Points to Consider When Purchasing Real Estate in Turkey

Real estate transactions in Turkey have increased under today’s economic conditions and, not only Turkish citizens but also foreigners are showing considerable interest in this matter. Even though the formalities following the payment of real estate selling price seem relatively simple, the sale and purchase of real estate essentially requires careful research and completion of various procedures. The importance of this issue is better understood when one considers the fact that thousands of lawsuits are filed in Turkish courts every year regarding the ownership of real estates. Whether for investment or for residence purposes, there are essential points to be taken into account in real estate transactions in order to avoid problems between parties. The following describes some of the factors to be considered for a smooth real estate purchase.

1. Consultation of Land Register;

Many disputes arise in practice due to failure to examine the land registry records properly before the sale. The land registry records should be carefully examined prior to the purchase of the real estate in order to avoid  forfeiture or any other unexpected situation.

“Protection of trust in the veracity and completeness of land registers” and “publicity of land registry records” are the main principles of Turkish land registry law. All transactions related to real estate are carried out through the relevant Directorate of Land Registry, and the real estate’s current condition is stated in the land register. All interested parties have a right to consult the land registry records of the target real estate based on the publicity principle. Therefore, consultation of the land register prior to purchase is an important stage for the performance of the sale transaction.

Points to Consider in The Land Register;

The true owner of the real estate must be established. Whether the seller is the true owner of the property, and if they are acting through a proxy, whether the proxy has the required power of attorney must be determined.

As mentioned above, since “protection of trust in the veracity and completeness of land registers” and “publicity of land registry records”  are fundamental, it is easy to determine the true owner by consulting the land register. It is essential to find out the true owner prior to purchase inasmuch as objections based on ignorance of the true owner are not admissible by law. Acquisition of a real estate from a person who is not marked as the owner on the title deed, even if the buyer is acting in good faith, is deemed invalid before the law. Thus, people who wish to acquire a certain real estate should obtain information from the land registry, and find out whether the seller is the true owner or whether he/she is duly authorized by the true owner to sell the property.

The Land Registry records should contain information about whether the property is subject to any encumbrances such as mortgage, attachment or injunction that might prohibit the sale of the property, affect its value, or cause the buyer to bear liability. Even though mortgages, attachments or injunctions do not prevent the sale, information about these should be obtained from the land registry before the sale. Since the real estate will be transferred to the buyer with the above-mentioned encumbrance,  the buyer must know and accept this. Otherwise, irreparable damages may occur for the buyer in the future. In other words, before the sale, the buyer must find out about the encumbrances on the real estate, whether there are any mortgage, attachment or injunctions,  and must know and accept this situation and its consequences.

It should be determined whether the real estate to be purchased is the one shown to buyer. This may be confirmed by consulting the land registry. As it is known, those concerned may compare the address of the real estate they will buy with the block, plot, layout information that is on the title deed, and are able to see the location of the real estate via the Layout Examination Service offered by the General Directorate of Land Registry. Layout examination of the real estate may be made online or it is also possible to get verification from the Land Registry Offices. Thus, the buyer may check whether the real estate shown to them and the real estate subject to sale are the same, and whether block, plot, layout and address information are identical.

2. Consultation of Municipal Records;

The municipal records of the real estate to be purchased also need to be examined. The recent condition of the property, zoning status, occupancy permit, and the previous tax debts of the real estate may only be made explicit by examining the municipality archives. These matters may affect the potential buyer’s purchase decision and he/she may avoid unexpected situations by finding out about these points.

In consequence of the examination of municipal records and other queries made at relevant departments of the municipality, the market price of the real estate may be determined. Current market value of the real estate also affects the sale and purchase transaction to be done on the title deed. The sale price to be declared at the Directorate of Land Registry should be in accordance with this market price, because the sale price to be declared may not be lower than the market price.

3. Signing the Real Estate Sales Agreement;

Real estate sales agreement is a mutual agreement with which the seller undertakes to transfer the real estate in return for the agreed amount, and the buyer undertakes to purchase the real estate and pay the agreed amount. The agreement includes the parties’ statements of promise and commitment made before the registrar. People who want to purchase real estate must sign a written agreement and base their sales transactions on a legal document in order to avoid any loss of rights in the future.

However, the fact that real estate sales agreement is written does not make the agreement valid alone. In order for the real estate agreement to be valid, the agreement shall be signed before the notary public and the title deed shall be annotated. Indeed, the law stipulates that a valid real estate sales agreement is to be made in statutory form and in the presence of a notary public, and an annotation is to be put onto the title deed. The real estate sales agreements that are not concluded before a notary public will be void.