How to make sure I am doing a safe purchase?
This is most probably the most crucial question overall, and surely the question everyone is asking himself/herself before buying a property in Turkey.
Do you have to be worry before buying a property in Turkey? The answer is NO, of course if you have done your homework properly, and are assisted with honest professionals.
So what means “doing your homework properly” and “being assisted with honest professionals”.
Doing your homework properly means that you should first know what to ask when visiting a property, so let’s cover few of the crucial points for you to know how to start.
There are basically 2 types of property one will purchase:
- Off plan and/or under construction
- Completed properties
Questions you should ask will vary depending on the type of property you buy, so let’s cover them one by one.
For off plan and/or under construction projects;
- Does the project have a construction license (Yapı Ruhsatı):
No construction license, no right to construct, this is simple as that. Few developers sometimes choose to start the action prior to getting a license, usually in order to win some time, however we, as Capitol Estate, never take our Clients to such Companies for basic safety concerns.
You can ask the developer to show you a copy of the Construction License, which they usually are happy to share with you.
- How many projects the Company has completed before?
Asking for some references will never hurt. It’s always good to check if whether the Construction Company has completed projects before, and make sure that they have the strength to complete the one you are interested in.
- When will the properties be delivered, and what are the penalty clauses if there is any delay?
Buying off plan and/or under construction means that you are ready to wait for a certain time (sometimes year) before getting your property. In return you also have to make sure that it will be delivered on time and as promised by the Construction Company, and get a compensation if and when things go wrong.
- What will the location look like when the project is completed?
Buying off plan and/or under construction doesn’t only mean that the project will rise over the time period, but also the location where the project is located will improve accordingly. To ask a few question about the surroundings will let you have a better idea about the future and how this will affect your purchase.
- Does the project have issued independent title deed (TAPU)? If not when will they be issued?
A Construction Company may have left the issuing of independent title deed for the completion of the project, which is not common but basically legal.
When starting a project, one title deed is issued for the whole project, usually registered to the name of the Construction Company. Any time during the project, either right at the beginning, in the middle, and even sometimes at the end, the developer starts a process called Kat İrtifakı, which is basically the process where the initial TAPU is divided to the number of units existing in the project. This way, the developer is now able to deliver the exact title deed to the Buyer.
All and all, its always good to know if the TAPUs have been issued, and if not, to learn when they will be issued.
While these are few of the basic things always good to know prior to buying an off plan and/or under construction property, there are also a few things to know when buying a completed one;
- Is there occupancy permit in the complex (ISKAN in Turkish)?
Without a valid ISKAN, the project can not be considered as fully completed. Even if the apartment is ready, perfectly completed, as promised, and free for you to move in anytime you want, and even if you got your TAPU, without ISKAN, you are technically living in an apartment which still needs some final authorizations, and the first and most important one is ISKAN.
No ISKAN means that you can’t register your water and electricity. Every utility you use in the property is illegal, and will be charged on time of application for water and/or electricity. So to sum up, if you are buying a property in a newly completed project, if the developer can not provide you with relevant ISKAN papers, simply say good bye and leave the office.
- What type of TAPU have been issued?
While this is not a very big concern, its always good to know that there are two legit types of TAPU in Turkey. While both are accepted as of writing this article, one will soon become mandatory, so it’s always better to know what you are facing:
First Type (and most common): Title deed with floor easement (Kat İrtifaklı Tapu).
This first type of TAPU is basically the proof of your share in the complex. It clearly states that you have a share in the complex by acquiring Unit (x) in it. It is completely legal, and fully proves that you are the owner of your apartment.
What is not mentioned in this type of TAPU is whether the project has or has not been completed, and most important of all, if the project has been completed as in the license provided by the authorities.
Second Type (Soon to be mandatory): Freehold title deed (Kat Mülkiyetli Tapu)
This type of TAPU literally means that the developer got all the approvals from the officials, that the project has been fully completed and complies with all licenses provided to him. Of course it also states clearly the apartment number and all relevant details as well in it.
Which one is better? Obviously the second one.
Should I be worried if my TAPU fits in the first one? Actually not, you still are the full owner of your unit, you still will be able to register your water and electricity, however also bare in mind that you will probably be asked to pay a certain fee if and when laws change radically and all TAPUs will have to comply with it.
- Is there an established Management in the Complex and what are the fees?
While this question may seem obvious, surprisingly many new homebuyers omit to ask it. A site without a proper management is literally a nightmare waiting right at the corner. While some properties look beautiful on the inside, a complex poorly managed (even sometimes not managed) will quickly become a problem, so it’s always good to know who manages the complex, what are the fees, and what are included in it.
A last note about the management fee: always make sure that you will only be responsible for paying management fees starting from day you take delivery of your apartment, and not be responsible for previous periods.
Our suggestion: If the complex hasn’t got a proper management established, please think about it twice.
- Are there any utility and or municipality debts on the property?
While it may seem surprising as a question, even some new properties, which have never been used before, may come with utility debts, coming directly from debts owned by the developer used during the construction. Always make sure to ask to write on the sales contract that you will not be responsible for debts prior to taking delivery of the property.