Whether considering a whitewashed Santorini blockhouse with blue shutters that match the sky, an Italian-style townhouse in Corfu's rolling green hills or a luxury villa in the northern suburbs of Athens, expats have plenty of choices when it comes to accommodation in Greece.
Types of accommodation in Greece
Depending on where they decide to live, expats will come across various housing options. In the cities, expats can expect to find a mix of old and new – choices range from stunning luxury villas to humble decades-old apartment blocks. In the countryside, stone farmhouses are typical. Semi-detached houses, cottages and freestanding homes with gardens are also popular options.
Finding accommodation in Greece
In the search for accommodation in Greece, hiring a local real estate agent will likely be a good idea. Many Greek sellers target foreign buyers, and a better deal can often be found with the help of someone who speaks the language.
Exploring the areas one is interested in is always a good idea. Expats should look out for 'for sale' signs, and ask locals if they know of any properties available. Places available for rent may also have signage up on the property, which is typically a white or yellow sticker with the word enoikiazetai (for rent) written in red.
Many people in Greece prefer posting their properties online and in local newspapers as opposed to making use of estate agents. While most ads are in Greek, there are some in English. Generally speaking, English ads are aimed at foreigners and may have higher prices than one would find in Greek ads.
Factors to consider for house hunting in Greece
While everybody's real estate priorities are different, choosing a respectable area within one's budget is a good start. Especially when buying, expats should consider the general condition and age of the property they are considering, particularly as this affects property tax.
Expats looking to stay in Greece for a short period might want to consider renting instead. On the other hand, expats who can afford to purchase property that is of a certain value may be attracted by the prospect of getting a resident's permit in return.
Renting accommodation in Greece
Making an application
Good accommodation in the major cities can go fast, so expats should apply quickly when they find a good fit. A tax number (AFM) is needed to rent accommodation and get utilities connected, so new arrivals should make getting their AFM a priority.
For long-term rentals in Greece, deposits are usually between two and three months' rent. This should be returned when the lease has expired, as long as there is no damage to the property. As a result, doing an inventory of any damages upon arrival might save a tenant's deposit.
According to law, residential lease agreements have to cover a minimum of three years, although a shorter period may be negotiated between the landlord and the tenant. Generally speaking, the longer the lease, the lower the monthly cost.
It is important that expats fully understand their contracts and should hire someone to independently translate any agreements written in Greek before they sign.
For short-term rentals, utility accounts are most often billed to the landlord and are typically included in the rental cost. For long-term rentals, however, the tenant will likely be held accountable for their own utilities, which are an extra expense on top of rent.