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Buying property in Turkey is one of the largest financial decisions you can make and having the right man in your corner can help you save or lose a lot. In this blog post, we went over the most popular Turkish property scams.
My name is Berkan Özyurt and I am the director and founder of Kingsman Estates Turkey in this video, I would like to give you various tips and tricks so you can avoid getting scammed in Turkey.
Unfortunately, back in the day, the number of scams in the Turkish property market especially in the Mediterranean and the Aegean coast was incredibly high.
All you must do is Google Turkish property scams and you will see the size of this problem many international investors face.
The main reason for these scams to occur is the greed and inexperience of our international friends.
This is an incredibly sensitive issue for me personally as back in 2017 when I was running a successful import-export business in London, hearing these horror stories about my country was one of the reasons why I came back to Turkey to start a real estate agency concentrating on international investors to purchase property in Turkey in a safe environment and professional environment!
Over the recent years, we had the pleasure to help many international investors buy property in Antalya so we have seen and heard it all. If you would like to avoid being subject to property scams in Turkey please continue reading to inform yourself of various tricks people use to take advantage of investors.
So without further a due let’s get on with a list of tips
Turkish Property Scams
You must ignore pushy salespeople who pressure you into making the entire payment before signing a proper contract and showing the house.
What tends to happen is scammers take advantage of the lack of experience of international investors and manipulate them into thinking that a given property is the bargain of their life and unless the entire payment is made it will be gone in 30 minutes.
Please do not let your greed take over your common sense. Although the Turkish property market can be fast-paced and competitive unless you have seen the property and signed a contract never ever send the full amount of payment to anyone.
Make Sure Your Property Has All The Correct Paperwork
What makes a property legal in Turkey is the fact that it has a Tapu which is essentially the title deed that gets you the freehold of the property or land.
The second document you will have to see is the ISKAN which is the habitation licence of the property.
This documentation is acquired after the construction of the property, and it proves the fact that it has been built according to the regulations of the local area and construction regulations in Turkey thus allowing people to live in it.
If you’re buying from an independent seller, don’t take their word for it: ask to see the documents and have them checked over by a lawyer.
Do not skip the checking with a lawyer part as there could be various clauses on the TAPU limiting the use of the property due to previous debt of the owner or new government regulations.
At Kingsman Estates we do all the due diligence when it comes to a potential property before marketing on our website!
However even before we do the checks sometimes, we refuse sellers immediately as we tend to know the problematic areas with legal disputes!
Find A Licenced Estate Agent
We cannot stress the importance of this point. Trying to avoid paying %2 or %3 commission rate is not a good idea for you unless you are a seasoned investor in the Turkish property market.
When we say a good agent, we do not just mean any licenced real estate agent in Turkey. Most agents do not have a clue on what they are selling as they are new in the market trying to help people before having various investments of their own in the past.
What tends to happen is most real estate agents in Turkey do not sell properties that they have investments in.
They get bombarded with offers from developers to sell their properties with unreasonable commissions as some developers and real estate agents think they can just push bad projects to international investors who do not have an adequate understanding of the market.
Having a decent experience and knowing what to expect will massively benefit you as you will not be fooled by ‘polished offers’ that does not make much business sense in the real world.
So that’s what you get with working with well-established estate agents!
What makes Kingsman Estates different is we have our own projects thus have our hand under the rock alongside our clients.
Let me tell you a story, two months ago our company along with our partners have bought a plot of land for 40 million Turkish Lira, 2 months later guess what happened… we have been offered…60 million.
Our initial plan was to build around 200 flats on that piece of land so obviously, we have rejected the offer and now we are just finishing the designs of the flats and hoping to start the construction as of January 2022.
You will see plenty of videos from that location as the project continues to develop in the coming months.
This sort of expertise and experience as well as having an actual foot in the Turkish property market gives Kingsman Estates selection and the ability to avoid bad projects from pushy developers.
However please be rest assured that there is also a fantastic selection of developers that have amazing projects that we cherry-pick for our clients.
So, in the end, always ask for the licence of the firm as well as the individual agent who has been helping you before discussing details with them.
Also, look for agents who have multiple investments and constructions of their own instead of agents who are looking for a quick sell.
This way you will only work with established agents who will not bow down to pushy developers forcing them to sell bad deals.
Avoid Illegally Constructed Properties
There are two types of illegal construction in Turkey. If you follow the rest of the measures suggested in this video you will safely avoid both:
i. Village houses
These rural constructions are found outside the main centres. Originally built on agricultural land for the villagers who worked on the plots for farming.
These properties were given retrospective habitation licenses by the local authorities. However, they are not recognised under Turkish law.
If you buy one of these properties not only will you be unable to raise finance on it as it’s an illegal dwelling, but you’ll most likely be stuck with it forever as no one will want to take it off your hands when you decide to sell your property to realise your financial gains or just want to live in some other area in Turkey.
This is by far the most prevalent type of illegal construction, and it’s most likely that when you’re approached by a friendly waiter or hotel clerk with information about their ‘friend’s’ amazing villa that’s a bargain, it’ll be one of these village houses.
The seller will always target foreign buyers as it’s unlikely that they’ll know much about Turkish law. If in doubt, ask a solicitor to investigate this deal of a lifetime on your behalf.
ii. Deliberate violations
This type of construction is more serious – and a more calculated scam – as in these cases a developer has deliberately flouted the law in order to build property to sell to unsuspecting buyers.
The developer will build outside legal zones or build properties that don’t adhere to building regulations- such as being three stories instead of the allowed two in places like Bodrum where this is the law.
You might buy the property and live in it with no problems, but when your next buyer comes along, chances are they’ll do their homework more thoroughly than you did, and you’ll have trouble selling.
Take Care When Buying Direct From Developers
In property boom times just about everybody’s trying to get a piece of the action.
In the Turkish housing market, this has meant the rise of new development companies trying their hand at making some money from foreign investors.
Don’t be fooled by a shiny office and a slick salesperson: always go with the established company with years of experience and capital in their pocket, so they won’t be desperate for your hard-earned cash.
Ask to see examples of previous projects, so you can get some idea of the quality and durability of the properties.
As you can see, buying property in Turkey is easy and safe so long as you follow guidelines and do your homework.
Most importantly, deal only with established professionals and beware of anyone trying to push a bargain property. Because if it looks too good to be true, it often is.
At Kingsman Estates we have all the right contacts with developers as well as their suppliers since we are also in the construction business.
The biggest danger international investors face is the possibility of companies not being able to finish the project due to financial strain other various reasons like other legal disputes a company might have which may result in cease of their construction operations.
When that happens the word of mouth travels very quickly among the well-established players in the market however the international investors only find out after the bankruptcy has been filed and there is no way of getting their money back or their promised home.
So in order to avoid such problems please do be careful when buying directly from the developers.
Working with well-established real estate agents like Kingsman Estates and paying an extra %2 or %3 commission fee will save you from taking such risks and ending up losing money and wasting your time in pointless court cases.
Use A Solicitor
This is so obvious but it’s shocking how many people choose not to employ the services of a legal professional when buying property in Turkey.
When we ask people why they have chosen to forgo hiring a lawyer they often say it’s “too expensive”.
We disagree. Spending the $400 or $500 on a lawyer and ensuring your property is legitimate is absolutely crucial.
The way a solicitor will come into play is by making sure that there is no outstanding debt or any legal disputes on the property.
Please be aware that although we recommend you to employ a lawyer when buying a property, our in-house lawyers individually check all the properties for sale before we market them to any of our customers.
So that brings us to the end of another video and I sincerely hope that you will listen to our advice and take these precautions seriously.
Otherwise, you take serious risks with your hard-earned in a market that is not conducted in your own language and your own laws.
If you are any questions please feel free to ask us and our dedicated team at Kingsman Estates Turkey will be more than willing to alleviate any questions you might have.
As always please like, share subscribe and stay well until we see you at our next video.