Re-sale or off-plan – That is the Question!!
Owning a home in Cyprus is a rewarding experience. For many, the sun and the sea are irresistible, for others living in a world heritage town holds that special fascination, and there are those who find the prospects of Cyprus’ free and easy lifestyle tantalisingly appealing.
With the abundance of lifestyle qualities one enjoys in Cyprus the decision to buy property is the first step in the property purchasing journey. The major consideration is whether to buy an existing property or venture the off-plan way. There are numerous pros and cons either way.
- The greatest appeal of buying off plan is that you have some influence over the design, choice of materials, type and quality of fixtures and fittings. You’ll have the shutters you like, the kitchen you always wanted and finishes that perfectly complement your interior decor.
The financial considerations can also be of importance. The off-plan enables you to have stage payments thus spreading your financial commitments over time. The undeniable appeal of moving into a brand new home especially when you can see your own ‘stamp’ on it, is hard to beat.
- The other side of buying off-plan is equally powerful. Whilst all things look perfect on paper, the realities on the ground can throw up any number of complications for you to deal with. Late deliveries are rampart in the industry as are poor finishes.
Whilst you spent huge amounts on ‘extras’ to personalise you home, many projects end up with an impersonal ‘cookie cutter’ living environment. Invariably your wish for individuality and privacy is often well and truly lost.
The promised ‘green areas’ have evaporated and the only remnant of the flamboyant landscaping of the communal areas is the brochure. As developers deal with a myriad of agents to sell their properties, a high percentage of commission is built into the prices for off-plan. Anywhere between 10-15% is the norm, so you may have handsomely overpaid to start with………
- The most powerful plus for resale is that you know exactly what you are getting. You know in advance what is around you, which way it faces and how it makes you feel. You can make as many visits as it takes to soak up the atmosphere, plan your life there and to ‘sus’ out the neighbours. No guessing, no worries, no hassle.
It often comes furnished but more importantly it has the fixtures and fittings, the shutters, air con units etc., the garden is done and the pool works. There is no VAT (saving you 15%) and there is greater likelihood that they (the owners) are willing to negotiate on price.
The property may even come with title deeds, but if it does not, Fitzgerald’s take steps to lead you to a happy and rewarding home ownership. It takes a few quick simple steps to complete the purchase and with total peace of mind you can start enjoying your new home in 30 days, if you wish.
- The ‘Cons’. You are essentially looking at someone else’s home and some mental acrobatics are required to see past it. In essence it’s an ‘adoption’ process. You may want to give it a fresh coat of paint, make some repairs, or replace the gas cooker with a contemporary ceramic hob, for example. With Resale the buying process is a lot shorter and your financial outlay happens much faster, much as it would in the UK – but then you get to enjoy your new home sooner.
Buying property abroad has enormous lifestyle consequences. Buying property in your home town can be stressful but buying overseas can be more difficult so it is vital to get it right. Off plan or Resale is ultimately your decision, a decision that meets your requirements and one that you are comfortable with.
Because commission is much higher on ‘off-plan’ purchases, many estate agents handling developer properties are most likely to encourage you to make the off-plan purchase decision.
With developer off-plan sales falling, they have started concentrating on the re-sale of properties from their older projects. And the system goes like this: firstly they offer a current owner a fixed selling price, then add another 20-25% commission for themselves (in many instances, they don’t tell the owner what price they will be selling the property for!) and the ‘new owner’ will be paying a heavily inflated price.
So if you have heard that Resale properties are much cheaper than off plan, this very much depends who you buy from. Essentially, resale offers best value, but not ‘developer’ resale. Find an estate agent with impeccable credentials and you are well on your way to the best possible purchase for you.
Good news on the horizon
With the unprecedented decline of building activity on the island, the mantle of silence that protected the developer firms seems to be cracking. More and more, the print media ventures far more freely into subjects such as the title deeds shambles, developer abuse of power and the government inaction.
Emergence of organisations such as Cyprus Property Action Group (CPAG) has polarised the discussion with citizen’s rights and entitlements in line with European Union directives. The single majority with second homes on the island are British expatriates and they have also enlisted the help of the most powerful figures in British politics to break the status quo.
British Home Secretary David Miliband and the Chancellor Alistair Darling are taking the ‘hands on’ approach in the matter with the result that the British Government is demanding urgent action on, among others, the title deeds issue.
The receipt of Title Deeds (officially referred to as the Certificates of Registration of Immovable Property) are the most important evidence of property ownership and it is indeed staggering that the matter as important as this is being totally ignored by the Cyprus government, according to Mr Miliband.
The much awaited ‘tough talk’ from the British High Commissioner has the power to impact not only on British citizens, but on other nationals living in Cyprus as well. The High commission has received assurances that the bill to address the situation will be discussed by parliament, however as of 18th February, the source at the Ministry of Interior (Cyprus) said that he was unaware of any new legislation being drafted!
Denis O’Hare from CPAG is working in close cooperation with British MP’s, and is monitoring the situation. If the latest event endorsed by CPAG is any indication (placard-waving public demonstration - mostly foreigners -venting their displeasure and grievances in front of a Paphos lawyer’s office) the power of collective action has arrived in Cyprus, promising many changes. The future of the ‘dream home in the sun’ looks very bright indeed.
In Cyprus RE-SALES are MUCH BETTER VALUE and ARE MUCH SAFER, no matter what you have been told back home!
So, how does this work? Well, the Cyprus conveyance system works similarly to the system in England, more accurately – Scotland.
You find a website” www.fitzgeraldcyprus.com , see an advert in a paper or a magazine, visit Fitzgeralds whilst you’re in Cyprus and decide that you’d like to make a few enquiries. We’ll ask you to come into our office in Kato Paphos, (opposite the Wishing Tree on Apostolous Pavlou Avenue – the road to the harbour) and we’ll have a chat, when you can tell us what you’re looking for and we can then give you a few options that we’ll take you to see. Everything is very “laid back”, no pressure and you must never feel obliged to buy something. OK, we’re not in this business for fun and we want to make money, but we want you to recommend us to your friends etc.
The properties that we take you to are already built and are pre–owned, so what you see is what you get. We cannot give 100% guarantee that other building work will not affect you, but we can give you an honest idea of what’s happening in the surrounding area.
A lot of our properties are already furnished. It may not be to your style, but as time goes on, you can gradually change the furniture to your own liking, or maybe you’ll be happy as it is.
The problems of the first year or so have already been ironed out. Your water and electric are connected, the snagging list has been completed, (hopefully), the property is ready to move into.
There are various ways to deal with the financial side of things. You can pay for the property outright, or you can take a loan from a bank here in Cyprus, or a mortgage from the UK. You will need to put down a deposit and from then on, the contract is binding. If you pull out, you normally lose your money. However, there are always exceptions. Once everything has been set up, it can take from as little as 2 weeks for you to take ownership of your property.