The property boom of the last few years has brought millions of Pounds and Euros into Turkey as buyers from the UK and Europe snapped up properties in the coastal resorts of Turkey.  But the risky property purchase system has left many financial casualties. Now one concerned property owner is calling for a change to the system.

The property boom of the last few years brought millions of Pounds and Euros into Turkey as buyers from the UK and Europe snapped up properties in the coastal resorts of Turkey.

But the risky property purchase system has left many financial casualties and one concerned property owner is calling for a change to the system.

Gold Rush

Thanks to TV programmes like ‘A Place in the Sun’ Turkey became one of the “good value” hot spots for British people buying abroad when the property boom began in 2003.

Turkish coastal regions became the new Spanish Costa’s as people who were priced out of the traditional markets of southern European countries looked for the next great investment opportunity or just for a place in the sun.

Property was the new ‘Gold  Rush’ in Turkey.

Buyer Beware

Turkish and Foreign entrepreneurs set themselves up as estate agents, developers or property investment experts even if they had no prior experience or suitable qualifications.

But the Turkish property conveyance system and associated processes, the way a person buys and sells property, is a far cry from the regulated and safer UK system.

The 2008 Global Real Estate Transparency Index, produced by consultants Jones Lang la Salle, describes the Turkish real estate as “Low” in terms of transparency, along side countries such as Columbia, Peru, Vietnam and others.

Turkey is ranked 67th out of 81. In contrast the UK is ranked 5th in the world.

Whilst the report looks at the processes surrounding the commercial property market the findings seem to echo those of the private property market.

The report says “…Turkey, which has accession status [to the EU]….has remained a market characterised by low transparency, and there has been little improvement in either its score or ranking since 2006”

Without the safety net of a UK style regulated property conveyance system the possibility for fraud or error is very high.

Before 2008 Turkish mortgages were not available so the only way people could buy was in cash. For British buyers this was usually drawn down by extending loans against their ever growing house value in the UK.

But without a bank protecting their loans by ensuring the normal mortgage type checks on titles, legal contracts, planning permissions and surveys buyers were on their own.

Some chose not to take professional advice relying on good luck and trust.

But even more cautious buyers who did employ ‘professionals’ were not guaranteed a safe passage.

Some ‘professionals’ sacrificed their clients for a quick buck by working closely with developers, withholding important information or simply making mistakes.


Casualties

Many property transactions have been successful but a number of buyers have faced problems, ranging from small inconveniences and annoyances to the loss of large sums of money.

In the most extreme cases buyers who had handed over large sums of cash have been left with nothing when builders went bust, agents ran off, banks/land owners repossessed property to recover builder debts or professionals worked against their clients.

In other cases buyers have been over charged, left with title deeds that limit future ownership or sale, have structural faults, boundary disputes, planning breaches, wrong permissions leading to subsequent fines – the list goes on and on.

The many internet forums used by British citizens are dotted with property disaster stories.

The stories make harrowing reading and the writers are bitter and angry at their Turkish buying experience that has not only left them out of pocket but also cynical about Turkey.

Time for Change

Now property owner, Carol Kemp, is calling for a change in the Turkish property conveyance and associated processes that are seen as being the reason why some property purchasers have been left out of pocket.

She has set up an online petition calling for a change in the law.

Carol, a resident of Didim on the Aegean coast, says

“I decided to set up the petition because of all the problems people have buying property in Turkey. 

There seem to be no definitive rules,  no set costs etc. 

The present system needs to be more transparent.

It is planned that the petition and other information will be used to encourage the Turkish government to reform the whole property buying and selling process so that people are better protected.”

The petition had attracted 170 signatures and many with comments when we logged on to the site earlier this week.

If you would like to put your name or comments to the petition, or just read the wide range of views posted, then visit the ipetitions website here.

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