Greece: Buying on the mainland and the islands

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Before Greece joined the European Union, overseas nationals were effectively barred from buying most residential property. This has changed under competition directives from Brussels, but the procedures are still somewhat tortuous.

On most Greek islands you must complete all of the following steps in a bureaucratic paper-chase before you are allowed to buy:

* Obtain a Blue Card, issued by police authorities for all European Union citizens and holders of EU passports. This cannot be obtained by a power of attorney; the EU citizen has to attend in person.

* Obtain a Tax Code Number, by registering at the local tax office.

* Get clearance from the Frontier Territory Committee. In Rhodes it sits once a week, on Wednesday.

* Submit all the documents listed above to the local tax office to calculate the Transfer Tax paid by you, the purchaser.

* Sign the contract. Turn up in person and then allow at least three weeks for an ownership certificate to be issued by the Land Registry.