Just recently it has become "de riguer" to pack up in the UK and Ireland, buy a property in Crete then move to the sunnier Mediterranean climate of Greece and its biggest island, Crete. Inspired and encouraged by some of the dedicated TV programmes such as "No Going Back" and "A Place in the Sun", the British and the Irish have relocated in their thousands to warm and welcoming traditions. Did they all take good buying advice?
You will have noticed on many of the television series devoted to Living Abroad that they focus on those that encountered problems in their move to Greece and elsewhere. Here is also a reality check: for whatever reasons it is true that around the seventh year way from "home" Ex-Pats start to drift back to Britain and Ireland. That is a reality of living in Crete and Greece and elsewhere "abroad". Of course, there are many Britons and Irishmen who do not get the "seven year itch" and have left the British Isles, never to return, except to visit family and friends.
The point here is: Do not come on a holiday and then decide when you get back to the UK or your home country that you're going to sell up and move to Crete right away. Its not that simple. Living in Crete and being on Holiday are not the same thing. When you are on Holiday you don't have to work, your food is served to you and your bed is made, you get to lounge around the pool or the beach all day.
The reality is that life in Crete is pretty much like it is in the UK. Many of us under retirement age have to find work; you have to deal with folks who don't always speak English (although this is becoming more of a rarity now, but should not be expected) and you will also have to deal with the slower pace of life. When you're on holiday that isn't a problem, but when you live here, it can become frustrating!
If you decide that no matter what, Crete is for you, then your decision is to be applauded. What follows are some experiences of others who have already relocated to Crete. It is a kind of check list of important considerations regarding property purchase - the biggest decision you are likely to make. Brits in Crete team lists the experiences here in the hope that you will not make the mistakes that others have done.
The final idiosyncrasy is that for some unknown reason if a property owner has had his property on the market for a say a year or more and no-one has been to look at it, instead of adopting the obvious position and drop the price to glean some interest, he may do just the opposite, citing rising prices as the reason. A bizarre fact - but in keeping with the general local people's temperament.
Of course not all Real Estate Agents are out to sell you just anything. All are licensed. The great majority are law abiding and give good service, but there are a few bad apples and you should be aware of this when dealing with anyone regarding property in Crete. Ask for recommendations in the Brits in Crete Forum under the "Crete Real Estate" section. You'll sure to receive responses from those who have gone before along the same path. In addition, pay a visit to Crete property Uncovered.Com where many of Crete real estate agents are listed with experiences related by buyers - sometimes not the most complimentary comments.
Brits in Crete's own "buying advice" recommends you to purchase a property in Crete through the following agents for providing good customer service at all times.
Cretan Residencies(Agios Nikolaos)
Nikou Real Estate (Sissi/Sisi)
Buy and Sell (Aghios Nikolaos)
New Land Real Estate (Aghios Nikolaos)
Giakoumakis Real Estate and Property Developers (Malia)
(NB: This is not an exhaustive list and other agents have good reputation)
Most Important Advice of All
Based on countless experiences in moving to Greece, our final word of advice for you before you buy your dream property in Crete. Our most fervent advice is simply: RENT FIRST! Don't rush into any decision.
Our website has many useful pages for Brits and Irish ex-pats and anyone else who is seeking advice when buying a property in Greece. Check out, for instance:
The 8 Most Important Questions to Ask when buying a property
These are among many pages with advice on this site when buying a property on Crete including Buying Tips for Property when investing in land or a property in Crete
Have you checked out Crete Property Uncovered - a review and comment site on Crete's developers, builders and property agents?