A very general guide to property purchase in Cyprus

Once you’ve chosen a property, ensure you have solid legal advice from a properly qualified lawyer.

After choosing a property, you sign a preliminary agreement with the seller and pay a deposit. Upon signing the agreement, the property should be taken off the market in order to make legal checks and agreements about the terms of the purchase. For this purpose, the buyer has to appoint a certified lawyer who will act on his behalf and will study the property from the legal point of view as well as recommend an appropriate version of the sales contract protecting the interests of the buyer to a maximum. Reservation deposits vary depending on the price of the property and are normally 1-2% of the purchasing price.

When the initial steps above are completed, the buyer and the seller sign the main contract of sale. Upon signing the contract, the lawyer will apply to the Council of Ministers to obtain a permit to purchase the property. For EU citizens, this is normally a straightforward procedure and rarely has any problems. The contract of sale is then submitted to the District Lands Office to register the purchase. The Lands Office stamps the contract and records it in the Land Registry. This secures the buyer’s ownership rights until a separate title deed is issued .

If the seller has got the title deed for the property, the transfer of the title deed on the name of the new owner can be done immediately. If the property is brand new, in most cases the seller (developer) doesn’t have a separate title deed for the property and the buyer may end up having to wait some time before it’s issued. Until that time, the ownership rights of the buyer are guaranteed by the registration of the sales contract at the Land Registry. The application for the title deed will also be undertaken by the lawyer.

The Cyprus system of law is based on the British model, so it does provide a very high level of protection of the buyer’s rights but it’s strongly advised that you appoint a professionally qualified lawyer before entering into any transaction.