Investing In Turkey – What You Should Know About The TAPU

Investing in a foreign country can cause a lot of headaches for the unwary. So before you can enjoy the many benefits of investing in property in Turkey, I thought it would be useful to advise you about the most important thing you need to prove your ownership – the TAPU.

Have you ever watched the movie, Ice Age? One of the characters is a squirrel who has an obsession with acorns. He can often be seen chasing around after one, only to end up disappointed when his quest ends in failure. Just when he has that acorn in his grasp, something happens to take it away from him.

In the most recent movie, he actually manages to find a place where he can treat himself to as many of acorns as he wants. Unfortunately it still doesn’t work out. Even though he has an opportunity to get very wealthy (in acorn terms), the island he finds himself on sinks beneath the waves and leaves him empty handed.

I sometimes hear about people suffering the same fate when they invest in Turkish property, they find their ideal property in a dream location only to find they end up with nothing when they realise all was not as it seemed and they didn’t legally own the property in the first place.

It can be very exciting to hear about Istanbul, for example, where prices are currently rising at 11.5% per annum. Property in Turkey can still be purchased for the price of a good family car, so investors can end up focusing more on the property and the amazing deal they are getting than the small print on their contracts.

Just like our Ice Age squirrel they get carried away with their quest.

At the very least as an investor in Turkish property, you will need to have in your possession a TAPU. This is the most important document you need. You wouldn’t invest in a property in the UK, for example, without a title deed and likewise the TAPU is needed to prove ownership of an apartment, house, land or complex in Turkey.

There have been cases where people have invested in coastal developments in Turkey, only to find that the developer has sold on the land to a third party. Some unscrupulous developers will even take the money and leave a property ‘owner’ without a TAPU and no proof of ownership.

A little due diligence can save tens of thousands as can hiring a good Turkish lawyer who can understand a document that will be written in their native language.

In some cases it may take some time to obtain a TAPU, however in the event of an earthquake there will be no protection without it. Government Dask insurance which protects property against potential destruction from earthquakes is only available to those Turkish property owners with a Tapu.

The probability of a major earthquake in Turkey is high, with ten occurring in the past 30 years alone, so it would be high risk to put things off too long, even if you can wait for proof of ownership.

My advice is, no matter how good that property looks in the brochure and how much you want it, you should not be waiting more than three months for your TAPU to arrive – if you do, you could be left empty handed.

Have you been left waiting for a TAPU? Please leave your comments below:

Kind Regards
Loxley McKenzie

Managing Director