Buying Property in Turkey



Some Facts

Istanbul and the South Mediterranean Coast are preferred by property investors but other regions of Turkey offer great options in real estate as well. There is no substitute for research in locating the right property that suits your needs and budget. 

Turkey's approach to foreign investors is based on reciprocity- that is, if a certain country permits Turks to invest in real estate then Turkey in turn permits its nationals to buy property as well. 

Real estate prices in Turkey are lower compared to other European countries; however, prices in areas preferred by foreigners remain on the higher side. As a rule of thumb, the more convenient the location and the newer the building, the higher will be the property price. Most property owners tend to charge foreigners higher prices; to avoid being ripped off get an objective opinion and negotiate. One of the first things that you need to ensure while buying property here is that all taxes have been paid by the previous owner. This way you will avoid being landed with debts not incurred by you.

Turkish Real Estate Market

Common sense and watchfulness are the keys to prevent yourself from becoming the target of cheats in the market. Never sign a contract that you cannot read or understand. Always ask for copies of Turkish ID cards (Kimlik) of the seller and his real estate agent. Property location and quality of construction must be considered while buying and negotiating property purchase

To look for properties, try searching for listings online or walk around and look for signs that say satilik (for sale). Buying property in Turkey without a real estate agent (emlakçi) is difficult unless properties are being sold directly by owners or developers. Usually properties will be listed with agents (more than one will have the same property) but remember to check whether the agent actually has the authority to sell the property listed with him. Agent's commission is negotiable (usually around 3% of the property value) and is paid by both buyer and seller.


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Documentation and Procedure

Turkish law requires the preparation of three contracts for sale of property. These include the reservation contract, which indicates that the seller can take the property off the market, the preliminary contract, which is the basis for price negotiations and the full contract,which outlines the actual sale transaction. Ensure legalization of the contract before signing and obtain a translated copy as well. 

After signing the preliminary contract you will need to get military permission for the purchase. This application, which will be made by the seller to department of the Aegean Army High Command, deals with two major considerations: your criminal record and location of property. This should take 2-4 months. 

Once you sign the full contract you will receive the tapu (deed document for the property) from the District Land Registry Office. To complete the application for property transfer at the tapu office you require the tapu from the previous owner, 4 passport photographs and registration papers for utilities like gas, water, electricity and telephone services (if they are installed). On receipt of the tapu the transaction is complete and as the new owner you may occupy, sell or let out your newly acquired property. 


When you first buy a property you will have to pay a buyer's tax @ 1.5% of the declared value of the property. Add to that one time taxes like stamp duty (usually between 0.15% and 0.75% of the property value), VAT (Value Added Tax) @ 18%. Sale of property will attract capital gains tax @15-35% of profits. 

Tax liabilities on your property entail Turkish property tax (emlak vergisi) to be paid annually at the local town hall (belediye) and local property tax not exceeding 0.3% of your property´s declared value. Besides that, property insurance is of two types compulsory (DASK for earthquakes or disaster) and non-compulsory which may be bought privately. 

Before you set up utilities in your property remember to procure a Building Use Authorization Document that certifies you own the property and have the right to alter it.

Legal Advice

Always look for a capable property lawyer to help you with purchasing property before you begin your property search. Turkey has a number of foreign language speaking lawyers. Hiring one will save you lots of time and effort in the entire process and prevent you from getting ripped off. Never sign any document or pay anything without consulting your lawyer first. 


Foreigners commonly apply for mortgage approvals from Turkish banks. The mortgage approval rate remains high and mortgages usually cover up to 65% of the property´s cost. 

Islamic law forbids interest transactions and Turkish banks that identify themselves as Islamic offer two options to circumvent these restrictions. One option is a deferred sale mortgage wherein the bank buys the property and sells it back to you immediately and at a higher price. After making a 20% initial payment in this form of a loan you then pay the balance on a monthly schedule. The second option is lease to own mortgages which help you to avoid a large initial deposit. In this case the bank buys the property and then rents it to you on a monthly basis. The "rent" includes charges that buy you increasingly larger shares in the property until you own it. Standard mortgages are offered by secular Turkish banks. You may also use the services of a Turkish Bank like Isbank with branches in European countries and multi-lingual advisors. 

Prime property Locations

All regions of Turkey offer good investment options in property but expats prefer Istanbul (the Turkish business and cultural center), Ankara (a political hub) and the south of Turkey which has much to offer in terms of tourist attractions. If you prefer being surrounded by nature's bounties and Turkish culture then the Turkish west coast is an ideal location.