Category Archives: Expat life

Buying Property in Turkey – How to do it as a yabanci (foreigner)

how to buy property in TurkeyIf you are like me…when you come to Turkey you are going to want to stay here. While there are plenty of things that make life in Turkey challenging for foreigner (Yabanci prounounced yabangee) buying property isn’t one of them.

Buying property in Turkey is actually a very straight forward process. In fact, it’s actually easier than many other countries both in Europe and the Americas. First of all:

Find the property you want to buy and at this point you will need to pay the deposit on it. You can do this with cash or credit card. You can’t pay it with a personal check but a bank transfer will work. Usually, the deposit is 10-20% of the total price. When you pay this to the property owner, you get a receipt and the amount is written into the contract.

You will need your passport and 4-8 passport size photos. At this point a Turkish attorney will prepare a contract for the purchase – you are paying them and they are actually there to help you, not the seller, make sure that the attorney isn’t also representing the seller and preferably doesn’t know them. Next you go to the notary public and if you aren’t going to be in Turkey during the purchase, you give your agent the power of attorney so they can obtain the title deeds in your absence. If you are in Turkey, not necessary. Back to the attorney and you and the seller will sign the sales contract with the address,payment details, etc.

Your papers will be forwarded to the Land Registry office for all documentation relating to the purchase is then forwarded to the Land Registration office in Izmir. Here everything is checked and then the title deeds ( TAPU ) are re-issued in the new owners name and forwarded back to the local Land Registration office who, in turn contact your agent. This process usually takes 6-8 weeks. Your agent will advise you of this when it happens. At this time you will need to pay the final balance plus the 3% property tax.

Real Estate in TurkeyThe extras that you will pay on top of the purchase price are:

• A 3% of the property value tax. This is a once off payment and it is due for payment once the TAPU is received.

• The lawyer’s fee. Prices start from about $400 U.S. and will vary depending on which lawyer you choose to use.

• An approximate $200 Notaries Charge for giving us the Power of Attorney to handle the documents relating to the property in your absence (if you are out of country)

• A 3% agency fee that covers all agents commision and charges. This is usually payable at the time that the contract is made, together with the initial deposit payment on the property but may be able to be negotiated in certain circumstances.

• It is compulsory to have earthquake insurance and we recommend you take out Full insurance home and contents cover as soon as the house is registered in your name.(the cost of this varies depending on the value of the property, it’s contents for the number of months it will be occupied.) Approximately$300

• The connection of Water and Electricity into your name so the bills will come directly to your house. Does not apply to some properties.

This is an idea of costs for the purchase of a property of $100,000

Property price $100 K
Tax @ 3% $3000
Solicitor $1000
Notary’s fee $200
Agency Fee @ 3% $3000
Full insurance
(incl. earthquake cover) $300
Connections $360
TOTAL $107,860
Once you have received your TAPU there are some other charges, which need to be paid. Estimated annual costs per property to be as follows:

Electricity $250
Water / Sewage $100
Gas $50
Rubbish removal$20
Site maintenance $400
DigiTurk Satelite TV $300
Council tax $30
TOTAL $1140
It is not necessary to pay anyone to pay bills. Electric can be paid by automatic standing order once you have a bank account. Water bills are intermittent and likewise your council tax can be paid when you visit annually. And be aware that you may still need online tax software if you are a legal resident of North America.

Vagobond Travel Museum – February 17, 2012

Welcome to the Vagobond Travel Museum!

Vagabond Travel Museum
We've got our missiles locked on awesome travel (jeessh that's stupid...haha)

The web is full of great travel blogs, travel stories, travel photos and travel videos – the hard part is finding them amidst all the garbage. Through the week, I curate the best travel stories I find at Vagobond Travel Media and then each Friday, I bring you the highlights here at the Vagobond Travel Museum. To let me know about a great story either contact me on G+, Email me, or simply use the Twitter or G+ hashtag  #travelmuseum

These are my Travel Museum Inductions for the week of  February 17, 2012.





While these aren’t necessarily my first choices, I”ve been to most of these cities and found them all to be fantastic. It’s a great list from Around the World L

8 Places to Live Around the World


This was one of my favorite finds of the week just for the sheer awesome oddness of it. I mean, who would think to make a hammock out of crushed beer cans and then say it’s comfortable…but I believe them. Check out We Upcycle for more like this.


Pinterest just keeps getting bigger and bigger. A part of me is bothered by that, it seems to be shortcutting and bypassing all the hard work of SEO and commenting – but there is no denying it is cool, so that must be why it works.  This is a particuarly nice page of hammocks – This one of a couple in a single line tree hanging hammock just speaks incredible volumes, but you have to wonder who the voyeur watching them was.


Remember everyone’s friend Tom Anderson from MySpace? He’s become a pretty amazing photographer and this shot of Honolulu from the water is just one example of the fine work he is doing now.


This post from trans-americas was not only an enjoyable read but was about one of those things on my bucket list, fly fishing. Isla Hobla looks like the right place for me to take it up and learn the ropes, don’t you think?


Paul TherouxI’ve been a big fan of Paul Theroux ever since I saw the movie The Mosquito Coast way back in the day. After that, someone gave me the Great Railway Bazaar as I was taking trains across China and I was hooked. One of the best travel interviews ever – right here.  The Places In Between.


Carnival season: costumed revellers in Trinidad, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venice

A few years ago I met a beautiful woman from Uruguay in Waikiki – we had dinner, took some moonlit walks on the beach and she told me about her country which I had never really thought about before. This article might get you thinking about Uruguay, though probably not with the same thoughts I had.


Gecko Adventures came out with a nice list of films that will inspire you to travel, while each of us would certainly add our own favorites to this list, it’s a nice starting point.


This is for those of you who find yourself with a few minutes when the boss is away and you want to watch something short, odd, and strangely inspiring. The oddest of tourism bureau videos…don’t discount this, it’s here in the travel museum for a reason.


 Finally, those of you who read my column this week about EgoTourism might understand what my reaction to this site was initially  – (yeah, it might be time for me to hang up my travelling hat for a while ) but after looking at it for a bit, I have to admit, I like the collectivist nature of this site and what it is saying.


And while there were plenty of other great travel stories this week – that’s it for this weeks inductions into the Vagobond Travel Museum. To let me know about any great travel pieces, contact me at Vagobond Travel Media (where you can see lots more great stories that I curated this week) or using the contact form here at

Cold Turkey – Back in Istanbul Unexpectedly!

Bosphorus CruiseSometimes life is filled with the best kind of surprises. I got a call last week from a friend in Istanbul who needed a bit of help with a tourism project. She asked if I would be willing to leave Morocco for a few weeks to come to Turkey – those of you who know me, know that my answer was most definitely “Yes. When do you want me there?”

I was thinking it would be in a month or a few weeks but instead she answered – can you come this weekend? I checked with my wife and she gave the green light – after all, it is work and not just cheap holidays to Turkey, but in fact it is always a pleasure for me to come to Turkey.

turkey holidaysIn particular, Istanbul in Winter is a magical place. The crowds are smaller, the city is still completely and overwhelmingly exotic and for me – going to Istanbul is like going home to Bellingham, Washington or Honolulu, Hawaii. It’s nice to go home now and then.

And best of all, nobody asks me if I’m Muslim, if I pray, or if I know the shahada. Nobody looks at me like I am a demon as I order a beer. Nobody cares what I do – they are too worried about what they are doing – unless the two merge and I look like I might buy a carpet, but they rarely take me for a buyer.

Turkish HolidaysAs I walk around this city during the time I have off from the tourism projects, I remember why I fell so deeply in love with this place. It’s cold, but I don’t mind in the least. It’s not as cold as the inside of our uninsulated concrete house in Morocco.

Jumping on the ferry and going across the Bosphorus, walking across the Galata Bridge, seeing the crowds marching through the city carrying their football club’s banners in the hopes that their fandom will bring a win, drinking raka with fish (rakabalik!) and struggling to get my Turkish to come back as an amused shopkeeper smiles at me in approval for even trying.

Winter Turkish HolidaysThe smell of the Bosphorus, the smiles of Turks passing by, the sounds of the traffic, the slightly worried looks of tourists as they are herded into souvenir and carpet shops and the sound of wheelie bags being dragged across the cobblestones. All of these things make me love this city. Maybe I can figure out how to stay this time – maybe I can get my wife and daughter here for good. Maybe I can find a place to rent in Kadikoy and a job to supplement my writing income.

Turkish winterI’m working on buying a small house in Morocco to turn into a writer’s residence and that we can stay in when we go to visit my wife’s family. I’m trying to get my wife a resident visa so she can live in the United States – but that’s for her – I want to live in Turkey. Oh, I’m so happy to be back in this, the queen of all cities. The most magnificent city in the world.


Turkey holidaysFrom Sultanahmet to Taksim – the fresh yogurt and cheese, the smit (like pretzels and bagels had a baby), kebab shops, doner, and the wonderful melody of Turkish language. Restaurants galore, coffee shops (even Starbucks and I’m happy to see it), grocery stores you can wander through isles, book shops, cinemas, cafes, and so many language schools because all the Turks want to learn English right now.

If you’d like to visit Turkey or Istanbul, contact me using the form below and I will gladly hook you up with the right people, companies or destinations and any advice I can provide.

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