The Real Cost of Owning a Property in Rhodes.
Buying a holiday home is an exciting decision to make and a thrilling one to fulfill. Rhodes is a good choice of location for several reasons – good accessibility summer and winter, good health facilities, land registry system and established on the tourism market if you have commercial intent for your property. Not forgetting its glorious climate with clement winters and scorching summers, miles of coastline and endless blue sea. No doubt you have researched your market, checked and double checked your budget, seen numerous properties and walked away to sleep on it and discuss your decision over an ice cold beer under a star filled sky. But have you considered how much you can afford or are willing to pay to maintain your property?
Undoubtedly the easiest type of property to maintain is the apartment. If it is in a block of other apartments there is usually a yearly fee to pay for the cleaning and upkeep of communal areas. If your apartment will be empty for long periods of time you will need a management company to collect mail and pay utility bills for you. It’s also a good idea to have a regular inspection visit of the property; this will bring to light any maintenance issues inside the property.
If you’re buying a renovated house your maintenance will largely depend on how well the house has been renovated! It’s a fact of life that all old houses will encounter delapidations, but if your house is truly old remember that it already has a good track record in the durability stakes! Although we don’t have surveyors here, an architect or civil engineer will be able to cast an experienced eye over the structure and ask prudent questions about the renovation process. From here on a knowledgeable property manager will check regulary for signs of insect infestations, structural deterioration (i.e. pointing in stonework) and quickly facilitate any remedial repairs. If this is the type of house you are considering you should look for a management company with experience in looking after old houses and their associated issues. Your management fees should cover regular inspections of the house and allow for a maintenance plan which includes painting (especially if ‘asvesti’ has been used).
An older property may need replacements from wear and tear over the years. Kitchen and bathroom fittings, electrical appliances and wiring and air conditioning units. If the property was built before 1970 you will have to get a certified electrician to go and make a stamped and signed diagram, then take this to the electric company before putting the electricity in your name. A good property management company will be able to source replacements and have them installed for you; expect to pay them a fee for overseeing work carried out.
Firstly you need to cross yourself and spit three times that you have an honest and reputable developer! Seriously, it really is worth having a neutral party involved in overseeing the building of your property if you are not ‘on site’. There are many decisions to be made: For instance, if you have only ever visited Rhodes in the clement summer months when it is so hot that you cant even stand to have a sheet over you in bed, you may believe that central heating is an unnecessary expense to have installed. Think again. Even if you don’t plan to complete the installation at least get the initial pipe work laid and in place so that when the time comes you will save a lot of upheaval and extra cost.
You will inevitably have a ‘snagging list’ when the build is complete. These are all the little jobs that need tidying up or finishing off. After this has been completed and the house is signed off the developer and his tradesmen are still obliged to fix any problems that you may have in relation to the build. Most problems, if any, usually occur in the first year which is why experienced developers like to tie customers into a property management contract for the next 12-24 months. The ideal solution is to employ an independent property management company who can establish a healthy relationship with the developer, but have your best interests at heart.
You will need your management company to assist you with putting the electricity and water in your name and applying for internet/phone lines. You can give power of attorney to the management company to deal with specific areas of dealing with your house, you will need to set this up while you are in Rhodes.
Villas with pools and gardens
This is the highest maintenance category and therefore the most expensive. On average a three bedroomed villa owner with a 9x5m pool and garden can expect to pay approximately 2700 euros per year for a full management package for home, pool and garden maintenance. The type of planting in your garden will determine the amount of water used for irrigation and the cost of filling your pool. It is essential to get excellent and experienced pool care, not just for the health of you and your guests but also for your pocket. Depending on the area, your pool may cost you between 500 and 1000 euros to fill, and if sloppy pool care leads to having to empty the pool and refill it you will pay twice!
At KPMS Rhodes we are actively promoting drought resistant gardens in order to preserve local resources and help the environment. A drought resistant garden consists of indigenous and complementary planting which is both beautiful to look at and cost effective. This type of planting uses the winter rainfall to gather its water and needs little to no watering during the summer months. We have found that the initial cost of planting this type of garden is similar to that of a lawn, however the maintenance costs and water usage are drastically lower, therefore saving the owner money and helping the local environmental resources.
Your electricity bill comes every two months and usually the bill will alternate from estimated (‘enanti’) to meter read (‘ekatharistiko’). The bill is now split into three parts and includes charges for your electricity used and ‘rates’ from your local municipality which cover refuse collection, street lighting and so forth. Your TV licence (for local greek channels) is also included (ERT). If you haven’t paid an estimated bill the amount will be shown in the 3rd section. The last part of the bill which adds A, B and C together is the final amount you have to pay.
Its worth bearing in mind that the more electricity you use the higher rate you pay. Using energy efficient appliances in your house will make a difference. Also remember to keep windows and doors closed when using air conditioning in the summer and try to avoid using electricity unnecessarily. A night rate electric is also available which is similar to an economy 7 program. You can find details of this on the DEI (electric board) website www.dei.gr
Water bills are quarterly (every three months) and are meter read. Its worth knowing that they fine you if you are late paying your bill! The price of water differs all over Rhodes, some municipalities have staggered rates which charge you a set amount up to a certain amount of water used, then there is a sliding scale for water used after this. The more you use, the more expensive it gets. The water board are situated at your local town hall, these bills can’t be paid by direct debit, unlike the electricity.
When you purchase your house you are required to complete a tax form called an E9. You will need to supply your accountant with a copy of the contract of sale from your house (or piece of land) and proof of purchase (bank statements from your home country or your mortgage agreement). You only file this form once. Each year you are required to file an E1 which is for income, if you don’t claim any income in Rhodes you should file a zero income. To keep up with property tax laws and for your declarations its essential to find a reputable accountant to deal with. This is also something your management company can assist you with.
Internet access is on all holiday makers top ten list of things to look for when renting villas. An internet package with OTE including WiFi with unlimited access to the net and unlimited calls within Greece currently costs just 40 euros per month. There are many internet service providers on Rhodes now with very competitive packages. Some of these will also let you pause the internet package if the property is empty for long periods of time.
To get a more specific idea of what you can expect to pay in terms of bills you could speak to home owners with properties in the same area, or ask your management company to give you an idea.
This article was written by Elizabeth Cass-Kanti of Key Property Management Services, Rhodes. If you would like to receive specific information or a quote about their services please contact Elizabeth at email@example.com or visit the website www.kpmsrhodes.com. KPMS offer a full management and maintenance service to home owners on Rhodes. They are the only management company with an in house Travel agency www.boutiquegreece.comregistered by the Greek Tourist board, to take care of your rental needs.
The article is intended as a guideline only and is not intended to replace legal or financial advice by certified professionals.