Acquisition Process of Real Estate by Foreign Individuals in Turkey

The process of acquiring real estate in Turkey entered a new era with the amendments to Law No. 6302 that came into effect in May. These changes particularly affected the acquisition process for foreign individuals and led to some significant innovations.

Abolishment of the Reciprocity Principle and Changes Introduced by Law No. 6302

Previously, Article 35 of the Tapu Law No. 2644 emphasized the reciprocity principle for the acquisition of real estate in Turkey by foreign individuals. However, with the enactment of Law No. 6302, this principle was abandoned, and there is no longer a requirement for reciprocity for foreign individuals. This makes it easier for foreign investors to access the real estate market in Turkey.

Foreign individuals encounter certain details in the process of acquiring real estate in Turkey:

No specific permission is required for foreign individuals to acquire real estate in Turkey, but they are subject to legal and administrative processes. Therefore, it is important to obtain the necessary permits and undergo the required checks before the title acquisition process.

The process of acquiring real estate can be complex. Therefore, foreign individuals should contact the Turkish Embassy or Consulate in their countries to obtain up-to-date information and guidelines.

Legal consultancy is crucial in the process of acquiring real estate in Turkey. A professional lawyer can help foreign individuals understand their rights and obligations.

Before acquiring real estate in Turkey, foreign individuals should carefully examine land registry records and take necessary precautions to prevent potential issues related to ownership.

Foreign individuals should understand their tax obligations when acquiring real estate in Turkey and take the necessary steps in this regard.

This process has become more accessible for foreign individuals than before.

Property Transfer and Official Contracts: Legal Process and Key Points

The acquisition of real estate in Turkey must be carried out in accordance with legal regulations. This process requires the official contracts aimed at the transfer of property to be executed, especially at the Tapu Registries. Additionally, a "sales promise agreement" signed before a notary public is an important stage in this process.

Execution of Official Contracts at Tapu Registries: Official contracts for the transfer of real estate, to be legally valid, must be prepared and signed at the Tapu Registries. These registries are responsible for maintaining records of real estate and officially registering property ownership in the relevant provinces and districts. The Tapu Registry Directorate in the province and district where the real estate is located is responsible for preparing official documents, registering them, and completing the transfer of ownership.

Sales Promise Agreement and Signature Before a Notary: In the process of transferring real estate ownership, a "sales promise agreement" can be signed between the parties before a notary public. This agreement stands out as a document that includes mutual commitments between the buyer and the seller. The sales promise agreement establishes the basic conditions for the sale of real estate and regulates the obligations of the parties. This stage is a precautionary step that provides assurance between the parties before the actual transfer of the property.

Acquiring Ownership through Title Deed Registration: After the sale process, the final transfer of real estate ownership and the assurance of the buyer's ownership are achieved through the registration process at the Tapu Registries. In this process, the official sales contract and other necessary documents are examined. The title deed is updated, and the ownership of the real estate is officially registered in the name of the buyer. At this point, the new owner is officially determined, and the ownership rights are transferred to them.

Legal Limitations and Key Points for Foreigners in Real Estate Acquisition in Turkey

The acquisition of real estate by foreigners in Turkey is subject to specific legal limitations. These limitations regulate the purchase of real estate for business or residential purposes by foreign individuals.

A. Area Restrictions:

Foreigners can purchase real estate in Turkey for business or residential use. However, there are restrictions on the total area of real estate that a foreign individual can purchase in Turkey. Even for acquisitions in different cities, a foreign person cannot exceed 30 hectares in total. This limitation aims to control large-scale land or real estate acquisitions by foreigners.

B. Military Permission and Security Zones:

Foreigners must obtain permission from military authorities before purchasing real estate in certain areas. If the property is located in a security zone, the sale process to foreigners cannot be completed. Therefore, obtaining military permissions is crucial, especially for properties located in security zones. This issue should be clarified before making any payments, as sales transactions for properties in security zones may be restricted.

Application and Required Documents

The acquisition of real estate in Turkey has specific procedures for foreign individuals. During the application process, individuals applying to the relevant land registry offices must provide the following documents:

Identification Documents or Passports: Foreign individuals must present their identification documents or passports when applying for real estate acquisition. These documents are necessary to verify the identity of the person and legally initiate the process of real estate acquisition.

Residence Permits for Foreigners Subject to Residence Permission: Foreign individuals subject to residence permits must submit their residence permits obtained from the relevant security directorates when applying. This document ensures the official involvement of individuals with residence permits in the process of real estate acquisition in Turkey.

Power of Attorney and Translations: Foreign individuals can apply for real estate acquisition based on powers of attorney granted from abroad. However, the original or a certified copy of these powers of attorney must be included. Additionally, translations of the powers of attorney into Turkish are required.

Submitting these documents accurately and correctly during the application process contributes to the smooth and rapid progress of the real estate acquisition process. These documents are requested to ensure that the legal steps for real estate acquisition are taken in accordance with the Turkish legal system. Foreign individuals need to prepare these documents thoroughly to apply for real estate acquisition and take the necessary legal steps.

Title Deed Check and Limited Real Rights

Before acquiring real estate in Turkey, a critical step that should be taken before signing sales contracts is to ensure the necessary checks from the relevant land registry office. This stage involves determining whether the property is subject to limited real rights, whether it is mortgaged, or whether there are any obstacles to the sale.

1. Check for Limited Real Rights: Checking whether there are limited real rights on the property provides significant assurance for both the buyer and the seller. These rights, such as usufruct, easement, or usage rights, may restrict the use of the property. Identifying whether the property is subject to such rights is important for preventing future issues for the buyer.

2. Mortgage Status Check: Another critical issue is whether the property is mortgaged. If the property has a mortgage, it can affect the ownership that the buyer will assume. The mortgage status determines the financial obligations on the property and how these obligations will be resolved. Therefore, it is necessary to check the mortgage status at the land registry office before the sales contract is signed.

3. Check for Obstacles to Sale: Checking for obstacles to the sale, such as court orders, on the property is also crucial. Situations like these can prevent the valid transfer of property ownership and disrupt the sales process. Identifying such issues before the actual sale is important for taking precautions.

Considerations for Foreigners in Real Estate Acquisition in Turkey:

Turkey has become an attractive destination for foreigners wishing to acquire property due to its beauty and dynamic lifestyle. However, there are some important considerations in this process. The key points that foreigners should take into account

1. Acquisition of Immovables of Every Kind in Terms of Quality: Foreign individuals can acquire immovables of every kind, such as residences, workplaces, plots, or fields, as long as they comply with the legal restrictions in the country. This provides foreign investors with access to a wide range of properties, offering various options.

2. Approval of Projects to be Developed: Foreigners are obligated to develop their projects on undeveloped immovables (land, fields) they purchase. These projects must be approved by the relevant Ministry, and foreign individuals are required to submit their projects to the competent authority within two years.

3. Official Contracts and Land Registry Offices: Official contracts for the transfer of property must be prepared in accordance with the applicable legislation in Turkey. These contracts are executed through official deeds and registration at the Land Registry Offices. However, the acquisition of property is not finalized through a "preliminary sales agreement" or an external sales contract signed in the presence of a notary.

4. Legal Restrictions: One of the most crucial aspects of legal restrictions in the acquisition of immovables by foreigners is to check whether the real estate to be sold is located in military and private security zones. This process is carried out by applying to the competent command through the Land Registry Offices and is completed in approximately 1 to 1.5 months.

5. Total Immovable Area Restriction: Throughout the country, a foreign individual can purchase and acquire limited real rights for a maximum of 30 hectares (300,000 m2). Additionally, acquisition of real estates and limited real rights is allowed up to 10% of the district area subject to private ownership.

6. No Legal Restrictions on Mortgage Establishment: Legal restrictions do not apply to the establishment of mortgages on immovables in favor of commercial companies with legal personality established in foreign countries by real persons.

Legal Process

1. Preparation of Powers of Attorney: Powers of attorney issued by the Embassy or Consulate of the Republic of Turkey do not require certification by the Turkish Consulate when notarized by foreign country notaries in accordance with the Hague Convention. However, powers of attorney issued by notaries of countries not party to the Hague Convention need to be approved by the Turkish Consulate.

2. Verification of Restrictions on the Property: Before acquiring immovable property, it is essential to check for restrictions such as mortgages or seizures on the property. This information, obtained from the relevant Land Registry Office, allows for the identification of impediments to the sale of the property in advance.

3. Possibility of Objection Application: In case the application for the acquisition of immovable property is rejected, an objection can be made to the Regional Directorate to which the Land Registry Office is affiliated. This process provides the applicant with the opportunity to understand the reason for the rejection and, if necessary, make corrections.

4. Selection of a Reliable Business Partner: During the process of acquiring immovables, it is crucial to avoid working with unreliable individuals or companies. Agreements made with unreliable business partners can lead to future legal and financial issues.

5. No Requirement for Residence Permit: Foreigners do not need to obtain a residence permit to acquire immovable property in Turkey. This makes the procedures for property acquisition more accessible.

6. Resolution of Disputes and Court Process: In case of disputes between parties during the acquisition of immovables, it is necessary to file a lawsuit in Turkish Republic courts by resorting to judicial authorities. This process provides an effective way to resolve legal disputes.

Real Estate Transactions in Turkey for Foreigners: The Role of Lawyers

While Turkey opens its doors to international investors, it provides the necessary legal infrastructure for foreigners to carry out real estate transactions such as buying, selling, and leasing properties. In this process, legal representatives and lawyers play a crucial role for foreigners, taking on significant responsibilities to protect the rights of their clients and ensure the smooth completion of transactions.

Role of Lawyers:

Lawyers provide legal counseling to foreign clients during real estate transactions. They can assist in the legal examination of contracts and documents, evaluate potential risks, and, if necessary, take corrective measures. They ensure the correct and legal execution of title deeds. By conducting a detailed review of title deeds, property rights, and other essential documents, they secure the rights of their clients. They play a significant role in preparing and reviewing contracts related to real estate transactions. They ensure the creation of legally sound contracts on behalf of clients and, when needed, engage in negotiations. They can handle both real estate purchase and sale transactions and the preparation of lease agreements, regulating and monitoring the leasing relationships of clients living in foreign countries.