Caveat Emptor

Liam and I love living in our little stone cottage tucked away in the middle of old Bodrum Town. A perilous spark, a sieve-like roof, heat exhaustion and frostbite have not put us off. Our neighbours are a joy and the locals are warm, welcoming and obliging. We feel blessed. We rent and are thankful for the freedom. We can move as we please and when the mood takes us. We have been mercifully released from that inbred notion to own (something we Brits nurture in the womb).

For some, the dream can turn sour. For years now, we’ve read reports about people buying property abroad falling foul of unscrupulous builders, vendors, agents or officials. Some of the stories are enough to make you weep, particularly when the unsuspecting lose their shirts in a single dodgy deal. Sadly, it’s a phenomenon which afflicts many countries around the world – not just Turkey – and the laws which protect such people vary from country to country.

I was recently contacted by a member of the Turkish Living Forum who is fronting a campaign for change in Turkey. He points out that while many people successfully purchase property here, there are plenty of examples of those who have a really rough ride. He’s not alone in this view. The Turkish press is littered with examples of  scams and only last year, police raided the Central Tapu Office in Bodrum.

Of course, fraud can afflict all buyers, foreign and Turkish alike. But for foreigners, coming to grips with the complexities of unfamiliar property law in a foreign land can be a daunting task. Not to mention an emotional one.

Wherever you are willing to splash out, in Turkey or elsewhere, it clearly makes sense to do your homework. Do everything you can to understand the buying process, get good legal advice, don’t be tempted by cost-cutting shortcuts and don’t dish the dosh unless you are absolutely sure that everything is above board. Let’s face it, that’s exactly what you’d do in your own country so why lose your head (and possibly your life savings) when abroad? If it looks too good to be true, the chances are it is. There are plenty of people around who can offer good advice.

Turkey is a fabulous and seductive country to live or invest in. Dreams really can come true if you do it right and the authorities play their part too.