Would you still have bought a holiday home in Corfu or any other Greek Island?
Sold up and moved there permanently?
Moved in the hope of finding work or retired to the island?
Just curious as to how other peoples views and aspirations have changed if at all due to the economic climate in Greece and with the help of hindsight would you still have continued with the challenge and adventure .
Message posted by Elliemay on 02†January†2012 at 10:30pm - IP Logged
Yes we would have still bought a house in Corfu. We knew about 10/15 years ago we wanted to buy a house in Greece but didn't know where. Went to Corfu about eight years ago and the rest is history. Absolutely love it there, I know that there are problems but wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
Message posted by Mrs D on 02†January†2012 at 11:25pm - IP Logged
I am sorry to say that I wouldn't have bought in Greece and it has nothing to do with the economic situation.
I find property ownership in Greece too stressful due to all their love of red tape and lack of ease to do almost anything. I do not enjoy standing in queues only to be told to come back another day or the total feeling of helplessness in sorting out a problem.
I know there are people who you can pay to do these things but that is not how I like to manage my affairs. I like to be independent and not have to rely on anyone else to do things for me.
I know there will be people who will probably have a go at me for voicing my opinion but I can't help how I feel. I could go on but I won't because I do enjoy this site (perhaps more than my actual visits to Corfu) and don't want to spoil things with my owns moans.
Message posted by maggy on 03†January†2012 at 12:14am - IP Logged
Thanks Maggy, reassuring to see that I'm not a lone voice. I don't like to moan on here but I certainly don't view Greece with rose tinted spectacles. Whilst I don't wish any more hardship on the ordinary Greek people, I do think that maybe this economic mess they are in might get them to look at their time consuming and outdated rules and regulations. Also, speaking as a former civil servant, the introduction of some enforceable customer service standards would not go amiss.
Message posted by Graham T-A on 03†January†2012 at 10:36am - IP Logged
I agree Fiona. I just sometimes fail to see how anyone living and working in Greece legally has time to earn any money with hours of queing and then not getting anywhere at the end. Then every year they bring in something new to waste even more time.
Message posted by Homesick on 03†January†2012 at 11:09am - IP Logged
Bought a property here originally as a holiday home in 1994. Then decided we want to live here. That was 4.5 years ago. No mortgage and just put food on the table, sounds easy, not any more, only if you have a pension and don't have to rely on trying to earn an income of 30 euros a day for 6 months (if you are one of the lucky ones). Saying that still here and love the place.
Message posted by Billf on 03†January†2012 at 11:38am - IP Logged
You know my situation Maggy, but in answer to your question, even knowing what I know now... YES absolutely!! I wouldn't have done it any other way.
The fact that my capital is now tied to property 2000km away, which I will (apart from a brief trip next week) not see again till the summer, is now probably worth considerably less than I've ploughed into it, and that I'm in rented accommodation again after being a home owner for 25 years doesn't matter one jot.
I'm so much richer for the experience. I've met many wonderful people and lived a lifestyle that most can only dream of. Of course it's been a bumpy ride, but many of the hurdles I've crossed had nothing to do with my location.
The dream is only a dream whilst you're not living it. Once you do the dream becomes reality, and as we all know, reality is never as straightforward.
Message posted by alikee on 03†January†2012 at 1:01pm - IP Logged
I would definately not have bought here, but would have rented only. I love living here and have no plans to go back to the UK so I would not change that, but I would certainly rather have left the money where it was, it would have saved one hell of a lot of problems, which are not resolved after 4 years, and who knows when, if ever, they will be.
Message posted by cannock girl on 03†January†2012 at 1:41pm - IP Logged
I love the island, love my house here, but we also would have rented, not built here.
Trying to get anything done, drives us mad, as you get older, all you want is a quiet life, not agitation due to changing rules every five minutes.
We are in our 70,s now, no hope of selling our house, so we will pass on a great burden to our family when we eventually fall off the perch, not the dream we had 8 years ago.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing/to be honest we feel like [rats in a trap] not a nice feeling to get entering a new year.
Message posted by janmanessi on 03†January†2012 at 2:08pm - IP Logged
I didn't buy or rent out here, but chose to live here because I married a Greek, so a bit different! However he died some years ago and my sons and I were advised to sell our large rambling 250 year old house and outbuildings, with all the maintenance problems!
Due to the sale of the family business there was some cash so I invested it all in the house, renovated etc. and am trying to let it out in the summer, which may mean that I rent a studio, or camp with loving friends.
I was in UK for 15 years, loved my job, and my house there, but have chosen Corfu, with all its problems. Like everyone I live in fear of the next tax, and listen to the Greek news nightly on 'the crisis' which is hardly cheering, but the compensations of looking out over the sea, the company of good friends, both Greek and foreign, makes it all worthwhile.
Bureaucracy is a nightmare but the reality is not as bad often as we anticipate- getting my IKA book only took 1 and a 1/2 hours for example. I do think that a modicum of Greek helps a lot, and Greek friends who know the system are invaluable (importing my car only took up part of 2 mornings but I know it would have been much more of a marathon had I been alone).
I think that many people find life here harder than they anticipated because they live in an 'expatriate bubble'- if they mix with Greeks, learn some of their language and understand the different way of life they will find things a lot easier. I know that the majority of people do exactly this, but I do believe that it can make the difference between happiness and disillusionment.
I would not have built a house, mainly because i have never wanted to live in a modern house, and there are so many lovely old ones on the island crying out for some TLC, but doing the renovation work I met excellent plasterers, tilers, electricians, plumbers, of several different nationalities, and all excellent. When I have a problem they always rally round promptly, cannot ask for more.
All in all, despite the crisis I am glad to be here.
Message posted by toulky on 03†January†2012 at 2:18pm - IP Logged
I have just returned from Corfu & despite all the Greek problems would prefer to (and will) live there rather than the UK. As Jan has said above, if you have Greek friends in my case I have my Greek family, to advise and show you how toget around the system to avoid the never ending queues then its actually not as bad as the mere thought. A friend of mine registered the death of her husband whilst I was there and we visited the town office in the town hall and everything went amazingly smoothly and hardly anyone knows that it is actually opened on a Saturday morning and so she always goes there on Saturdays so good to know. The last few days of my visit the weather was simply wonderful and the scenery was truly magic.
I do not regret buying our place nearly 5 years ago. We had a really rocky start with our next door neighbour on the day we got the keys to the house which made us consider puting it back up for sale but now everything is fine - I even got a happy new year text from them this year.
We do not live out there but visit as often as we can and love the scenery, people and slow way of life. Yes trying to achieve residency permits, buying a car were difficult but if you have Greek friends the road is smoother.
We are very lucky we do not need to work and do feel it for the people who do.
Probably have left a burden for our two sons when we are gone but hey ho we are enjoying it and they can do what they want to do with it after were gone but we hope they will love it as much as us.
Message posted by sunny days on 03†January†2012 at 2:41pm - IP Logged
Mrs D - we've lived in Greece for just over 4 years and how I agree with you. You cannot begin to explain to people the constant pressure of getting DEH to accept your meter readings (when they've estimated you owe them 780 euros and end up owing about 93 euros!!); the fact you pay the telephone bill every 2 months with a printout from Germanos, as you never receive an OTE bill, and then finding the previous amount owed is added to the new bill and you cannot make outgoing calls (despite owing nothing) everything is a constant horror of going to offices, arguing, going back, back again, then back again (with a Greek friend) - you know eventually it WILL all be sorted out but its not an easy way to live. And you know once one bill is sorted out, or the water is running, within a month or two you're back where you started from. A lovely country with nice people (until they are behind a desk...) and just so so inefficient. Shame the country is in a mess, but the Greeks do, unfortunately, only have themselves to blame. Still live here though and doubt we'll return to UK but you do have to have the occasional moan about Greece!!
Message posted by Mrs D on 03†January†2012 at 3:16pm - IP Logged
Sunny days, I really couldn't live with all the inefficiency that you mention. I too have electricity bills paid twice but have just written off any chance of getting a refund. If Greece can get it's act together and get people in offices to do the jobs they are paid to do efficiently and effectively then this crisis will have done some good.
At the moment I only get a maximum of two weeks at a time to deal with all the things that go with property ownership. I spend days of my holiday waiting at the bank, accountants, tax office, local town hall, and the DEH. No sooner do you think you have got things sorted out then another problem comes along. My holidays have become a chore and not a pleasure.
Message posted by maggy on 03†January†2012 at 3:52pm - IP Logged
sunny days- why don't you get an OTE bill? I receive mine every time, likewise DEH, and have alwaysw found OTE staff very helpful when I have needed them (I lost my last bill and so could not pay it at the post office as usual)
DEH appear periodically to do an accurate meter reading, but rarely as we are a long way from the main road, but the estimate has never been way out
If you do not get important post then maybe you need a post office box
Of course owning a property anywhere is more stressful than renting, the responsibilities in all ways are far greater, and the 'admin' and maintenance times expected to be involved have to be thought about before purchasing.
I can understand that noone wants to spend their two week's holiday in offices, or waiting for an electrician/plumber/carpenter etc. but the plus is having your own front door.
Message posted by alikee on 03†January†2012 at 4:56pm - IP Logged
One thing I do, as my time, due to work commitments, in the summer is very limited, I pay my mobile phone and landline, on line! Just like UK - it works, its efficient, and I get an email confirming my payment, so never a double whammy!!! Just want to find out if I can do the same with DEH and then I'll be happy.
My partner is Greek, and helps me deal with most things that I cannot myself, and I simply would not change where I live my life - I just wish my ex and I had never invested all our hard earned into buying a property, like I said in an earlier post, and then neither he, nor I, would be suffering so much, financially, now.
Message posted by maggy on 03†January†2012 at 5:32pm - IP Logged
I have a love hate relationship with the country, most things I love and the other things I hate, like, the fact that some bright spark thinks up a law/rule, a few days later that law/rule has been replaced--for yet another one--or so it seems to me!
I think my frustration is of my own making as I don't speak the language and so I'm unable to find things out first hand for myself--some of the information given on here, albeit with the best of intentions, just adds to my grief of what ifs and feeds my fertile imagination
I have drawn the conclusion that owning a property in Corfu now is an uphill struggle because of laws rules taxes and added taxes they are a concern that I can live without.
I still can't say with hand on heart that Yes we still would have bought in Greece --
Or No we wouldn't
I may be able to make a more informed decision after our next trip,but,the fact that I've asked the question,suggests to me that ---NO we wouldn't have bought in Greece
Confused? Not as much as I am
Message posted by sunny days on 03†January†2012 at 5:47pm - IP Logged
Janmanessi. We do not now have an OTE office on the island we live on - used to have one but its been closed for 2 years so have to use Germanos. We DO have a post box - just received in it a Christmas Card from Kent, UK, posted to me on 31st October 2011 - only taken 9 weeks or so to reach us. PO Box address was correct too!! Whenever we go to DEH, they "cannot do anything", phone Rodos. We received a bill (estimated) for 780 euros, and took our meter reading in. After going back at least 3 or 4 times, with a Greek friend (she was also have problems with the DEH) we finally received an amended bill for 293 euros, which included the property tax. We rarely get constant water in the summer either. So you can understand why we sometimes wonder "why did we come to live here".
Message posted by janmanessi on 03†January†2012 at 7:29pm - IP Logged
Wow, what an informative read!! Especially as we are moving across there in July!!! Of course we have our concerns just like the next person. At the moment though we are currently living in Germany within the British community. Because of my husbands job and my lack of knowledge on the language side, we basically live and work and even shop within this community. HOWEVER obviously some of our services are local, ie phone bill. Because I refuse to pay direct from the bank (I like to know how much it is BEFORE it comes out of my account) I only ever receive a bill reminder at an extra charge and this can have huge variations. I think what Iím trying to say is, I think any country that you do not speak the language fluently you will experience frustration of some sort. You may wonder why we choose to live in Corfu rather than the UK, lifestyle. We do not look at everything through rose tinted glasses, indeed because of the economic crisis our plans have had to Ďadaptí, but for us Corfu is simply where our heart and our future lie-warts and all!
Message posted by sparkie on 03†January†2012 at 10:22pm - IP Logged
For a start would never of used a so called friend to oversee the concrete construction of my house. Would have brought all my money over here when the exchange rate was 1.47! And would agree with Graham trying to make a living here legally is impossible. However after 4.5 years have finally got approval from Athens and am now an official Greek electrician complete with a diploma. Lost my cat last Saturday to the locals indiscrimately laying poison down to kill the stray dogs and shrugg there shoulders and say le bon and walk away when confronting them!! However would not change what I have here
Message posted by janmanessi on 03†January†2012 at 10:31pm - IP Logged
Yes jan as we say hindsight is a wonderful thing. The annoying thing about our cat is that it was a stray and has been pet passported to go back to the UK as it was my daughters. There is a vent letting the steam go. As for my wine I am doing the same. Very happy with it.
Message posted by Dextercat on 03†January†2012 at 11:05pm - IP Logged
Would we have bought had we known the problems that were on the horizon... possibly not.
Having said that the 4 years of ownership have given us and our family a great deal of pleasure and this still continues.
So, hopefully, the Greek problem will ease and we will be able to carry on enjoying the island and the Greek people.
If not, well so be it as it's out of our control.
Message posted by Graham T-A on 04†January†2012 at 11:20am - IP Logged
If anyone could actually sell their house I think there would be a mass exodos from Greece, however, who would buy a property in Greece now with all the problems. Three years ago I could have sold my house for twice what it is worth now, the differance being that there is little chance of finding a buyer now, even at half the price it was worth.
Hi Sunny days. We have not had water much in the summer for several years. We get it for about 1 or 2 hours every other day but at a very low pressure and many people we know don't get any at all for the whole summer, just depending where you are.
Message posted by maggy on 04†January†2012 at 3:26pm - IP Logged
Being fair people buying property some years ago in Greece did very well- many rented out places unofficially, (without paying taxes), living costs were cheap, local taxes were negligible, and having a house here was a lot cheaper than owning one in UK.
Now Greece is forced to get into line with the other EU countries, and inevitably there are hardships ahead in order to try and 'catch up' with the rest. Whether these are fairly distributed amongst the population is another topic altogether!
Even without the 'crisis' things would have had to change, people demand more- better schools, roads, hospitals, postal services, utilities services etc. and all these have to be paid for, and the only way to do it is by taxing the residents. Many of the above improvements have been called for at different times on this forum, I am sure no-one expects to get them without some kind of cost.
Times are indeed hard now, but do remember the many good years that people have enjoyed.
Message posted by Mrs D on 04†January†2012 at 4:49pm - IP Logged
I have no issue with paying a property tax for my house in Corfu and agree that money has to come from somewhere to pay for services. In my view the new tax is no different to paying council tax in the UK except that, at the moment at least, it is considerably less than I pay here.
My issue is with the unecessary rules and regulations and being shipped from pillar to post in order to do the most basic of things. It seems that any form of enterprise is thwarted with red tape which is stifling the economy.
Message posted by sunny days on 04†January†2012 at 4:56pm - IP Logged
Mrs. D. Yes, agree with you again - being shipped from pillar to post is annoying. Just spent 3/4 hour trying to get our telephone line re-instated!!! Janmanessi and others - its been lovely reading your comments, as I said everyone has to have a moan at times. Life in Greece we think is about 98% different to life in UK. You could never tell anyone what happens in Greece, they just would not believe you. Maybe one day I'll write a book!! Meantime everyone have a good 2012.
Message posted by Mrs D on 04†January†2012 at 5:00pm - IP Logged
Have to agree with sunny days, we just go with the flow as life is too short to get stressed about it. Been there and don't want to play again.
I do find that it is much easier to take a Greek friend with you as they seem to be able to sort out all the idiosyncrasies.
We actually got the phone connected in a fortnight and the internet within three weeks. Even my Greek neighbour couldn't believe that and we did that all on our own, just told which office to go to and who to speak to.
Granted we have not gone down the road of getting an EOT as we have no intention of ever renting our property, but have heard some amazing tales from people who have tried this.
I just find that if you are polite, friendly and have got all the time in the world it's OK.
Message posted by maggy on 04†January†2012 at 5:19pm - IP Logged
Hi Maggy and Fiona,
We have to look on the bright side. Fiona you're posh, a bottle of chilled Boutari rose, I go for the Diellas Vino Bianco, 5 litres for 5.80 euros. That rocks my boat.
Take care ladies, we can weather the storm.
Message posted by dangermouse on 04†January†2012 at 6:26pm - IP Logged
If you met me and my husband you wouldn't say we were posh. Born and brought up in a council house but my husband always says that I won the lottery when I married him. Not sure I agree with him on that though. I will have to give Diellas Vino Bianco a try and see how it compares, then I can drink five times as much.
Maggy, I like my glass to be full and enjoy the process of getting it to empty, after a few of them I have not a care in the world
Message posted by Elliemay on 04†January†2012 at 7:16pm - IP Logged
Love your post, I and hubby too were brought up in council houses, an' right proud I am of it too. Dragged ourselves up by our bootstraps we did.
Seriously though, have you tried Diellas rose wine. Doesn't come in the 5 litre barrels like the white, I think they're 1.5 litre bottles, but some discerning friends of ours, who always bought bottled rose wine are now converts to Diellas placky bottles of wine. (You know who you are!)
Give it a go, look after the pennies etc. etc.
Message posted by alikee on 04†January†2012 at 7:21pm - IP Logged
Ah, Diellas wine - yum!!! Comes a very close second to our own but when that runs out, well, bring it on, and lets face it, where in the UK could you buy wine like that, at that price!!! And after a few glasses, its easy to forget the latest electricity bills, for a while anyway!!!
Message posted by Elliemay on 04†January†2012 at 7:23pm - IP Logged
I have quickly skimmed this thread and notice that one of the problems you have encountered is with paying your phone bill. Before anyone shouts, I know that others have suggested that you pay it online.
Have you tried that? I don't think that you have mentioned whether you have or not.
I recently received a phone call offering me free landline calls in Greece, 300 minutes of calls to mobiles in Greece and 24Mb broadband for a little over Ä71. As this was cheaper than my normal bill I jumped at it.
Needless to say, I checked my bill and sure enough everything was as offered. Great I thought! Then reading the bill further, I noticed that they were offering a further Ä2.50 off your next bill if you paid online. (http://oteshop.ote.gr/).
Being a bit on the mean side, I checked it out; found that this was indeed the offer and promptly paid my bill. It was dead easy! Try it if you haven't already!
To get back on topic ... Lived here 10 years. Built our own house. Had dire problems with Mekanikos, Lawyer, IKA and builders. Would we sell up and move back from whence we came? Not on your life!
Without wishing to cause offence, most of the people that we meet who regret building or buying here are those that thought of it as an investment. Fifteen years ago? Maybe. The last ten years? Not a hope in hell!
Have a nice day!
Message posted by Mrs D on 04†January†2012 at 7:31pm - IP Logged
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