Client Testimonials

Not one but two and there is more

I had been looking for a place to buy where I could relax during my holidays and then relocate from the UK when I retired. I was viewing property in Almeria, Spain without much success because every time I found a quiet peaceful spot the cranes and golf courses seemed to be moving into the area and ‘improving’ it!

It was then I first found out about Lesvos. I had arranged to go on holiday there ( Spring 2006) with a very close friend who knew the island well, having been a regular visitor for over 15 years. The photos were enough to get me searching the web for more information. This was when I first heard the name Dimitra Balzikas.

I had been told that it could be quite difficult to buy on Lesvos, that there was a lot of paperwork and formalities to go through so my first contact with Dimitra was to ask for information.

I very quickly received an email containing very comprehensive information, outlining the process, telling me the “on costs” I should expect and inviting me to ask if there was anything else I needed to know. An excellent start, very much in contrast to the pushy sales teams in Spain.

So I browsed the website and fell in love; A small cottage, near the sea, with fruit trees and mountains, in Nyfida, South Lesvos.

After that everything went surprisingly smoothly. Dimitra opened a bank account for me on Lesvos and I transferred my money. We met Dimitra, when we came for our holiday. I saw my house and decided to buy it. I asked how long it would take, as it is a long drawn out process in the UK, and was told 2 or 3 weeks. Brilliant!!. A quick trip to the capital, Mytilene, to see the notary, to give Dimitra a limited power of attorney to buy the property on my behalf and it was done.

This is not the whole story, however. Dimitra showed me several properties. I think she knew which one had stolen my heart but being a good agent she wanted me to see all my options. After doing the financial calculations for my beautiful cottage I found I could afford to buy another smaller house near the sea too, this time at Skala Polichnitos, South Lesvos. So Dimitra bought that one for me too, after the sale of the cottage was completed. In fact she is managing the new rental agreement she set up, for the tenant I inherited.

I’m now in the process of improving my cottage. The builders are in, slightly altering the layout, under the watchful eye of Dimitra and then I will set to work planning the kitchen and bathroom.

I have found the whole experience surprisingly easy and trouble free and I look forward to my next visit in a couple of weeks when I will see the work done so far.

Eileen Denbigh-White, UK

If you live over the big pond you can too

To all those interested in buying property on Lesvos (especially North Americans):

I was due to retire in early 2005 when I got the idea that it would be an interesting idea to invest in a small house in Greece where my wife and I could spend some of our retirement time. We are from Ontario, Canada; however, we had visited Lesvos for a month in 2002 and were impressed by the island landscape, history, and the old Greek culture, not to mention the lack of tourist traps.

In January 2005, after typing “houses for sale on Lesvos" in Google I got through to Dimitra Balkizas on Lesvos. Dimitra responded immediately and provided me with pictures of some homes that met my general requirements and provided me with a lot of information concerning Greek law and the requirements regarding Non EU citizen house purchases.

My month’s visit in May 2005 to Lesvos was intended to view properties in the Polichnitos region and make a choice. After several viewings to likely properties, I choose the one I saw first, a house in Polichnitos.

As a Non EU citizen, if you wish to purchase property on an island on the eastern region of Greece, you are required to apply for, and receive Greek military approval first, which is property specific. The application is prepared by your lawyer after you make an offer on a property (requiring a non-refundable 10% down payment) and then you must wait for the approval. I had to wait 6 months for military approval (2 months longer than expected) but because the house I purchased was vacant, Dimitra was able to negotiate immediate possession after the pre-agreement was signed and the down payment made. This is by no means “normal” and the exception rather than the rule but Dimitra will do her best each time to smooth things out to everyone’s benefit. She can provide you with the list of documents needed to expedite the process to complete the military approval process and all the steps involved in purchasing property on Lesvos.

Dimitra arranged for an English speaking lawyer to handle the house transaction and the military submission because I did not speak a word of Greek.

In Canada, the lawyer looks after all aspects of a property purchase but not so on Lesvos. To begin, Dimitra accompanied me to get my tax number and then helped me get my Greek bank account before I made an offer on a house.

Because of the delay in the military approval, it was necessary to leave Dimitra with the Power of Attorney to complete the house purchase for me and handle all the money. I had no worries or reservations about doing this. After the purchase, she went with me to transfer the electricity and water accounts and arranged for my house insurance.

Dimitra has contacts with builders, tilers, plumbers and other trades people and professional services who can help with changes you may wish to make to your new property. She pays close attention to detail and has excellent knowledge of house design and construction and has continued to be a great help to us long after we purchased our house.

My wife and I have now spent 6 1/2 months in the last 1 1/2 years at our home on Lesvos and are looking forward to next year already, and we just got home.

If you would like further information, ask Dimitra to put you in touch with me by email.

Theodore and Marilyn Koehler, Ontario, Canada.

Another success story

November 2006

To Whom it may Concern

Buying land or a property in Lesvos is a very different experience from buying in the UK and many other countries. It is also different from some of the more popular islands in Greece where builders and property developers have put their own packages together to persuade the foreign buyer to invest.

Like us, you have probably done plenty of research and discovered that Lesvos has been left behind in the rapid overdevelopment of many parts of the Mediterranean. You will also have watched many TV programmes and read plenty of guidance about how to buy a property and what you should and should not do.

When you get to Lesvos, you need to tear up the rule book and find yourself a licensed, local, experienced, native Greek / English speaking Estate Agent to help you and guide you through the process. If you decide to go it alone, then “caveat emptor”!

Our experience of over 25 years of visiting many Greek islands and indeed the mainland did not really prepare us at all for our property purchase, other than the fact that it was fairly easy to decide that Lesvos was where we wanted to buy.

Once we arrived in Lesvos, we embarked on viewing a range of properties within our budget. We looked at land, ruins and renovations. We looked on the coast and in the villages.We finally bought land on the coast at Skamnioudi, near Lisvori, South Lesvos and we are in the process of a "design and build" which we expect to take 3 to 5 years with local help and support.

In order to buy, you need to have a Tax Number and will need to open a Greek bank account. This will need to be a joint account with your chosen representative. They will also need to accompany you to the local Notary in order to establish title to the property. In our case we also visited the civil engineer who established that we could in fact build on the land. You will read about the “rule of thumb” land sizes applying to plots and whether or not they are within the village boundary or agricultural. In fact, these are simply guidelines and you may find that there are other planning rules which apply. The Civil Engineer will advise you before your purchase. Had we gone ahead and bought without the advice of the engineer, we would have risked wasting our money.

As always, these experiences were not learned from a book, but from good local advice. We appointed the Hibiscus agency and its proprietor Dimitra Balkizas as our agent. She guided us throughout the whole process and acted as power of attorney with access to our Bank Account and funds to complete the process.

We would not hesitate to recommend her.

Yours sincerely

Jean and Andy Johnson

Utopia is possible!

Dear Dimitra,

We would appreciate you using this as a form of reference on your website, so others can benefit, as we have..

I am not usually the type to willingly put pen to paper, but both Julie and I feel that in some way it will act as a thank you for the time and effort you have afforded us during this last year, as I have often said to you - above and beyond the call of duty. Unfortunately for you, now that we have bought the land, you can't get rid of us.

For anyone wishing to purchase land or property on the island, then we can not recommend Dimitra, Vaios and staff at Hibiscus too strongly.

Having visited many islands over the years, we had already decided on Lesvos. The decision mainly being based on the fact it is still not over commercialised. However, we did originally meet another agent, who was unfortunately only concerned with trying to ensure we purchased something / anything through them.

Luckily we had also found Hibiscus on the net and having met up with Dimitra and Vaios a couple of days later, knew immediately we had struck gold.

We had filled a questionnaire in for Dimitra before our arrival. This I found a bit daunting as I like to play my cards close to my chest, my fault, as I am very cynical. However, this proved highly beneficial, for after a brief chat with Dimitra, she was assured of what we were looking for. This also saved endless jaunts into the countryside, on totally fruitless excursions. Unlike the previous agents!

To keep it brief, as I don't want anyone reading this to get bored with my mundane drivel, Dimitra helped us find what we have classified as our Utopia, at Skala Vassilikon, in the Municipality of Polichnitos. It took us two visits to the island last year ( 2006 ), to find this plot of land, after a false first start.. The best part is, that having found it, Dimitra did everything for us vey effisciently , so within 7 days the land was ours.

We had read all the books - 'Buying Property in Greece', etc, etc -, but this can not compensate for the wealth of knowledge that Dimitra and Vaios posses. They dealt with everything from dealing with the tax office, actuary, architect, opening a bank account and all other aspects. We gave Dimitra power of attorney before returning home so everything was finalised without a hitch.

A return visit was taken in November for me to approve the building plans before they were submitted for planning permission. All the preparatory work was done by e mail between us, Dimitra & the Civil Engineer she had recommended..

The beauty of dealing with Dimitra is that there are plenty of people who have trodden the same path as Julie and I, who you can meet in person on the island. I know when our little abode is complete and we are on the island, then we would be only too pleased to meet people on her behalf.

I have informed Dimitra that I am only too happy to correspond with anybody, should they request my email address from her.

Stan Smith and Julie Smith

An olive grove for me!

Buying land or a property in Greece is a very different experience from buying in the UK and many other countries. In Lesvos property buying is even more different from some of the more popular islands in Greece where builders and property developers have put their own packages together to persuade the foreign buyer to invest.

Like me, you have probably done plenty of research and discovered that Lesvos has been left behind in the rapid overdevelopment of many parts of the Mediterranean. So as a result of my research in July 2008 I got in touch with Dimitra Balkizas, owner of HIBISCUS REAL ESTATE AGENCY via her web site to enquire about a couple of olive groves in Vassilika which we fancied as possible plots to build us a country cottage in the future.

Dimitra kindly provided all the information I needed but sadly my plans to visit and view the properties at the end of summer were cancelled at the last minute.

Fortunately Dimitra didn’t forget me & in January 2009 together with her New Year’s wishes she sent me photos & information on another olive grove for sale, this time in Vatera (since in the meantime the Vasilika olive groves got sold). As it turned out we liked this olive grove even more and it was a well priced one too! We decided very quickly that we wanted to buy it but again it was impossible to get to Lesvos to view it & go through the process of buying it.

We didn’t intend loosing the olive grove this time so by early February I sent Dimitra a limited Power of Attorney (which we signed at the Greek Embassy in London) which allowed her to apply for a Tax Number for me (without it you can’t buy, sell or do anything for that matter), open a joint Bank Account (so I can send the funds for the transaction) & buy the olive grove for me.

On the 16th of February 2009, I was the proud owner of an olive grove in Vatera, that I had only seen in photos, thanks to Dimitra. At the time Dimitra had mentioned that she was dealing with some health issues but it wasn’t until much later that we found out that on the 17th of January 2009 she had undergone three major operations in Athens, so at the time that she should have been convalescing she was also working hard towards buying the land for me too!

In May 2009 we were able to visit Lesvos and our olive grove in Vatera for the first time! It was love at first sight! So much so, that I considered buying the olive grove next door…sadly it wasn’t for sale! Anyway we toasted our Good Luck in owning the olive grove with Ouzo & mezze at a seafront Taverna in Vatera in the company of Dimitra & Vaios (her husband) whilst hearing the gentle waves on the beach below!

In gaining the olive grove, we also gained two good friends in Dimitra & Vaios. They are also currently helping us cultivate the olive grove until we are ready to build our cottage on it. In conclusion we would not hesitate to recommend Dimitra & her Agency, to anyone that is planning on buying property in Lesvos.

Evis & Margaret Liasidis / February 2010

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