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28th September 2017 at 3:51 pm #47835Chris51Member since: 21st September 2017
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- BIC 2.0 Newbie
Just thought I’d take the time to introduce myself, and ask for some help.
I found out about this forum through a link on trip advisor, and so here I am.
My name is Chris, and my wife Aysen, and at present and for the last 15 years we have lived on the island of Cyprus. Recently however, Cyprus has become less and less attractive to us, it suffers from unabated littering, dirty beaches, illegal building practices, and endemic corruption, and we now feel it is time to leave and find a new Mediterranean island.
I have been doing my research and we have picked Crete as our number one choice.
It appears that your island has very strict building codes, and is particularly litter free , I certainly hope that these facts are true.
What I would like to know from the forum is any really reliable and (hopefully ïŠ) honest estate agents, architects and builders and lawyers.
Also the state of the island’s economy, is the property market still depressed, or improving?
Possibly any tips that you old hands may be able to give a newcomer about nicest places to live, climate problems etc etc. I understand that Crete can be fairly humid, and windy at times, so locations where these weather conditions are better or worse than others.
Naturally we plan to come and look at the island in the winter, and probably rent somewhere until we find exactly what we want.
Thank you for taking the trouble to read this, and here’s hoping for your help.
Chris.28th September 2017 at 9:12 pm #48074KefalasParticipantMember since: 8th March 2014
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- Practcally Cretan
I have just returned from a 4 day visit to Cyprus. I was amazed by the expansion of the road network and out-of-town shopping centres there. It’s becoming more like England every day. In addition, it was uncomfortably hot.
Unfortunately, Crete, too, has many problems. The corruption isn’t as obvious but it’s still there. Money that should go into development projects goes into back pockets and much of the rest is wasted on unnecessary and unused projects.
The beaches, in general, aren’t too bad and the streets are kept reasonably clean. However, very little money is being spent on maintaining the roads so there are potholes and broken tarmac surfaces everywhere.
The temperature is generally 2 – 5°C lower than in Cyprus, meaning much cooler summers but colder winters and a need for good insulation and heating.
Petrol here costs over â‚¬1.50 per litre compared with â‚¬1.20 in Cyprus. Heating oil and diesel oil is expensive.
As for property, there’s remarkably little available around here and prices are a mixed bag. There are some bargains where people (especially Brits) are eager to return to their native lands. Equally, there are people in no hurry to sell, who are holding out for the best possible price. I know of 3 houses for sale in our (large) village. I think they are currently overpriced in view of what most buyers are prepared to pay and in view of the exchange rate.
I live in the North West near Vamos. This evening at nearly midnight the temperature is 22°C and humidity 79% but that’s unusually high because we are just entering the rainy autumn season. In summer and winter it’s generally lower.
Yes there are some honest estate agents, architects and builders and lawyers but no point in recommending any until you decide where you want to live. I definitely recommend finding somewhere to rent then driving around to see which area you prefer. We all have our individual preferences. The West is generally wetter than the east – which is good because water shortages are less likely and the land is greener. However, those living in the East will tell you it’s better because it rains less and is warmer!
The South is generally warmer and windier than the North.
The prevailing wind is from the west or north-west so a house that is sheltered on its north side is highly preferable. (Ours isn’t so we lucked out on that score!)
The economy is crap and there’s very little work except in tourism. Jobs, in general, are poorly paid and taxes are high. It’s best to have either a good pension or a business taxed in the UK.
Note that we use the horrible European "Schuko" mains plugs here. Some Brits have converted their houses to use UK 13 Amp sockets. However, I believe this is not strictly legal and the houses don’t have suitable ring main wiring. (Not that anyone cares!)
Fewer Greek people here speak English than in Cyprus. Also, I’d say that fewer than 5% of the English-speaking expats speak more than a few words of Greek. In general it’s not a problem. However, lack of Greek can, occasionally, be a disadvantage. (I’m not yet fluent but I can usually get by.)
If/when you decide to visit, I would be happy to show you around the area between Rethymno and HaniÃ¡ and discuss matters, based on my 8 years experience of living here.
Martin1st October 2017 at 5:11 am #48192Chris51Member since: 21st September 2017
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Thank you so much for your informative reply, it was really helpful and full of answers to many questions. Thank you again. We are broadening our search to include the islands of Samos and Rhodes, and planned to come and visit all three islands some time this winter, possibly January when things are at their bleakest. I will definitely take you up on your offer of a guided tour.
Chris.3rd October 2017 at 11:49 am #48260adminKeymasterMember since: 1st January 2005
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- Practcally Cretan
Welcome too from me for your visiting the forum.
Our oracle of information Kefalas has laid out his accurate vision and how he views Crete.
While I echo his viewpoint my take is a little different and I will present a more generalised "good feel/vibe" factor for a happier lifestyle regardless of age.
Firstly and for starters, I should clarify I am more familiar with the Eastern end of the island which is drier, and lesser developed than much of the west. We are however more closely reliant on Heraklion the capital and hub for the island. This is important for health care in particular. Greece is centralising government health services just like the UK. As it is drier, it means that we may be less green but for example for arthritis sufferers this can be a distinct advantage.
Crete as with all destinations has to be taken as a package. In my opinion overall, the basic values of the Cretans are more of what we held of our core values in UK 20 years ago before the fall into a serious trend of lack of respect for country, flag and institutions. The Greeks uphold all of that in their own values as they are still far more harmonious maintaing long held values and traditions. Probably like Cyprus, we, the foreigners should always regard ourselves as "guests" even when as a long term resident. I believe that is the way Greeks/Cretan view us. BTW, the Cretans view ‘other’ Greeks as not exactly equal, so we should not be bothered by this. It is a state of mind though.
If you like to be surrounded by Brits, there are those small enclaves in the Chania area but none of that really exists elsewhere on the island.
Overall, the Cretans make Brits very welcome wherever they plan to live on the island.
Please scan earlier comments on settling down in Crete. Many of the older comments going back some years are still valid today.
I would say there is some corruption around. Importantly, the tax office is now clean (at least in the Eastern Crete end) and that in my experience I have never been asked to cough up directly by anyone, let alone the tax office. Crete is still a very much a cash society unless purchasing from the big companies.
Final advice,you are not Greek, yet you have lived in a Greek society, so I hope you understand when I say I never try to be cheap with short cuts, it will always end up costly. Get yourself a good lawyer and a good accountant to do the leg work to cover the bureaucracy and contacts with Greek officialdom …… and yes I can hear you saying so you want to know names of such good people.
I say, you have to come for a temporary visit — rent for a month or couple of months or more — then when in a locale you like ask around to fellow expats of their experiences. In my experience, never ask an estate agent to recommend a lawyer, then you wont go far wrong unless you know their pedigree.
BTW you mention looking further afield in Greece…. remember one thing –
Crete is big; it has micro climates; our tourist resorts do not overwhelm the place; and it takes four-five hours to drive from one end to the other. There is so much more.
I am sure others will find fault with some or all of what I write but these points are as a result of my personal long time exposure to Crete.
Hope that helps and a double hope you will come to an island where many locals won’t holiday anywhere else but Crete. They say it is their paradise. Hard to discredit when there is everything for healthy living here, and money is not an issue.
Tags Crete, Greece, settling down in Crete, Brits, expats
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