Ask a Lawyer: Buying a Home or Property in Turkey

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With its varied climate, beautiful nature and rich history, Turkey is a popular destination for foreigners looking to buy a home outside of their home country.

According to official data for the second half of 2020, home sales to foreigners increased by 4% compared to the same period in 2019. During the pandemic, home sales in Turkey fell slightly; however, recent data show that activity in the real estate sector has gradually risen.

In June 2021, sales to foreign buyers were the best January-June period ever, surpassing the 20,000 unit threshold for the first time. Sales during this period were up nearly 44% over the same period last year.

Turkey could be one of the best countries to buy a home… However, there are some details that need to be considered in order to make sure you are doing everything right.

Istanbul lawyer Elvan Kakıcı Shimsek explained that foreigners wishing to buy property in Turkey must pay attention to their legal rights in order not to become victims.

“There are some issues that foreigners wishing to purchase real estate should pay attention to in order to prevent problems that may arise due to foreigners’ ignorance of Turkish law and practice,” she said.


General view of apartment buildings in Istanbul, Turkey.  (Photo by Shutterstock)
General view of apartment buildings in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Shutterstock)

What you need to know

  • In Turkey, transactions for the purchase and sale of real estate are carried out in the Land Registry, which is called Tapu Dairesi in Turkish. Purchase and sale transactions that are not in the Land Register are invalid.

“We recommend that foreigners who will buy real estate pay the sale price at the land registry when signing the tapu, which is the title deed. If they are going to have these operations carried out by a representative, and not personally, it would be advisable that they did it through a lawyer, ”said Shimshek.

When buying a property, a commission of 4% is charged, 2% for the buyer and 2% for the seller. These rates are calculated based on the selling price of the property.

  • If the title deed for the acquired property cannot be obtained immediately, or if the property in question is still under construction, Shimsek recommends signing a promise to conclude a sales contract and notarizing it.

A notarized, notarized real estate sale and purchase agreement gives the buyer the right to go to court and transfer the property in his own name if title to the property is not granted in the future. Once the contract for the sale of real estate is signed by a notary, it should be taken to the Land Registry and a note should be made on the title deed. The real estate promise contract must be made with a notary, in which case the notary will charge a commission of 0.54% of the sale price.

  • If the title deed for the property being purchased cannot be obtained immediately or if the agreement on the promise of the sale of the property cannot be signed with a notary, a written agreement must be concluded between the buyer and the seller, Shimsek added.

However, with this contract, you only have the right to demand reimbursement of the money you paid, – she said.


The coastal resort town of Alanya with many residential buildings overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.  (Photo by Shutterstock)
The coastal resort town of Alanya with many residential buildings overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. (Photo by Shutterstock)
  • Make sure you do your research before making any decision.

“Before making a payment, we recommend that you study the document confirming the ownership of the acquired property and find out if it has any security rights, mortgage or limited property rights. In addition, we recommend that you study the current zoning status of real estate, regardless of whether it is in military or security zones, ”said Shimshek.

To prevent problems that may arise due to foreigners’ ignorance of Turkish law and practice, Shimsek strongly recommends foreigners to use real estate lawyers to complete transactions.

“You should not work with people and companies that are not known for their reliability. In the event of a dispute between the parties regarding an immovable object, the situation should be brought to the attention of the judicial authorities, and the claim should be filed with Turkish courts, ”she said.

Is it possible to obtain citizenship after buying a house?

Well yes, but there are some conditions.

According to Turkey’s immigration program, you can obtain citizenship by purchasing real estate worth at least $ 250,000 (2.08 million Turkish lira). You are allowed to sell the property after three years and this will not affect your citizenship.

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