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International Buyer’s Guide for Buying Property in Istanbul (and Turkey in General)

Bureaucratic processes have been simplified for those who want to invest in real estate in Turkey, which has the world's one of the most popular countries for buying a property. Turkey abolished the "reciprocity principle" in 2012, paving the way for citizens of 184 countries to buy property in Turkey. With the increase in exchange rates in recent years, a great increase is observed in real estate investments made by foreigners in Turkey. Despite the pandemic, Turkey took its place in the top 10 in the list of countries selling the most real estate in the world in 2020. For Turkey, 2021 was a record-breaking year in real estate sales to foreigners.

Yes, foreigners can buy property in Istanbul and in Turkey in general. In addition to that, foreigners do not need a residence permit to buy real estate in Turkey. Decisions regarding the purchase of real estate by foreigners in Turkey are regulated by Articles 35 and 36 of the Land Registry Law No. 2644. According to this law, foreigners from almost all countries of the world can buy property such as housing or land from Istanbul (and Turkey). However, the law also includes some exceptions. These exceptions are;
- Citizens of Turkey's neighboring countries cannot buy real estate from the border regions. E.g; Bulgarian citizens cannot buy real estate in Edirne. Or, Iraqi citizens cannot acquire property in Hakkari.
- it is not possible to sell property to foreigners in the areas within the borders of the "military security zone".
- The total area of real estate that foreigners can buy from Turkey is limited with 30 hectares. With the decision of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Turkey, this figure can be increased up to 60 hectares.

The process of foreigners buying real estate in Turkey starts with research and ends with registration at the land registry office. The bureaucratic processes that must be fulfilled in order for both Turks and foreigners to purchase real estate in Turkey have been simplified. You can usually register the title deed within 1 day. After determining the real estate to be purchased, necessary documents must be provided for completion of deed registration process.

If you want to buy real estate in Turkey, you have to follow these steps;
1-) Determining the Real Estate to be Purchased: The most important step that foreigners should pay attention to when buying property Turkey is to identify the most suitable option for them. To narrow down the options in accordance with your investment purpose; You can work with professional real estate brokerage companies that reveal the location characteristics of the real estates, the advantages and disadvantages of the projects, prepare the feasibility reports for you and support you in all your processes, from title deed to tax payments.
On the other hand, you can also go to individual research for the real estate that you wish to buy in Turkey. However, it is useful to keep in mind that it will take a lot of time and due to language barriers and other undesirable situations may occur. If you are not familiar with the Turkish real estate market, you can avoid possible material and moral damages by taking advantage of the guidance of experienced experts.
2-) Making an Appointment for Land Registry Procedures: After you have determined the property you will buy in Istanbul or Turkey; you can proceed to the stage of making an appointment through the Land Registry and Cadastre General Directorate Land Registry Appointment System. With the documents you have prepared in advance, you can easily perform the deed registration process on the date and time of the appointment.
If you want to carry out the title deed transactions before coming to Turkey, you can apply to the land registry and cadastre representatives of the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization abroad. As the overseas land registry and cadastral representation practice has just begun, it is limited to certain countries for now. You can go to the embassies and consulates of Turkey in the country you are in and find out whether you can benefit from the foreign land registry application.
3-) Submitting the Required Documents

When you go to your appointment at the land registry and cadastre directorates for title deed registry, your documents should not be incomplete or incorrect. You cannot perform deed transactions with missing or incorrect documents. List of the required documents required for title deed registration as follows;
· Passport (Orignal)
· Notarized Translation of the Passport
· Real Estate Valuation Report
· Title Deed
· Real Estate Price Declaration Document
· Passport Size Photo
· Compulsory Earthquake Insurance Policy
· Tax Identification Number
· Documents of the licensed Translator
At the stage of obtaining the required documents, you will need to contact different official institutions. E.g; In order to get the real estate price declaration document, you must apply to the municipality where the residence is connected. The real estate valuation report can be obtained from the institutions announced by the Capital Markets Board (CMB) and its validity period is limited to 3 months. You must complete your deed transactions within 3 months after receiving the property valuation report. A power of attorney is issued if one of the parties cannot participate in the land registry process. A power of attorney can be issued at a notary public or at consulates abroad. Power of attorney issued in a foreign language must be translated into Turkish by a notary public.

In case foreigners buy real estate in Turkey, there are various expenses other than the real estate sales price:
1-) Expenses for Documents Required in Land Registry:
These are the expenses you will make before going to the land registry. In order to carry out the title deed transactions of the real estate you bought from Turkey, you must provide the documents requested by the land registry and cadastre directorates. Some of these documents are subject to a fee. Property valuation report and compulsory earthquake insurance policy are delivered to you for a certain fee. If any of the parties is not present in the land registry, notary expenses arise for power of attorney and translation procedures. You may have to pay for a sworn translator in cases where there is a foreign language barrier during deed registration. Document expenses can be outlined as,
· Notary Document Expenses: apx. 250-500 USD
· Property Valuation Report: apx. 200-250 USD
· Translator Fee: apx. 100-120 USD
2-) Title Deed Registry Fee:
The real estate title deed fee is paid “at the time of sale”. 2% of the real estate sale price is paid as title deed fee. Both the seller and the buyer are obliged to pay the title deed fee at equal rates (2%). Title deed fee is paid in all real estate and land sales transactions.
3-) Real Estate Brokerage Commission:
Real estate brokerage commission is the payments you make to real estate agents that help you find the real estate you want to buy and carry out some transactions for you. Real estate brokerage commission is collected at the rate of 2% from both the buyer and the seller.

1-) Maintenance and Subscription Fees:
You may need to pay monthly maintenance and cleaning fees for your residence or workplace after the real estate sale is completed. Depending on the project you have purchased, the amount of the dues payments varies. Usually, in Istanbul, maintenance fees change between 0,25 USD to 1.5 USD per square meter. In addition, for utility registrations such as gas, electricity and water, you will be charged a security deposit fee for one time only which is around 100 USD in total.
2-) Property Tax:
Foreigners who buy real estate in Turkey are liable to pay property tax as well as Turkish Citizens. Property tax begins to be paid 1 year after the purchase. The amount of real estate tax varies according to the region where the real estate is located. In metropolitan cities such as Istanbul, property tax rate is %0,001 of the property price per annum
3-) Real Estate Income Tax:
Real estate income tax is an expense that will arise if you rent the property you have purchased in Turkey. Real estate income tax is paid twice a year, in March and June. Real estate income tax ranges change between 15% to 40% depending on the level of income that is generated as rental income.

1-) Real Estate Income Tax:
If you sell the real estate you bought in Turkey within the first 5 years, you have to pay the real estate income tax under the name of "value increase gain". Value increase refers to the profit from the sale. After deducting the initial price and inflation rate through years, the remaining amount is determined as the value increase gain. You must notify the official institutions within the year you sell the property. The rate of real estate income tax varies between 15% and 40%. The payment of the increase in value is made in 2 installments, in March and June.
Sample calculation for Real Estate Income Tax, (Selling back in 3 years)
Initial Price of the Property (The price that you bought the property): 1,000,000 TL
Inflation Rate Added Price (e.g %20 per annum for 3 years): 1,728,000 TL
Sales Price of the Property (The price that you sold the property): 2,500,000 TL.
Taxable Income: 2,500,000 – 1,728,000 = 772,000 TL
Real Estate Income tax: 250,100 TL
2-) VAT (Value Added Tax):
Foreigners who bought real estate in Turkey were obliged to pay VAT until 2017. After the regulation made in 2017, the obligation to pay VAT for foreigners who do not live in Turkey and make purchases in foreign currency was lifted. However, If the property is sold within the first year, the VAT is paid with interest.

Yes, foreigners who want to buy property in Turkey can apply to Turkish banks for a mortgage. In order to take advantage of the mortgage opportunities of Turkish banks with installments of up to 120 months, it is sufficient to have a valid payroll in your own country. The amount of financial support you can receive is calculated with the calculations to be made on the appraisal value of the house you purchased. You can apply to Turkish banks personally or through the person you have given the power of attorney for the mortgage. Along with the original of the documents requested in the application, the copies translated into Turkish by sworn translators and certified by the notary public must also be submitted to the authorities. You can choose the one that suits you from among the banks with different interest rates and payment plans. Usually, banks give mortgage for %50 of the total amount for foreign customers.

Official procedures required for real estate purchase in Turkey can be carried out within 1 day. In case the parties are at the land registry office on the date and time of the appointment for the title deed registration, the transactions are completed in a short time. In order not to encounter any problems during deed registration, the documents must be provided in full.
The supply of documents can be provided within 1 day, as long as there is no problem that will delay the process. With complete and correct documents, you can easily complete your title deed registration without being stuck with bureaucratic obstacles. For those who want to buy real estate in Turkey, bureaucratic processes have been greatly simplified.

In order to find real estate in Istanbul and Turkey, you can search by your own means, or you can contact with real estate brokerage companies. Turkey is a country where project diversity is high and regional characteristics diverge too much. When buying real estate in Turkey, you have to consider many details such as the location, age of the building, square meters, number of rooms and landscaping. While trying to find the ideal real estate investment for yourself, you may experience a lot of indecision due to insufficient information. On the other hand, having a language barrier can lead to misunderstandings or undesirable situations. If you do not know someone who knows the real estate market in Turkey well and can help you; it is recommended to audit more than one real estate brokerage firm and proceed with the selected one.

Yes, foreigners can obtain Turkish citizenship by real estate investment. People who do not work in Turkey and who invest in immovable property such as an apartment or commercial property in amounts determined by the presidential decision have the right to apply for Turkish citizenship. In addition to foreign people investing in real estate in Turkey; Spouses and children under the age of 18 can also apply for Turkish citizenship. With the latest regulations made in 2018, foreigners who have invested at least $250,000 in real estate in Turkey can apply for Turkish Citizenship through Real Estate to the General Directorate of Population and Citizenship Affairs under the Ministry of Interior of Turkey. If you make your real estate investment in another currency instead of dollars, it should be equivalent to $250,000. If you are considering applying for Turkish citizenship, you cannot transfer the real estate you have purchased to another person for 3 years. In order for foreigners to acquire Turkish citizenship through real estate investment, a 3-year transfer annotation is placed during the title deed transactions. Detailed information can be found on our Turkish Citizenship page.

Yes, foreigners who invest in real estate in Turkey can obtain a residence permit. The duration of the residence permit obtained through real estate investment is 1 year. This 1-year period is renewable annually. Spouses and children of foreigners who own real estate can also benefit from the residencepermit. If you have a work permit in Turkey, you do not need to apply for a separate residence permit. Because the work permit also includes the residence permit. If you want to get a residence permit through real estate in Istanbul or Turkey, the real estate you buy must be a residence and you must be residing in it. You cannot obtain a residence permit if you are buying a commercial property or if you intend to rent the house you bought instead of living by yourself.
Obtaining a residence permit should not be confused with obtaining Turkish citizenship through real estate investment. Even if you live in Turkey by obtaining a residence permit for 5 years by renewing it every year, you cannot switch to Turkish citizenship through real estate investment. For Turkish citizenship, your real estate investment must be worth at least 250 thousand dollars.

Legal reviews need to be carried out to check whether the title deed is safe to purchase. When you apply to the land registry and cadastre general directorates in the future, you can find out if there are any restrictions on the title deed. You can also have information about whether the zoning status of the real estate reflects the truth or whether it poses a problem in terms of property tax. If you cannot control it yourself, you can hire a real estate valuation expert. Real Estate Valuation firms are allowed to inspect the property from official authorities with every aspect.

There are many methods to check whether the price of the property you want to buy in Turkey is correct. The first of these, and the obligatory one for foreigners, is the real estate valuation report. The real estate valuation report is prepared by independent real estate appraisers. It is necessary to determine the suitability of the sales amount determined between the buyer and the seller, taking into account the age, qualifications and peer reviews of the building.
If you want to check the accuracy of the real estate price without an appraisal report, you can consider the prices of comparable real estate in the same location. You can compare the real estate you are considering to buy with similar buildings with the same square meter size, building age and facade. On the other hand, it should not be forgotten that factors such as pool, security and landscaping will affect the price. You can search for the prices of buildings or plots with similar characteristics in the same region as the real estate you are considering to buy.
Alternatively, you can work with real estate companies in Istanbul or Turkey to check the price of real estate and submit you a detailed report.

In order to buy real estate in Turkey, it is not a legal requirement to get real estate brokerage services, but it provides convenience during the sales process. You may need real estate brokerage services in Istanbul or Turkey from both experienced and reliable companies so that you do not experience loss of rights and the process can progress quickly.
Real estate brokerage firms give an opportunity to evaluate the location information of real estates, square meters, age and condition of the building, floor height, number of rooms, floor plans and ceiling heights. Then the buyers have the opportunity to compare the quality, prices and potential of the projects. Always keep in mind to audit more than one real estate brokerage firms to be able to compare the quality of the service.

When purchasing real estate in Turkey, having a lawyer is not a legal obligation. It is expected for the buyer and the seller to be present at the land registry office with the required documents during the sale process. On the other hand, in the preparation and examination of sales or pre-sales contracts, you may need lawyers to check whether there are any restrictions on the real estate.

Iraq is one of the countries that buy the most property from Turkey. Citizens of Iran, Russia, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kuwait, Yemen, United Kingdom, Kazakhstan and Germany also show great interest in purchasing real estate in Turkey. Countries such as China, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Senegal and Dominica continue to increase their interest in Turkey due to the right to citizenship granted by real estate investment.

Yes, foreigners can also buy agricultural land in Turkey. The total land size that foreigners will purchase from Turkey can be 30 hectares at most. With the decision of the Council of Ministers, this figure can be doubled. In addition, it is stated by law that the agricultural land that foreigners can purchase cannot exceed 10% of the area of the district to which they belong. During the title deed transactions, you must sign a letter of undertaking stating that all the real estates you have purchased from Turkey do not exceed 30 hectares. If it is determined that the agricultural land you have purchased exceeds the given amount and rates, the surplus will be liquidated. The lowest limit that can be purchased from agricultural lands is determined by looking at the status of agricultural lands in the provinces and districts and taking into account special norms such as wetland, dry and olive groves. Agricultural lands to be purchased by foreigners should not be located within the borders of the "military security zone". In your application to the Land Registry Directorate, different documents may be requested for agricultural lands with and without a zoning permit. You should also check whether there is a mortgage or lien on the farmland you are considering purchasing.
When foreigners go to the Land Registry Office to purchase agricultural land, they are asked to sign a letter of undertaking stating what they will use the agricultural land for. The project, which is planned to be implemented in agricultural land, must be submitted for the approval of the Land Registry Directorate in the province where the agricultural land is registered within 2 years. Only agricultural projects approved by the Land Registry Directorate are implemented. Purchasing agricultural land does not mean obtaining a residence permit or naturalization. Therefore, in order for urgent correspondence to progress quickly, T.C. You must appoint a national of yours as a legal representative with a notarized power of attorney. Written documents are sent to the full address of the official representative you have appointed and are expected to follow the process.
In case it is determined that the agricultural land is used for purposes other than the purpose for which it was committed or the project is not implemented within 2 years, liquidation is carried out. The Ministry of Finance takes care of the liquidation process.

Buying property in Istanbul and other cities of Turkey is a very profitable investment. Due to the high exchange rates, it is possible for foreigners to purchase real estate in Turkey at very affordable prices. In addition, considering the potential of real estates to be rented for 12 months in metropolitan cities such as Istanbul; real estate investment offers a high and stable rental income.
Real estate investments in Turkey are followed with great interest by foreigners because of facilitating real estate investment procedures for foreigners, providing opportunities such as Turkish citizenship and residence permit obtained through real estate investment. In addition to these, real estate investments of both companies and real persons are oriented towards Turkey, since it has a branded metropolis like Istanbul.
Turkey attracts the attention of foreign investors with its advantageous geopolitical location, climate conditions where you can experience 4 seasons, natural beauties, young population and tourism potential. It has the most reliable commercial crossing points and transportation networks. At the intersection of East and West, it offers profitable investments for foreigners.
Istanbul, which is one of the cities where foreigners buy the most real estate in Turkey, is a unique city that is shown among the world capitals with its historical and cultural heritage. As a city with a population of 15 million, Istanbul is more crowded than 131 countries in the world. In addition, the economy of Istanbul is in the 34th place in the world ranking. On the other hand, it has unique qualities with its cosmopolitan structure, Bosphorus view and natural beauties. It is a city of 2 continents with its lands in both Asia and Europe. It has a transportation connection with 9 large and small islands around it. It is one of the world's business, education, economy, health, trade and tourism centers. However, compared to many European cities, it is much cheaper to live in a metropolis like Istanbul. Needs such as electricity, water, natural gas, food, health and shelter can be met at very reasonable prices for foreigners. When it comes to long-term investments, you can evaluate real estate investments in the center or developing districts of Istanbul. Istanbul has 39 districts and the square meter price for real estate in each district varies. In the Istanbul real estate sector, real estate prices are higher in central districts, which are close to public transport lines, airport, universities and educational institutions, health institutions and shopping centers. When buying property in Istanbul, foreigners should pay attention to the location information, whether it is in Asia or Europe. Turkish Airlines has made the regions close to airports more attractive for real estate investments with its flights to 323 different regions of the world.
If you are a foreigner working in Istanbul, you can buy housing from areas close to your office. Istanbul is a metropolis where people from 75 different countries live. It is a place where many foreigners work and live. Considering the historical importance of the city, it will be understood that Istanbul will not lose its value even as time passes. For this reason, acquiring real estate while working in Istanbul will have very profitable results in the long run.
It also hosts mega real estate projects with swimming pools, saunas, security systems, tennis courts, gyms, cafes and shopping centers in Istanbul. You can choose projects close to city centers where you don't have to go away to socialize.
Due to the rapid population growth in Turkey and urban transformations to improve city plans, the real estate sector offers high profit opportunities. Real estate draws attention as one of the sectors that keeps the Turkish economy alive.

Turkish Citizenship by Investment

With the no. 5901 Turkish Citizenship Law which is published on Turkish Official Gazette on 19.09.2018, foreigners who buy 250.000 USD worth of real estate in Turkey will have a right to obtain Turkish Citizenship for themselves, their spouses and children.

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