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Do-it-yourself Turkey villas!

9th January 2008 Print
Turkey’s lower cost of living and property construction costs tempt more buyers, who are priced out of the UK, to self-build their own pension pads.

Turkey is proving to be the ideal place to buy land, build your own villa – and leave enough money to live through retirement. More and more buyers are opting to self-build in Turkey, says Julian Walker from UK-based Turkish property firm Spot Blue.

“There are 2.06 million people in the UK and Ireland who own property overseas – that’s one in 30 people – and recent figures suggest many of those are looking to relocate permanently,” he says.

“Analysts say that as much as 85 per cent of overseas property buyers are happy with their investment, compared to just 50 per cent who own UK pensions. So it’s not hard to see why buyers are choosing Turkey – it gives investors great value property, a lower cost of living, a warm climate and really friendly people.”

Former BBC engineer David Nigbur and his wife Rosemary say their cost of living has fallen dramatically since Spot Blue helped organise the building of their three-bedroom villa in Uzumlu, just outside Fethiye – a 45-minute drive from Dalaman airport. And the price of their completed property has already increased by 30 per cent. The couple paid £113,000 for the land and building - two weeks after they moved in they had it valued at £140,000.

Rosemary says: “It was never going to be completely easy relocating to another country but we are very, very happy with the villa. The buying of land and the property side of things has been very smooth. The pace of lifestyle is so different to that of the UK so we know it’s all been worth it. We’re now sitting in our T-shirts by the pool and it’s winter here!”

The pair, whose land purchase was also managed by Spot Blue, aren’t worried about medical care just yet - a new hospital has been built in the area and the cost of healthcare is low. The killer hospital bug MRSA, which has struck thousands of patients in NHS hospitals, is not even present in Turkey, says Rosemary.

“We treat all our minor illnesses at a local chemist and when we had to take our neighbour’s daughter to hospital recently the cleanliness was phenomenal,” she adds. “The whole service was efficient and personable – we waited 10 minutes for a doctor and specialist and it cost about £20 – so I don’t miss the NHS at all!”

With the rest of their retirement to look forward to David and Rosemary say the size of Turkey [about three times that of England] will keep them busy exploring.

They’ve also persuaded their friends to build their own villa nearby and they’ll enjoy visits from their four grown-up children and two grandchildren. Art lover Rosemary is also assessing the local market with a view to opening her own gallery.

David adds: “There is a ski development being built as we speak and that can be reached within one and a half hours. We’ll definitely be trying it at some point in the future with family and friends.”

Rosemary says: “Turkey’s a stunning place to live and very affordable. We were originally going to Greece but when it joined the EU prices shot up. We are so glad that we ended up in Turkey as the people and climate are fantastic.”

Rosemary & David’s top tips for building your own Turkish villa:

Find a good agent through a friend, or through a trade body such as the Association of International Property Professionals (

A trustworthy agent like Spot Blue will give you an insight to the Turkish property market; a feel for the lifestyle; they will have good building contacts and they’ll show you the wide range of sites available that you can legally build on.

Get a good independent lawyer with close links to Turkish property law. They’ll help you buy land with no title disputes and put you at ease when buying abroad.

Be prepared for more bureaucracy than you’re used to in the UK!

Get to know some locals as soon as you can as they’ll prove invaluable help.

Find other foreign buyers, through your agent or through an online blog, who can give you tips and advice on the local area.

Be prepared to meet halfway about certain aspects of the building process. Although their standards were high our Turkish builders in Fethiye hadn’t heard of damp courses because they only see about two months of rain a year.

Local people love it when you make an effort to learn the language. We’ve had a few situations where we needed to know a few words.

For more information on building your own home in Turkey, visit