Visit the area that you are interested in and ask the local
residents directly, or in case of a village, the village
muchtar, if there is land for sale. Seek the assistance of a
registered estate agent who may be in a position to offer to you
alternatives, but bear in mind always that most local vendors do
not use the services of estate agents. The direct approach (find
out who is the owner of the plot you are interested in and ask
him if he wants to sell) may prove to be the best one. Bear in
mind that it is the vendor who pays for the commission of the
agents and not the purchaser and for this reason agents may have
the vendor's interest at heart and not yours. See
"tips for land buyers".
The next step is to appoint an architect to carry out the
design. There is an abundance of well qualified architects on
the island and many capable technicians as well. A building
design may be carried out only by a registered architect/
engineer. As such, we suggest that you appoint an architect for
the purpose (not an engineer or technician). Architect fees
range from 4%-6% (on the building cost) but you can also agree
on a fixed fee. The prevailing fees are 3,8% on the building
cost for a complete set of architectural plans and 1,6% for
supervision (including the issuing of certificates). In addition
a 1% - 1.5% is payable for the structural design and 0,3% for
structural supervision. If you are at loss as to the choice of a
suitable consultant, seek the advice of the Registrar of the
Association of Architects & Engineers (all licensed architects
must be registered). Please bear in mind that in case of large
buildings you may be able to negotiate a lower fee (as also in
the case of repetitive work).
In case you require air conditioning /central heating, we
suggest that the advice of a qualified electrical and mechanical
engineer be sought. Fees for this consultant are around 4% for
the design and 2% for supervision (on the cost of the E & M
works). Insist on all drawings being ready before inviting
It is recommended that a building permit be secured first before
works commence, although works such as excavations etc may begin
prior to the issue of the building permit. In this case, your
architect must consult with the Appropriate Authority to
whether there are any major objections to the submitted drawings. In order
to build a structure one is required to obtain first a Town
Planning permit and then a building permit. Most people at their
own risk commence development based on the Planning permit [the
local Authority may place a stop order if no building permit].
For a Town Planning Permit the time required from date of
submission is approximately 6-8 months and for a building permit
4-5 months after.
Invite a number of tenders from contractors who are reputable.
Remember that the lowest tender price is not always the best.
Your architect must be in a position to advise you on the
selection, and bear in mind that contractors are registered
depending on their size, organizational ability and past
performance. Ask for the contractor's registration and
recommendations from past owners/ developers/ architects.
If you are contemplating the development of a complex/costly
building, you are strongly advised to appoint a project manager
(1%-2% fees on the total cost) who will manage the design team
the contractors and suppliers and the whole development. Also
the appointment of a quantity surveyor (1% fees on total cost)
on such scale projects is strongly advisable, in order to
minimize cost overuns and contractors claim at the end,
Central heating is not generally required in the seaside towns
(although this is a matter of own judgment) but air conditioning
(at least in the bedrooms) is recommended. The cheapest form of
cooling is the split unit type with heat pumps. This is
increasing in popularity and it is an alternative to be
considered. The cost per unit starts from €400 including
installation, for a 9000 BTU and the price increase for larger
capacity units. The cost of installing central oil fired heating
is approximately €45/sq.mts.
Solar heating is an economic alternative and its adoption is
relatively inexpensive, having a payback period of approximately
5 years and a cost of around €700. (3 bedroom house).
If you will have a garden, it is advisable to drill a borehole
for watering, as the water charges rise more than
proportionately with consumption. This will cost around €2500
for the borehole and a pump, although it will depend on the
depth of the borehole. The drilling of a borehole requires a
Government permit first (permit is given easily) and on most
occasions it will be subsidised by the Goverment up to a
When the building permit is issued, works may begin. Try to
avoid variations/changes, as these will give rise to claims on
the part of the contractor, which will mean a financial loss to
Upon completion of the work, your architect must submit drawings
(as built) to the appropriate Authority for the issue of a
certificate of final approval. When this is issued, it will have
to be deposited at the District Lands' Office so that the
registration of the building on the title deed of the land is
Whereas a building should be priced and built based on a Bill of
Quantities, bear in mind that the contractor can charge
“inflation” on prices and materials which might reach 3% - 5%
from the quoted prices. Seek the advice of your architect.
House costs around €2000 / mt. for good quality buildings and
€1.200/sq.mts. for average ones, a skimmer type pool 4 x 12 mts.
approximately €25,000, garden cost [budget only since it
depends on the size ] €7,000 and services [water, electricity
etc.] approximately €2000 per unit once off.