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How to buy a home in Turkey as a foreigner

If you are looking to buy a house in Turkey as a nonresident, there are a few things you should keep in mind when it comes to legal matters. From the documents you need to understanding what you’re looking for, here is a simple guide on where to start*

With its spectacular history, culture, nature and climate, Turkey has always been a desirable destination for many an expat to while away the years. These characteristics for leading a healthy and happy life are now more important than ever in this era of safely navigating through a global pandemic. However, it can be daunting to make the big move to another country and especially if you don’t know the language or where you are going to live. Luckily, I am here to give you some guidelines to get started on, if like me, what may be your lifelong dream.

What makes a house a home

Homes in Turkey have three requirements: first, there must be a “tapu,” which is a title deed, “imar,” which is a building license and “iskan,” which is a habitation certificate. You do not actually want to dish out any money if you are unable to verify that the property contains all of the above. It is highly advisable to check with the Land Registry Office, Tapu Dairesi in Turkish, to make sure the property you are checking out is legal for purchase and that the deed does not have any outstanding fines or debts connected to it, such as an “ipotek,” which is a lien on the property that you would be liable for if purchased. In new builds, make sure the name of the title deed has been transferred to the contractor versus the landowner if that is who you are purchasing from and do not relinquish any funds and only pay for the property in full after the deed has officially been issued in your name. There are methods available by banks in Turkey to ensure funds are secure for both parties during the transaction process.

Having an “iskan,” which is a habitation certificate, proves that the home is habitable and has been built according to the required standards and earthquake regulations. This will make getting loans or setting up a mortgage on the property possible and is decipherable by the deed having a check in the box for “kat mülkiyeti,” which means property ownership vs. the “kat irtifakı,” which denotes ownership of a building that is not yet habitable.

Title deeds in Turkey come with either blue or red borders. Those with blue borders denote land or land including a detached home, while deeds with red borders refer to units in an apartment or housing complex, the latter of which is referred to as “site.” An important point to keep in mind when purchasing homes with red-bordered deeds is that in most cases there is a common monthly maintenance fee required to be paid by homeowners.

What you will need to buy

There are a number of requirements for foreigners and otherwise to buy property in Turkey. First off and as of this year, it is compulsory to have an Energy Performance Certificate (in Turkish Enerji Kimlik Belgesi) which classifies said building’s energy efficiency. This is a new requirement that went into effect at the start of the year for house sales and purchases. You will also need to enroll for compulsory earthquake insurance (abbreviated DASK in Turkish) in order to receive necessities such as electricity and water.

If you plan to sell your property within five years of purchase, keep in mind that you will be subject to pay a capital gains tax, which is a low percentage calculated on the profit incurred. Those wanting to sell their homes will also need to have their property valued by a private company and will be subject to paying out 4% of the real value in taxes, thus putting an end to fibbing on the actual price paid for a property to avoid paying excessive taxes. If foreigners are purchasing the property on their own they will need a foreign identification number (yabancı kimlik numarası) as well as a translator and notarized translations of their passports, but it is also possible to give power of attorney, which would bypass the first two requirements. There is also the rare situation that a military clearance, which could take up to a month, might be necessary based on proximity to military bases or strategic locations. Foreigners intending to purchase land are also restricted to 30 hectares, and keep in mind there are strict regulations on being able to build on land here in Turkey and in July of this year, it was became prohibited to build a “hobby home” on agricultural land. Meanwhile, with the purchase of real estate amounting to the equivalent of $250,000 as of September 19, 2018, comes the ability to become a Turkish citizen so long as you do not sell said property for a duration of three years.

Last but certainly not least is that Your Key Turkey is a wonderfully informative website prepared by Turkey’s Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning General Directorate of Land Registry and Cadastre for foreign property buyers. The website is available in six different languages, namely English, German, Arabic, French, Russian and Spanish, and contains all of the necessary information and finer details on property purchasing in Turkey by foreigners. Check it out at


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Turkish real estate sales to foreigners expected to hit $7B in 2020

Despite a decrease in terms of units sold during the pandemic, Turkey’s real estate sales to foreigners are expected to hit $7 billion due to an upward trend in buyer profiles, a sector representative has said.*

“We have been selling real estate to foreigners since 2010. We also organize promotional activities and events abroad to attract investors to Turkey,” Real Estate International Promotion Association (GIGDER) Board Member Fatih Ergüven told Anadolu Agency (AA) on Friday.

Ergüven, who is also the chairperson of the real estate company, Inhouse Global, said Turkish residential sales to foreigners significantly increased since the 2013 reciprocity law, contributing to the country’s real estate sector. He added that significant numbers were recorded during that period despite all the challenges.

“For instance, despite the pandemic, some 26,000 units were sold to foreigners during the January-September period this year,” he said.

“Figures for October have not yet been announced. However, the data we receive from the sector is very good. We think the figure will be around 6,000 units. We can easily pass 35,000 and reach even 40,000 over the course of the year.”

Ergüven pointed out the high potential of Turkey’s real estate sector and said by using real estate investment funds more actively and carrying out more effective promotion events, higher figures can be reached easily.

“The customer profile of new foreign real estate buyers is way higher compared to the previous years,” he added.

“This year more Europeans are buying houses in Istanbul than ever, primarily due to the exchange rate advantage and perks like Turkey’s robust health care system.

Ergüven noted that there has been an increased interest from Swede and the German buyers this year. “Besides the Europeans and Iranian buyers, who are one of the main customers in the country, buyers from Pakistan, India and China are also showing an interest in the Turkish real estate market,” he said.

Antalya, Muğla, or Aydın provinces along the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts are among the No.1 destinations for European buyers, he said.

Ergüven said the interest from Africa and South America is also on the rise but is still below their actual potential. He noted that buyers, regardless of where they’re coming from, choose Turkey because they love it here. The country offers high living standards at affordable prices, he said.

“We expect the average real estate sales value to be around $170,000-$180,000 especially with the increase in sales from regions like Antalya and Bodrum, and the arrival of high-potential buyers,” he said on year-end expectations.

Ergüven added that Inhouse Global has offices in Kuwait, Jordan and Dubai, apart from the ones in Turkey.

“We’re also opening offices in Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia and Sudan. Opening up to the North African market will bring a significant number of buyers to the country,” he added.

He said they act as intermediaries in more than 500 sales annually. “We have brought in nearly $500 million worth of foreign exchange in Turkey through those sales in eight years,” Ergüven said.


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60 Bosphorus mansions up for sale

Sixty Istanbul mansions located along the Bosphorus, including 30 historical ones, are currently on sale with a price range from $4.5 million to $95 million.*

There are currently 600 waterside mansions—which are on the top of the list of luxury properties—on both sides of the Bosphorus and 366 of them are historical, Demirören News Agency reported on Sept. 25.

In addition to 60 mansions, around 40 mansion flats are on sale varying between a price range from $1.7 million to $12 million.

The most valuable place on the Bosphorus is between the Bogaziçi and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridges. The mansions in the Bebek and Yeniköy neighborhoods on the European side and in Vaniköy, Kandilli and Anadoluhisarı on the Asian (or Anatolian) side are the most desirable ones.

The interest in waterside mansions (called “yalı” in Turkish) have spiked after a fall in the value of the Turkish Lira, with the biggest demand coming from Qataris.

“Foreigners have the following idea: The value of the dollar has risen, so our money has become valuable against the lira and the properties here [in Turkey] are sold on a lira basis, so I have more of a chance and can buy a much better property,” Sinem Ayıkcan Yılmaz, an Istanbul-based real estate investment consultant, told the agency.

Yılmaz also touched upon the recently issued decree that requires using the lira for buying, selling and renting real estate in a fresh step to support the local currency.

“There is a new law now, we can no longer sell [mansions] based on dollars or euros, so we have to convert all [sale] figures liras,” Yılmaz said, adding that the recent spike in the value of the United States dollar against the lira has resulted in an appreciation in the value of mansions in terms of liras and thereby has led domestic buyers to ask for a discount on the prices.

“Domestic buyers are demanding discounts of 40 percent and 50 percent. This is not just the case for mansions. This is the case [for all the properties] along the Bosphorus line,” Yılmaz said, emphasizing that mansion owners, however, are not giving discounts to foreign buyers.

Mansion owners “are categorizing those living in Turkey and abroad” differently, according to Yılmaz.

“There is mostly a demand from Arab countries. And it is especially from Qatar that we see a demand,” she said.

Yılmaz also urged potential buyers to consult the Development Directorate of the Bosphorus. “Even if you are to paint the exterior walls and building façades of properties located along the Bosphorus line, you need to receive permission from the Development Directorate,” she said.

On top of the Development Directorate of the Bosphorus, a further visit to the Council of Monuments is inevitable for potential buyers of mansions that have a legal status of “historical,” as such mansions are subject to additional laws, said Yılmaz.

Elegant and historic, the Bosphorus has long been the most desirable residential area. The estates and mansions along the Bosphorus reflect the city’s longevity.

Some of these waterside mansions are historical buildings dating back to the 17th century. During the Ottoman period, these mansions were called “Sahilhane.” A family who owned a waterside residence would spend some time in this usually secondary residence located by the seashore, as opposed to the “konak” or “köşk.”