermal bricks providing superb insulation, double glazing, a wood burner, solar water heating and a host of features, including a comprehensive white goods package, furniture and a range of kitchen equipment. And what’s more, there are no hidden extras. The sale price INCLUDES all taxes, VAT, legal fees, purchase costs, build license and utility connections – which most builders charge extra for.
Realise your dream of buying in Crete for thousands less!
“While we see the majority of Snobbys being purchased mostly by couples or individuals” says Mike Saunders, “Being aware of this joint ownership facility within the Greek legal system means friends, work colleagues, or family members could club together and buy a home for just a few thousand each. They all benefit as the house value increases, running costs per individual is less and if someone wishes to sell their percentage to the rest, or someone new, the Greek legal system allows you to do this quite simply.”
So, if your dream is to own a property in Crete, and you know of other kindred spirits, get in touch with Snobby Homes.
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