Property Search

(Note: this post was originally written in early May 2023. Spoiler alert — we have since found properties in Turkiye. But this post outlines the process for finding properties.)

This cool map was on the wall at one of the properties where we stayed in Istanbul.

Our money is deposited into our Turkish bank account, and it’s time to look for a place! The only thing – the clock is ticking, since with the country’s presidential election looming (this post written during the first week of May), it’s unclear if the CBI program will be maintained. There is zero likelihood that they would choose to terminate it the day after the May 14th election, but if such a decision were made, we may only have until June 1 or June 15 to finalize our property purchases. If only our money had been available earlier – this last-minute stress would not have been such an issue!

I didn’t know that the property purchase would be as stressful as waiting for the money to come in. Many properties for sale are under $400K, meaning we’re trying to get two. (Better to diversify our investments, anyway.) But with a hard upper limit to our budget, it’s become a game of Tetris to come up with two properties that fit the criteria, but don’t exceed $450K.

What are these criteria, you ask? The most basic one is that the property is suitable to be used for the CBI program. Properties which have been used for CBI in the past, and subsequently sold, are not eligible to be used for the program. Also, in light of the recent Hatay Province earthquake, we want a solid building. But aside from that, we don’t have too many other qualifications. Ideally, it would be in an area where we could rent the apartment and get a reasonable return – basically, the apartment paying for itself in the end.  We’re not sure how much we’ll be staying in our properties when we visit Istanbul, since AirBnBs in our favorite neighborhood are affordable enough.

The friendly faces of Istanbul and Besiktas!

The long-term plan is hopefully to buy a property in our favorite neighborhood after our initial CBI holding period is over. Once we buy our first property, we are allowed to sell it after three years and still maintain citizenship. If we hold the property five years before selling, we will avoid long-term gain taxes. We’d love to use the proceeds from these sales to buy our ideal property in 2028. This, of course, is dependent on availability, world economy, and the status of Turkiye at the time.

Besiktas — our favorite neighborhood! (So far.)

Meanwhile, we feel like we’re close to moving on a pair of properties, but the ten-hour time difference is nervewracking! I don’t expect the agents to stay up all night to help me; as it is, they’ve been more than generous, texting me until 12pm PDT/10pm Istanbul time. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I spend the entire rest of the afternoon with property anxiety…