Client Testimonials

Property in Nyfida

For a nice cottage in Nyfida.

Last Summer I had a small windfall and decided to spend it on a property in Greece. Having done my research I decided on Lesvos as the location of our second home and from the moment Dimitra and I started to correspond I felt confident about my decision on the choice of location and Estate Agent.

We are now the proud owners of a country cottage with land near the sea at Nyfida in Polichnitos, even though at the start of our search we considered other parts of Lesvos.

Whatever you read in the Internet or press do not even dream you can do this alone. There is a whole minefield to go through which if you do not speak the language or even know the alphabet is just impossible. The taxation law is complicated, and only when you have someone like Dimitra to help you, you get to know the intricacies that can save you a packet on taxes and take the stain out of the whole process by her acting as your representative (Power of Attorney).

Also there are the more mundane things to consider such as electricity and water connections and so much more but Dimitra can guide you through these in an honest and efficient way.

We are now renovating our property and again she is proving invaluable, I really cannot thank her enough.

Corinne Holden, East Sussex, UK

June 2011

A long time dream coming through - December 2010

Although I currently live in the United States with my family, I had the luxury of buying our house in Vasilika, Lesvos, as an EU citizen, since I hold a Hungarian passport. This made the whole process a lot easier and faster, with only a few glitches here and there. Overall, the process lasted no more than 3 months, including two trips, one by my husband and three weeks later, one by me, which none of us will ever regret. We both fell in love with the island and its people and knew immediately that Lesvos will be the place we call our permanent home. As soon as our house is finished being renovated, and our child is off to college, (within a year) we will make our final transition to our new home and country.

Without Dimitra and Vaios, this would not be possible. I have never met anybody who is more professional, and caring at the same time. Dimitra is an example of an excellent real estate agent with a heart as big as our planet. She is organized, attentive, patient, intelligent and fun to be around. She will not push hard for any sales, but will not hesitate to tell you her opinion if you ask. She is a very hard worker, I had the chance to “shadow” her everywhere, while we were taking care of the paperwork. Since I stayed at Madonna Studios next door to their villa, (a family hotel she and Vaios owns), I was invited for dinner and coffee for breakfast in their home. Dimitra makes herself available to clients for the entire duration of their visit, and that is what sets her apart from other agents on the island. In my opinion, it is a priceless quality that made my trip to search for properties in Lesvos a wonderful experience.

While on vacation herself, she made her services available to us, answered a thousand questions and set up our bank account in Polichnitos so we could get the best conversion rate. She even made phone calls to the Embassy of Greece in Washington D.C., concerning a POA. She helped my husband negotiate the price with success. Although the buying process itself was pretty simple, I realize how much work went into it on Dimitra's part and I am thankful to her for the rest of my life.

I can say the same about Vaios, Dimitra's husband. He was very helpful, supportive and a great driver (that matters in Lesvos) . While my husband was there, Vaios was a great company to him, introducing Joe to the island and its wonderful restaurants besides showing him the properties with Dimitra.

My advice to potential buyers with dual citizenships: Please go to Lesvos, or back to the country (whose passport you are going to use for the purchase), to get the POA rather than try to obtain it through the Greek Embassy in the United States.

I highly recommend Hibiscus Real Estate for anybody interested in buying, selling or renting properties, and highly recommend their hotel, the Madonna Studios for accommodation while staying in Lesvos.

Thank you Dimitra and Vaios, we look forward to becoming neighbors and getting to know you better.

Joe Johnson and Tunde Hidvegi

December 7, 2010

Owning property on a beautiful Greek island

SUBTRACT THE FEAR FACTOR

It’s one thing to dream of owning property on a beautiful Greek island, and another to actually buy it: the difference is the fear factor! There is nothing like the mere thought of dealing with the bureaucracies of foreign countries to make you pack up your dreams and go running back home. Unless, that is, you’ve had the good fortune to put yourself in the very capable hands of Dimitra Balkizas. This is the person who can turn your dreams into realities, who sticks with you every step of the way, and who either knows her way around obstacles or can hand you the tools to get past them.

I first visited Vatera three years ago, and found myself returning the following summers with my children, yearning to put down roots. Dimitra and her husband Vaios showed us many properties, helped us consider investment values, and finally led us to the perfect plot of land on which we plan to build our retirement home.

As a United States citizen, buying property in Greece is more complicated than it is for E.U. citizens. My initial fears were about the Greek bureaucracy, but navigating the United States bureaucracy is no picnic either. Having learned where to get copies of which documents, how to get them property notarized, and so forth, I’m happy to share my knowledge with any other Americans involved in the process.

In the meantime, consider yourself very lucky to have Dimitra in your corner, taming that fear factor and making the process of fulfilling your dreams fun and exciting.

Cynthia Eller, USA

22.06.2010

Wonderful Greek Island, Lesvos

AN INCREDIBLE OPPORTUNITY!

I discovered the wonderful Greek island, Lesvos, during my vacation there these last two years. In June 2009, I stayed at Vatera in the south of the island Vatera, at Madonna Studios Hotel run by Dimitra Balkizas.

This is where my adventure began. Dimitra and her husband Vaios were immediately very friendly and took me the evening of my arrival to their favorite restaurant. During my stay, more as a hobby than a serious idea, I started to get interested in houses that were for sale in the area.

Dimitra also runs the best real estate agency on the island and hence we started to talk about my idea of buying a property in Lesvos. With great professionalism, she told me that buying a house in Lesvos would be a very good investment especially given the current conditions at that time when property prices were relatively cheap.

Dimitra and Vaios took me by car on several occasions to visit properties, newly renovated homes, house in construction, etc. Dimitra and Vaios had a great sense of the potential of a property, land, and a very clear idea of the budget involved, work and cost of renovation involved. I saw about a dozen houses, but none really suited me and in the end I had to give my answer on the last house I had seen in the village of Lisvori.

I went back to France at the end of my vacation, and after some thought I sent a mail to Dimitra telling her that I did not want to follow through. Dimitra replied that she understood my state of mind and my being cautious. We kept exchanging emails, I weighed all the pros and cons, and since I trusted her totally I told her everything about my finances.

In the end I was convinced that buying a home in Lesvos would be a very profitable investment. She then sent me information, photos of an available house in the village of Polichnitos which is 6 km from the sea and Vatera. She sent me all relevant legal and administrative information about buying a property that answered all the questions I had and more. Therefore, I gave the go-ahead to Dimitra to buy this house for me without having ever visited it! I knew I could trust her judgment.

From there, Dimitra took care of everything for me, she meet the civil engineer, opened a bank account so I could transfer the funds and she dealt with all the administrative and bureaucracy steps involved in the process. When all was ready, I decided to return to Lesvos to sign the deed of sale at the local notary, and also to enjoy another week of vacation on Lesvos! Of course, I could have just given Dimitra a power of attorney and everything would have been settled without me and without any worry. However, I am a contact person and I wanted to participate in the process, and meet the Greek notary, the lawyer that Dimitra had hired for me to translate from Greek into English the deed of sale (I speak English fluently).

In August 2009, therefore only a month and a half after starting the whole process came the great day of final signing! It was a very friendly moment because all the Greek legal people involved were really nice. At the very last minute it was discovered that there was an irregularity with the Vendor’s Tax number. Sorting it out would have taken some time, long past my already return date to Paris. So I gave Dimitra my legal Power of Attorney, for her to complete the purchase of my property which of course she did in due course.

Since then, Dimitra has taken care of the renovation of my house, and has closely monitored the various workers and has even negotiated prices for me. She will also manage the rental of my house.

I can only say one thing: Dimitra is truly amazing, has great skills and local contacts, and if you want to buy or sell a property in Lesvos, you must contact her because she will do everything to your advantage.

Philippe Corfa, Paris, France

August 2010

Seize the Moment

When we decided to stay in Skala Polichnitou for a short holiday from our Eresos part time home in June 2008 we had no idea of the financial problems that would wreak havoc internationally later that year. Since moving to a cheaper area in the UK we had wondered about buying a small studio or even a little plot of land for a caravan near Mytilini where we could park a car and possibly sublet to others wanting to stay nearer the airport for the odd night. Dimitra of Hibiscus Real Estate Services (whom we had known for some years through Greek-o-File) only had details of expensive places there. Other agents’ properties in the same area were similarly priced, because those areas are traditionally expensive.

Over the years, several day trips to Skala Polichnitou and its charismatic fishing harbour had made an impression, so as Lesvos is a big island, we planned to spend a couple of nights there and also visit Plomari. Whilst there, we thought, why not look at some of the Polichnitos properties on Dimitra’s Hibiscus website. “Just to see what is available” we explained to Dimitra. I’m sure she didn’t expect us to buy a house any more than we did!

We talked with Dimitra about a number of properties and first looked at a fully renovated one bedroom house in Polichnitos with a tiny area you just might fit a car on if you did not want it as a courtyard.

Next we saw a bigger, typical Polichnitos late 1920’s, semi-detached house with a lovely old, slightly ‘distressed’ carved wooden door, wide entrance hall with blue paint showing through powdery whitewash and a staircase sweeping upwards to 2 bedrooms and a wide landing. A small door opened onto the kitchen roof and views across a valley to a hillside with chickens and goats on farmsteads opposite. We opened some shutters to let in the light, looked at family photographs still on the wall of the old shoemaker who had lived there until he died, leaving the property to family now living in Argentina. Below were low ceilinged basement rooms, an outside ‘apothiki’ where it appeared the shoemaker was installing a shower and water heater. The kitchen at the back still had two traditional cupboards with plates and glasses in, but only a small basin with cold water tap and there was an outside toilet. Clearly much renovation would be needed on a house like this, but it had potential. Vaios (Dimitra’s husband) even jumped up and down on the floor boards to demonstrate how strong the floors were!

We looked at two properties in Skala Polichnitou - one very small fairly characterless bungalow with no bathroom but at a low price it could be a stepping stone to moving our Greek home to this traditional Greek town which had a feel not unlike Eresos village 22 years ago when Terry first bought his house there. The other house in Skala was renovated, but small, although it was on a large plot and therefore had great potential, but would need a lot of money spent.

Before we knew it we were comparing the merits of these various options and seriously thinking of moving our Greek home to Polichnitos. After all, neither of us had ever owned the same UK house for anything like 22 years, maybe it was time to move on and rekindle that feel of living in traditional Greece.

We looked around nearby villages and other options. Dimitra helped with ball park figures and timescales for licences and building on the smaller Skala houses, or installing a bathroom and updating electrics on the town house. We were getting pretty good at DIY after work on houses in the UK, but more to the point, working on our Eresos home before and after the rebuild (following a fire 6 years earlier). If we did most of the work ourselves then we knew we could not only keep costs down, but also get things the way we wanted them! Also, the old cobbler’s house was worming its way into our hearts.

Decision made, we asked Dimitra to put in an offer. A falling exchange rate for the pound meant that our offer would cost us about the same as the quoted euro price equivalent was the previous year. Our offer was accepted. ‘Power of Attorney’ was set up for Dimitra to handle the purchase in our absence and we opened a joint bank account with her. We weren’t in a hurry and there were tax bills and other matters for the ‘Diaspora’ Greeks to settle before they could sell to us. She kept us informed of the progress by email, including a ‘Good News, Bad News’ moment when one of the beneficiaries in Agiasos died, fortunately leaving her share to the other beneficiaries, who lived in Argentina, then the sellers’ representative was ill in Athens, then after Dimitra jumped through a lot of hoops on our behalf … finally, she completed our purchase in early December 2008.

As I said at the start, we were not to know what would happen to world financial markets when we made our decision. Exchange rates got even worse for us before completion and as yet we have not sold our Eresos village house, which we have placed in Dimitra’s safe hands for sale. The market has been slow, but there are signs that interest in Greek property is picking up again. Having a ‘holiday’ home in Eresos to visit old friends and relax between work on ‘The Old Cobblers’ has been great, but now we feel that Polichnitos IS our Greek home and we are making new friends here.

The major work (create bathroom, install sun water heater, renew electrics, fit kitchen, fix cracks and decorate throughout, wall and tile the balcony, concrete parking area, landscape and plant garden, etc) was completed by early January 2010 and we have continued improvements on two more trips to Polichnitos this year. There’s still plenty to do but we do not regret our move one bit. A house like this may not have been available again if we had not seized the moment!

Sylvia Cook, UK

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