Some years ago we decided to buy a property abroad initially for holidays and then eventually with a view to retiring. After many trips to different places we decided on the Island of Cyprus, the main reason being for the relaxed attitude of the Cypriots, the low crime rate and low cost of living, also we were put off Spain due to the horror stories being published in the British papers regarding land grabs etc.
We visited many parts of the Island, but eventually we felt that the East coast was where we would like to settle. Initially we were very apprehensive and I suppose unsure of handing over what was to us a large amount of money. So with this in mind we paid a deposit on an 'off plan' 1 bedroomed apartment in Paralimni. The buying process was very easy and hassle free, and once we had made up our minds we were taken to a lawyers office where we signed our contract and handed over our deposit. We got worried at one point as we thought that as we had not heard anything from the developer that maybe they had gone bust or worse..run off with our money, this was certainly not the case. We could not believe how easy it had been, we felt that something should have gone wrong, but nothing did.
We took delivery of the flat in April 2004 and it was everything that had been promised to us. We stayed in the flat a couple of times and then we placed it on the market as we realised that we would like to live in Cyprus, it was definitely the place for us, but we would need to buy a bigger place, so we have been through the whole process again. My one regret, if any, is that we should have jumped in with both feet and bought something bigger in the first instance and not to have been as apprehensive as we were and to have faith and trust in the people who helped us.
I would say there are a few simple rules to follow when buying a property in another country:-
1) Find a good agent who will show you many different properties and who is willing to discuss and explore all your options.
2) Find a good lawyer who is not ''in bed'' with any developers.
3) Many of us now have the finest tool at our disposal..the Internet...Use It. There are many websites that you can find to gain all the information that you need, one of the best is the Eastern owners site where you can ask people who have bought properties over in Cyprus questions about lawyers and developers etc.
This is the nutshell version of our experience, I do not regret one minute of the whole process and have done it again, in fact when our new place is built we are thinking of putting it straight on the market so that we can move further inland as we would like to live in a quiet Cypriot village.
Karen and Leslie Irwin