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Buying a Commercial Property

This guide was written by Başak Yıldız Orkun, Managing Partner at Orkun & Orkun (info@orkunorkun.com) in collaboration with Guides.Global (office@guides.global).

It was written on 1 September 2017. The law and practice in Turkey change all the time. Our guides are updated as frequently as possible - typically every three years - but may be out of date.

Our guides are prepared by professionals from many countries. They are, of necessity, both brief and general and can take no account of your personal circumstances. They are intended to be a good introduction to the subject BUT ARE NO SUBSTITUTE FOR PROPER PROFESSIONAL ADVICE, which our contributors will usually be happy to provide upon request.

The advice and opinions contained in the guides are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Guides.Global.

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The scope of this guide

This guide is about the special issues that surround buying commercial property in Turkey. It is not a thorough guide to buying property in Turkey - for that, see our Guide to Buying Property in Turkey.

You may also want to watch the video guide about buying a property in Turkey or download the audio (MP3) guide.

Introduction

Buying commercial property can be a little more complicated than buying residential property.

It is still difficult for foreigners to obtain a mortgage to buy commercial property in Turkey. In the last few years it has been difficult even for Turkish people to do so, but most banks will now offer local people a 60% loan-to-value mortgage. We expect that granting mortgages to foreigners will become easier over the next year or two – but you will probably, even then, not be able to borrow more than about 30% of the value of the property.

Should you buy or rent?

Advantages of buying

Disadvantages of buying

Probably the most significant disadvantage of buying property is inflexibility. If you want your business to double in size quickly it will be much more difficult (and expensive) selling your property and buying another than it would be finding another place to rent.

The advantages and disadvantages of renting are the flipside of the advantages and disadvantages of buying!

What kind of premises should you buy?

There are several considerations here.

Location

Location is as important for commercial buildings as it is for residential buildings; possibly more so. The price you will pay for the building can vary dramatically depending on its location. For example, a shop on the main shopping street in Istanbul or Bodrum can be five times as expensive as a shop in a second or third-level location.

Do you have a requirement to be in a particular place? If not, you can save a lot of money by choosing a place only a few hundred metres away from the prime location - and often get the side benefits of easier access and plenty of available parking.

Finding the premises

Many of the estate agency firms in Turkey deal with commercial as well as residential property.

Legal steps and due diligence

A contract for the purchase of commercial property is likely to be more complex than the contract for the purchase of a house and so, unless you are very experienced and your Turkish is fluent, you would be foolish not to use a lawyer to assist you.

There are several steps that will need to be taken before you sign a contract:

Raising the money

As already indicated, you are likely to need to raise most of the price yourself - from your own resources. You will also need to find all the cost of improvements, repairs and redecoration and the legal and other fees involved in buying the property.

The legal fees and taxes payable are likely to amount to about 7% of the value of the property but the exact amount will depend upon its size, type, and location. Your lawyer will be able to give you an estimate early in the process.

Which is cheaper - buying or renting?

Obviously, this all depends on your particular case, but there is a general rule of thumb that says that the overall cost of buying a property - mortgage, legal expenses etc. - will be higher for the first five years that you own it than you would pay by way of rent. For the second five years, the figures will probably be pretty much the same. For the third five years and beyond, ownership will probably be cheaper than rental.

Buying commercial property in Turkey as an investment

Recently, any property investment - including investment in commercial property - has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride. After years of steadily rising commercial property values, the crash of 2007/8 saw them fall by up to 50%, leaving lots of owners with large losses.

Prices in Turkey have now begun to rise again and the price of prime property - top quality office blocks, shops, hotels etc. in the best locations - is now almost back at 2007 levels.

Is the increase going to continue or have the price rises gone too far, with the result that there will be a downwards correction? Frankly, nobody knows. The consensus of professional advisors is that commercial property prices will continue to grow for the next few years. This is based on the analysis that there is very limited availability of top-quality property and that the success of the Turkish economy is generating more demand than there is supply.

If you are thinking of investing in commercial property, you will need to decide which particular type of commercial property is of interest to you. Some smaller investors buy individual shop or office units in secondary locations whereas others swear by prime prestige stores and hotels.

Rather strangely, in Turkey the rental yield you can expect to obtain from commercial property is pretty much the same whichever type of unit you buy. However, those who sing the praises of prime property will tell you that they have fewer problems collecting the rent and fewer voids.

Of course, an alternative to making a direct investment in commercial property is to look at investing in one of the Turkish Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITS).

Conclusion

If you're thinking of investing in commercial property in Turkey there are four main things you need to bear in mind:

  1. Volatility. The market has proven that it can go up and down violently.

  2. Diversification. Because of the high cost of much commercial property you have to be very rich to build up a diversified portfolio and so you're exposed to the danger of something going wrong with your one building.

  3. Liquidity. It will always be slow - months not weeks - if you need to sell your commercial property. In bad economic times, it can be virtually impossible to do so.

  4. Management. The success or failure of any commercial property project depends on good management. You will probably not be willing or able to manage the property yourself and so you will need to find a good, reliable property management company.

Other guides of interest

 Description Link 
Turkey Country Guide
Essential facts and figures about Turkey
Click to see this guide
Buying a Property in Turkey
A thorough guide to buying a house in Turkey
Click to see this guide
Buying a New Property in Turkey
Things to think about if you're buying an new property
Click to see this guide
Buying an Off-Plan Property in Turkey
Things to think about if you're buying a commercial property
Click to see this guide
Renting a Property in Turkey
What you need to know if you're renting a Turkish property
Click to see this guide

Readers' Comments

 

Further information?

I hope you have found this guide useful. If you need any further help, please contact me.

Başak Yıldız Orkun

1 September 2017


 

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