Essential Property Checklist

OK, so you've decided to join the 80,000 Britons who have already bought a home in Cyprus, but with so many houses for sale it's difficult knowing which way to turn. We've wracked our brains to come up with some of the most important (and frequently overlooked) questions that must be answered before signing on the dotted line:

  • If you see somewhere you like make sure you can pay for it: Admittedly this might sound like a bit of a 'no brainer', but before putting in an offer you'll have to add up all the costs (the house price, solicitor's fees and the cost of currency exchange). Cypriot property regulations differ from the UK in that the 'offer' goes hand in hand with a reservation fee, which you will lose if you don't complete the purchase.
  • Take your time: Look at a wide range of properties and if you find one that you like make return visits at different times of the day.
  • Check that the property has planning permission: Again this sounds obvious, but there are unscrupulous developers out there who build without it.
  • When viewing properties ask to look around on your own. Not only will you avoid the 'hard sell', but you'll have some privacy to talk about your real concerns with your partner.
  • Be suspicious of people you meet in a bar who have a 'friend with a good deal': There is a good chance that they could be working on commission.
  • Spend some time researching the local community and find out what amenities the area has (you may not want to use the local tennis club, but someone renting or buying further down the line might). Pop round to see the neighbours who should be able to give you a more 'independent' impression of what the area is really like.
  • Check the heating: Cyprus can get pretty chilly in winter and you want to know how the water is heated. If there are solar panels ask how old they are and ask to see some heating/water bills.
  • Find out where your water supply comes from: Is it mains fed, spring fed or does the property have a borehole?
  • Find out how the sewage system connected to the property: Is it a cesspit or soak away and how often does it need emptying?
  • Find out about transport links: How far is the nearest airport? Are there any nearby bus stops or cab ranks?
  • Check the property deeds: Does anyone have access to the property or any trees planted on it?
  • Make sure you can park your car and find out if other people use your car parking area as well.
  • Check all fixtures and fittings carefully: Once you've signed for the property you'll have no legal recourse.
  • If your property has a swimming pool, give it a thorough going over: Enquire who built it (in case you need later repairs) and how much it costs to run.
  • If you're buying in the North check title deeds carefully: The Greek Cypriots abandoned lots of property and territorial legality is still disputed. Any political settlement could see compensation and property returned to its original owners.