Check, check, and check again
Once you’ve agreed on the sale terms with the property owner or their agent, you need to obtain a copy of the TAPU (Title Deeds) and check whether:
It will also be useful to
Preparing a draft contract
These contracts are not compulsory (a mutual declaration of buyer and seller to the TAPU Registry Office is enough to process the transfer of ownership), but having a strong sales contract may protect you in the event of risks arising from the seller or agent.
If you are using an agent or a solicitor, make sure the contract refers to them, and that they sign the contract.
A contract should include the following:
Translating your draft contract
Translate your contract into English before you sign, so you have both Turkish and English versions. An oral-only translation may lead to complications or confusion in the future.
You may want to consider having a bilingual contract instead of two separate contracts.
Notarising your contract
It is best to sign both versions (the English and the Turkish) in the presence of a notary public. After signing, get each copy notarised to ensure:
Contract payment terms
You will need to pay the seller a deposit in order to take the property off the market. This price is negotiable.
Turkey property deposits usually average around five to 10 per cent of the selling price.
Property commissions may be charged to you and the seller. In some cases, only one party can pay the commission. The commission rate is around three per cent.
Transferral of ownership
The buyer and the owner (or their authorised agents) must apply to the local TAPU office to transfer the property’s ownership from seller to buyer.
Documents required by the TAPU office
Individual buyers must provide the TAPU office with the following documents:
A company established in Turkey in accordance with the Foreign Direct Investment Act must issue an authorisation document from the Commercial Registry Office on their behalf. This document includes the following:
Companies established abroad
Commercial companies that are established in countries where the reciprocity agreement exists must submit an notarised document similar to the one detailed in the FDI Companies section. If an agent is processing the transaction on your behalf, they must produce two passport photos and an acceptable power of attorney document.
The Turkish British Chamber of Commerce and Industry (www.tbcci.org) can assist you with the preparation of these documents. You can get these documents verified at the Turkish Consulate General in London. For more information, contact TAPU’s Directorate General at www.tkgm.gov.tr, email email@example.com, or contact one of our consultants.
How does the TAPU office treat foreign companies and FDIs?
Companies established in Turkey by foreign investors can buy property or limited rights in rem in Turkey, as long as they are in accordance with the operational purposes detailed in the company’s Articles of Association.
Foreign trading companies having legal personality in foreign countries in accordance with the laws of these countries may buy property in Turkey on condition of being reciprocal and adhering to any legal restrictions.
The property purchase application of a company to Land Registry Offices is sent to General Directorate of TAPU for reciprocity control.
The application will also be checked to ensure the Turkish property in question is not within a military zone or a security zone. Once these checks are completed the company will become eligible to make the property purchase.
Companies will have to submit an officially notarised document of authorisation during the registration process.
Foreign commercial companies that are considered legal entities in Turkey can purchase property in Turkey, as long as they adhere to the specific laws such as the Tourism Encouragement Act, the Oil Act, and the Industrial Zones Act. Foreign charities, foundations or societies cannot buy property in Turkey. If you need more information go to www.tkgm.gov.tr
Issuance of a new title deed
Once the checks are completed, you will be given an official document, the Title Deeds (TAPU).
Without a TAPU you do not legally own the property – even if you’ve signed a legal contract with the seller.
At this stage, you should be organising payments to the seller.
Declaring acquisition to the local government
You should apply to the Municipality to declare the acquisition of the property by the close of the year the acquisition was made. You can do this in writing by simply filling in a form and sending it to the municipality. When the form has been processed, municipality officers will let you know how much real estate tax you will have to pay (this is a bit like the United Kingdom’s Council Tax).