Among the many advantages are:
- guaranteed sunshine and high temperatures (year round in some areas);
- one of the least polluted regions in the world;
- good value for money;
- easy and relatively inexpensive to get to (particularly for most Europeans);
- good rental possibilities in many areas;
- good local tradesmen and services (particularly in resort areas);
a healthy diet and good food and wine at reasonable prices;
relatively low cost of living (25 to 50 per cent lower than in many northern European and North American cities);
- a slow, relaxed pace of life typified by avro – it can wait until tomorrow;
the friendliness and hospitality of the local people;
the dramatic beauty of the Mediterranean on your doorstep;
- an unsurpassed quality of life.
Naturally, there are also a few disadvantages, including:
- the relatively high purchase costs associated with buying property in Greece;
- unexpected renovation and restoration costs if you don’t do your homework;
- the dangers of buying a property with debts and other problems if you don’t take legal advice;
- overcrowding in popular tourist areas during the peak summer season;
- traffic congestion and pollution in many towns and cities;
- severe water shortages in some regions, particularly during the summer;
- homes can be difficult to sell;
- the expense of getting to and from Greece if you own a home there and don’t live in a nearby country (or a country with good air connections).
Before deciding to buy a home in Greece, you should do extensive research and read a number of books especially written for those planning to live or work there. It also helps to study specialist property magazines such as Homes Overseas, Homes Worldwide, International Property and World of Property, and to visit property exhibitions such as those organised by Outbound Publishing (1 Commercial Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN21 3XQ, UK, (Tel. 01323-726040; www.outboundpublishing.com).
Bear in mind that the cost of investing in a few books or magazines (and other research) is tiny compared with the expense of making a big mistake – however, don’t believe everything you read or are told!
There are no property ownership restrictions for EU nationals, although if you wish to buy in a border area you must obtain a permit from the local authorities. This is usually issued automatically.
Non-EU nationals (unless they are of Greek descent) aren’t permitted to purchase property in certain areas of Greece for security reasons. The areas are usually border areas on the mainland such as Ioannina in Epirus; Florina, Pella and Thessaloniki in Macedonia; Halkidiki in northern Greece; some islands including Lesbos in the Dodecanese; and Chios and Samos in the North-eastern Aegean islands. Waivers can be obtained and usually involve forming a Greek company, but the procedure is long and expensive.