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Investing In Property in Turkey - About The TAPU

Investing in property in a foreign country can cause a lot of problems for the uninformed novice. So before you get too far along in the process of buying property in Turkey it would be helpful to make you aware of the most important thing you need to prove your ownership of a property – the TAPU.
Many people have lost bigtime when they invested in Turkish property. They had found their ideal property in a beautiful location, signed paperwork only to end up with nothing. Too late they come to the hard realization that all was not as it appeared because they 'bought' from someone who did not even legally own the property in the first place.

It can be very exciting to come upon Turkish properties whose prices are currently rising at anywhere from 7 to 11.5% per annum. Property in Turkey can still be purchased at much less than in Europe or the UK. So, investors often end up focusing their attention more on the property and the amazing deal they believe they are getting than reading and understanding the small print on the contracts they are signing. At the very least when closing the purchase of Turkish property, you will need to have the TAPU physically in your possession. This is the most important document you must have - would anyone invest in a property in the UK, for example, without getting a title deed? Much the same as the title deed, the TAPU is an absolute neccessity to prove ownership of an apartment, house, vacant land or any form of real estate in Turkey.

In the past there have been cases where people have invested in property developments in Turkey, only to find that the developer has also sold the same land or house to a another individual. Some unscrupulous developers will even take the buyers money and leave the new property owner without a TAPU. With no proof of ownership the 'new owners' find that they are owners of absolutely nothing. But, a little due diligence can save tens of thousands of lira - like hiring a good Turkish lawyer who can understand the documents that will be written in Turkish. In some cases it may take some time to obtain the TAPU and insurance which protects property against potential destruction from natural disasters such as earthquakes is only available to those Turkish property owners with a Tapu already in ther possession. So, no matter how good that dream house looks and how badly you want to possess it, you should not wait more than three months for your TAPU to arrive – if you do, you could be left empty handed.

Turkey is a fairly easy country in which to make property investments if you know the rules, however some investors still are getting blind-sided by unscrupulous developers and red tape. To complicate matters there have been some major changes to the law in 2012 that all investors should take note of.

There are still some countries who cannot freely invest in Turkish Property

Formerly investors needed to be from a country that was friendly with Turkey to qualify to purchase land or property in the country. All this changed in 2012 when 183 more countries were added to the list after eliminating the reciprocity law that had been hampering investment in the growing Turkish property market. Unless you happen to be from Syria, Greece, China, India or one of a handful of other countries where approval from the Turkish Foreign Affairs Ministry is still required the chances are excellent that you will now be able to invest without restriction. However it is a good idea to check first - particularly if your country happens to border Turkey.

Foreign nationals are not allowed to purchase property near military bases in Turkey

Of course, not very many people would even consider investing in a property that was situated next to a military base. But, it might also be worth checking in the small print to see if your property is in a ‘special preserved zone.’ This may include areas that are important to Turkish history, energy facilities and agricultural centers. The Tapu should well provide proof that you are not breaking this particular law.

You can invest in larger parcels of land

Another big change in the law this year effectively allows investors the ability to purchase up to 33 hectares of land without special permissions. This is a quite a large increase from the 2.5 hectares allowed under the old law.

Without a Tapu you don’t officially own a property in Turkey

The Tapu is a document that tells everyone you are the rightful owner of a property in Turkey. This is the most important document you need, yet there are still unsuspecting investors who are forced to wait months or years and in some cases individuals have never received one. With no Tapu, you will run the risk of a property being sold to a third party with no protection from the law. To prevent this, it is well worth investing in a good Turkish lawyer to guide you through the purchase process.

Turkish property and inheritance

Property investors may at some point, think of their children’s inheritance. A will that leaves all your worldly goods to your loved ones drafted in your native country may not be drafted correctly. When it comes to Turkish property you should make sure it complies with the Turkish Civil Code. Under Turkish law, if a property was jointly signed with a husband or wife, then they would only be eligible to 50% of the property when you have gone. The other half would be split between whoever else has a claim. To avoid this make sure your will is written in the correct form according to the Turkish Civil Code and then witnessed by a public notary.

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