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Accommodation in Greece

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If everything you’ve heard about Greece and its financial situation has you slightly disheartened, worry not: you are unlikely to encounter any problems finding accommodation in Greece. With rent prices having become significantly cheaper, chances are you’ll be able to find a reasonably priced apartment even in the centre of Athens or in some of the traditionally “posh and expensive” suburbs. As for the pricing in the rest of the country? Even more affordable, as long as you avoid the extremely “touristy” islands like Mykonos or Santorini.

The financial crisis was definitely a game-changer for the Greek real estate market. Not only has increased taxation has made it significantly less appealing for Greeks to own property and rent it out, they are unlikely to make any money from it, because the people who are looking to rent are very often on a salary that’s less than 500 euros (or even on unemployment benefits).

This has created an increasingly advantageous situation for expatriates looking to rent in Greece: in 2016, you could find an apartment in Athens for about 5.25 euros per sqm, whereas in 2017 this has gone further down still -- if you know how to bargain properly. Many apartment owners will quote you a starting price of 300 or 350 euros for a medium apartment (1-2 bedrooms) in Athens, but most will be willing to lower that to 250, even 200 euros.There is currently a big problem with people owing months and months of rent money, so apartment owners would rather receive a smaller amount each month in order to guarentee payment.

In other big cities, like Thessaloniki, Volos and Patra, as well as in most islands, the prices are even lower than in Athens. But beware: the same 40 sqm apartment that would cost 250 euros in Thessaloniki, Volos or Syros island, it could reach up to 800 euros in Mykonos or Santorini. That’s because the market there caters to a different audience: that of affluent tourists who either want to prolong their vacations, or retire.

Find accommodation in Greece

The first thing to be aware of is that most property owners tend to be older, which means they will be less likely to speak English (plus, many of them are still wary towards strangers). It will go a long way if you can speak Greek, or get a Greek friend to negotiate on your behalf.

Most classified ads are in Greek as well, so knowing a few basic terms will facilitate your search process: a studio is called garsoniera (γκαρσονιέρα) whereas larger apartments are categorised not by the number of bedrooms, but by their number of rooms in general. So a 1-bedroom is called a “dyari” (δυάρι), meaning “two rooms”, a 2-bedroom is called a “triari” (τριάρι) meaning “three rooms” etc. Most accommodation is non-furnished -- furnished apartments are either more expensive, or available for shorter amounts of time.

There are several dedicated websites where you can find options for both rent and purchase throughout the country, and all of them clearly state whether the property is listed under a real estate agency or whether you’ll be communicating directly with the owner. In general, real estate agencies are more expensive than if you choose to go the direct route -- as a rule of thumb, they will ask for an extra month’s rent beforehand to cover their fees.

But Greece also offers a more analog way of house-hunting: yellow or white stickers with red letters, placed on the entrance doors of buildings, signify there’s a property for rent or sale nearby -- you’ll find a contact number on the sticker, along with some basic info about the property (how many sqms, which floor, whether it’s renovated etc). Don’t discard this method: it’s the locals’ preferred method of finding an apartment, and it works.

What you need to know about the lease

Greeks have never been that strict with lease contracts. The standard duration is for three years, but some might be willing to do a yearly renewable contract. They’re not too strict about a security deposit, either: usually they will just ask you for one month’s rent in advance -- but bear in mind that most people do not necessarily get their deposit back when they leave. What you need to remember though is that the lease contract is there to protect you, not them: no Greek owner will ever ask you to pay a fine if you decide to break your contract and leave early, unless you’re renting a business space and this was specifically stated on the lease. They will ask you to give them a month’s notice before you leave though, so that they can put the house on the market.

Before you sign, make sure to check the house carefully for anything that needs fixing, as many owners will claim they have renovated a house when in reality they haven’t. Also make sure to ask how much the shared utility bill is(koinoxrista - κοινόχρηστα) and how often you have to pay for it, as they can end up adding quite a lot to your monthly budget. Many properties now offer the option for natural gas versus petrol for heating, which will be cheaper for you in the long run.

 Useful links:

Home Greek Home
Spiti360
Yellow Pages
To Spiti Mou

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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