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  • #40630
    stavros
        • Topics: 4
        • Replies: 25
        • Total: 29
        • BIC Junior Member
        • ★★★
        Member since: 14th October 2011

        Hi everyone,

        I visited Vamos briefly last year. Can someone offer thoughts on full-time living in Vamos?

        Look forward to receiving your comments.

        Thanks,

        Stavros

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        BullionVault

        #41050
        Gavalochori Geezer
            • Topics: 28
            • Replies: 170
            • Total: 198
            • BIC Full Member
            • ★★★★★
            Member since: 14th December 2006

            Well, it’s got a good bakers, minimarkets & English butchers, choice of tavernas + the Art Cafe with frequent live music of all sorts. The cafenion near the crossroads provides a frappe + chilled water + biscuit + raki for just 1.5euros – a great value way to spend an hour or two watching the world go by (all of this is year-round so it helps you through the long & wet winters).
            Vamos is also on the summer cruise lines coach tour so people-watching can be rewarding in the warmer weather! I have found the Demos office in Vamos can help with most things and save a trip to head office in Vrysses + there is a citizens advice office in Vamos.

            #41352
            Gavalochori Geezer
                • Topics: 28
                • Replies: 170
                • Total: 198
                • BIC Full Member
                • ★★★★★
                Member since: 14th December 2006

                Ooh, I forgot the support provided by 24-hour medical centre and "Doctor Elizabeth". If I wasn’t in Gavvers I’d live in Vamos!

                #41584
                Gem
                    • Topics: 27
                    • Replies: 289
                    • Total: 316
                    • Practcally Cretan
                    • ★★★★★★
                    Member since: 28th December 2010

                    Don’t buy anything wherever! Rent!

                    #41755
                    stavros
                        • Topics: 4
                        • Replies: 25
                        • Total: 29
                        • BIC Junior Member
                        • ★★★
                        Member since: 14th October 2011

                        Gem,

                        Many thanks. That is an option I am considering in view of the economic uncertainty. However, I hear that people are still buying, which is interesting. Would you care to add some ‘meat’ to your opinion? Look forward to hearing more. You can always PM me if you prefer.

                        Stavros

                        #41887
                        stavros
                            • Topics: 4
                            • Replies: 25
                            • Total: 29
                            • BIC Junior Member
                            • ★★★
                            Member since: 14th October 2011

                            Gav Geezer,

                            Many thanks for your thoughts. Has this been an unusually wet winter, or are winters normally pretty damp?

                            When I visited Vamos I got the impression that there was a bit of life centred around the Art Cafe. I want to be somewhere with a sense of community. How would you compare it to Gavvers? I ate in the kafeneion there and thought it was lovely, but otherwise it seemed quieter than Vamos.

                            Look forward to hearing more.

                            Stavros

                            #41986
                            Gavalochori Geezer
                                • Topics: 28
                                • Replies: 170
                                • Total: 198
                                • BIC Full Member
                                • ★★★★★
                                Member since: 14th December 2006

                                Yes, the winter is when the aquifer tops-up and usually most of it falls in Jan-March and again usually you get nice bright warm spells in between. Last winter was wetter than average with fewer breaks but the rain did stop in mid-April, in 2011 it carried on till late May. That’s why you need a suitable reliable home heat source, because it can feel very dank otherwise.
                                I know where Gem is coming from with his renting tip, there are several hundred properties for sale in the Apokoronas. Many of those owners would long-term rent them out if they got the chance for under half comparable UK properties – with a pool thrown in! Also a good idea to rent for the first winter to see if Crete is really for you.
                                There is a lot more going on in Vamos on the face of it, although there are many friendly and genuine folk, Cretan and ex-pat, to be found in Gavalochori once you settle-in. The cafenion stays open serving food too throughout the winter (and there’s no language barrier with Monica of course!) whereas the tavernas tend to close or open only at the weekend.

                                #42145
                                daveellen
                                    • Topics: 25
                                    • Replies: 87
                                    • Total: 112
                                    • BIC Full Member
                                    • ★★★★★
                                    Member since: 25th January 2011

                                    Though I disagree with the total ‘ban’ on buying I agree renting for awhile is a much better idea. If nothing else it means you can move villages quite easily. Gav or Vamos, or elsewhere, is a personal decision and the only way to find out is try it. We are moving into our 3rd year renting in Gav and are looking to buy in a totally different area.
                                    We actually quite like the winter. It helps that you can guarantee that summer will arrive of course.  :)

                                    #42213
                                    stavros
                                        • Topics: 4
                                        • Replies: 25
                                        • Total: 29
                                        • BIC Junior Member
                                        • ★★★
                                        Member since: 14th October 2011

                                        Dave,

                                        Thanks for your comments. The market seems to be awash with houses, so I suspect there must be a good number of ‘motivated’ sellers. You are right about renting; it gives you a chance to experience a location on a daily basis. Have you enjoyed your three years in Gav?

                                        Stavros

                                        #42273
                                        Peebee
                                        Participant
                                            • Topics: 51
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                                            • Practcally Cretan
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                                            Member since: 15th September 2009

                                            Stavros
                                            We rented for 6 months in Vamos before finding our `ideal’ property up on the cliff-tops overlooking Souda bay, and are intending to keep renting for many years.
                                            Although we do use the Kafenions in Kalyves, we still love going back to the square in Vamos for a lunchtime beer or two. Everybody seems to know everyone else, and the entertainment re parking and traffic, can sometimes be priceless.

                                            #42324
                                            stavros
                                                • Topics: 4
                                                • Replies: 25
                                                • Total: 29
                                                • BIC Junior Member
                                                • ★★★
                                                Member since: 14th October 2011

                                                Peebee,

                                                Thanks for your message. Maybe renting is the new buying? In other words, keep your cash liquid and your lifestyle flexible.
                                                Enjoy your new place.

                                                Stavros

                                                #42367
                                                daveellen
                                                    • Topics: 25
                                                    • Replies: 87
                                                    • Total: 112
                                                    • BIC Full Member
                                                    • ★★★★★
                                                    Member since: 25th January 2011

                                                    Stavros, Gav is great in itself but its also very easy to drive to Vamos, Almyrida or Kalyves [or 10 euros for a taxi when the tsikoudia is calling ;) ].
                                                    I also agree with Peebee re. traffic watching ;D I can reccomend Floppy Internet Cafe for some great parking and traffic jams!
                                                    More seriously, if your thinking of buying then it has to be for the long term. Most analysts think 10 – 15 years before the property cycle has turned in Greece i.e. you can sell and make anythingin real terms.

                                                    #42405
                                                    stavros
                                                        • Topics: 4
                                                        • Replies: 25
                                                        • Total: 29
                                                        • BIC Junior Member
                                                        • ★★★
                                                        Member since: 14th October 2011

                                                        Thanks Dave. There’s no doubt the property market is in for a long haul. Tax in Greece is another consideration. It’s  horrible and a huge disincentive to anyone thinking of moving there. You’ve really got to love a place to accept tax at these levels. Spain is catching up fast, but at least income from interest etc is taxed at a lower rate than from employment.

                                                        Stavros

                                                        #42440
                                                        Topdriller
                                                            • Topics: 76
                                                            • Replies: 1435
                                                            • Total: 1511
                                                            • Practcally Cretan
                                                            • ★★★★★★
                                                            Member since: 3rd March 2007

                                                            The real question is, do you want to live here in someone else’s house or do you want to live here in your own house?  Common sense dictates that renting is probably the more sensible option but when it comes to quality of life common sense is not always the best way to go!

                                                            We have friends here who rent and it works well but they have to make a number of compromises re where, for how long, does the property meet their needs etc? 

                                                            One of the unexpected pleasures I’ve found living here is working in the garden.  I hated gardening (probably because my father made me work in the family garden when we were kids) and vowed never to have a garden.  Well guess what, I now have a garden that would scare a professional because of it’s size and the work involved.  And maybe that’s the magic of Crete and living here i.e. you find things to do that you never wanted or had the time to do when working back in the UK?  But there is a cost i.e. water, irrigation, plants, trees, pergolas, shaded areas to sit, read, lap up the warmth etc. and it’s a lot harder to spend your hard earned cash when the property belongs to someone else.

                                                            Rentals here are relatively cheap but then again it’s also relatively cheap to buy a house on Crete these days.  I can’t imagine not having a pool to slip into over the hot (it’s 38C here today) summer months and whilst the beach is very close it’s not the same as slipping naked into the pool anytime during the day or night!

                                                            Come here with an open mind, rent for a bit and decide the kind of life you want to live.  Once you learn what you like / want you might well find owning your own house and turning it into your very own idyll is the better way to go.

                                                            Jon

                                                            #42469
                                                            stavros
                                                                • Topics: 4
                                                                • Replies: 25
                                                                • Total: 29
                                                                • BIC Junior Member
                                                                • ★★★
                                                                Member since: 14th October 2011

                                                                Jon,

                                                                Thanks for that. Actually, ownership is vey much in my blood as I have owned and restored houses in various countries. Renting is fine, but you can’t customize a rental property. But, as a way to decide if a place is for you, renting makes a lot of sense. Like you, I wasn’t a fan of gardening a a child, but I’d love to have one now. Isn’t is curious how our tastes evolve. The downside of Crete, indeed Greece, is the high cost of many things and the tax burden. Mind you, I have the feeling the UK will head the same way, even though my solution would be the opposite. But, that’s not for here :-).

                                                                #42495
                                                                Topdriller
                                                                    • Topics: 76
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                                                                    • Practcally Cretan
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                                                                    Member since: 3rd March 2007

                                                                    Stavros,

                                                                    The tax burden here is not really that much higher than the UK, it’s just that until recently we’ve not really been taxed that much here on Crete.  For example, the new property tax is similar to the UK council tax (a tax based on the value of your property) and whilst it came as a shock to us home owners for most it was less than what they’d pay at home.  And yes, we don’t get the same kind of services we would in the UK but then again we aren’t watched everywhere we go by CCTV cameras!

                                                                    The new tax laws re foreign residents are a worry but since there is a reciprocal tax agreement with the UK you’re not going to be taxed twice on your earnings i.e. if you pay tax on interest / pension in the UK then it’s my understanding they can’t / won’t tax you here as well.

                                                                    The highest taxes are the hikes on fuel and goods but that would hurt whether you rented or owned a property here.

                                                                    The car tax is onerous – and unfair – but with Greeks avoiding tax you can see why the Revenue would tax expensive / larger engine cars.  The same goes for the pool tax i.e. they assume if you own a pool you’re not declaring all your taxes, hence the pool tax.  Again, it’s unfair for those of us who do pay their taxes but hey ho, the price of living here on Crete!

                                                                    Jon

                                                                    #42521
                                                                    footscapes
                                                                        • Topics: 11
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                                                                        • Total: 131
                                                                        • BIC Full Member
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                                                                        Member since: 6th April 2006

                                                                        457E617563787D7D7463110 wrote: The new tax laws re foreign residents are a worry but since there is a reciprocal tax agreement with the UK you’re not going to be taxed twice on your earnings i.e. if you pay tax on interest / pension in the UK then it’s my understanding they can’t / won’t tax you here as well.

                                                                        This could be slightly misleading for anyone contemplating coming to live here permanently. The main change for expats is the new definition of tax residency, previously vague. It is now precisely defined – live in Greece for 183 days or more, you are a Greek tax resident and taxes are due to Greece on your worldwide income. Only when you have reached that point does the treaty with the UK (or elsewhere) kick in and determine where tax should be paid for each type of income. UK bank interest, for example, for a UK expat tax resident in Greece should be taxable in Greece, not in the UK. The treaty does give protection from double taxation, but in this case by granting exemption at the UK end, not in Greece. Under the UK/Greece treaty, many types of UK pension would similarly be taxable by Greece and exempted in the UK.

                                                                        Many expats seem unaware of (that’s the charitable view – probably more likely ignoring) the change, and so not declaring themselves tax resident in Greece. Given the recent changes here to tax free allowances, imputed incomes, solidarity levies etc, the incentive for doing this would seem to be the prospect of paying less tax in the UK (or wherever else) than they would pay in Greece.

                                                                        The system, for the moment, relies on the self declaration of residence status to the Greek authorities, and their methods of control/policing are probably as dire as in other areas. It seems likely that those expats who are, ahem, ‘mistaken’ in their interpretation of the rules will probably get away with it for a while longer.

                                                                        Paul

                                                                        #42541
                                                                        Topdriller
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                                                                            • Practcally Cretan
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                                                                            Member since: 3rd March 2007

                                                                            Paul,

                                                                            I’m not sure how the Greek authorities would know what your global income was unless you told them.  For example, if you happened to be renting out a property in the UK and were earning taxable income then who would have precedent re tax ie HMRC or the Greek authorities? Likewise, if your savings are earning interest in a UK bank you will be either taxed automatically at source or, if a larger amount, will be paid gross and then have to pay tax on interest earned to HMRC.

                                                                            I can’t see HMRC, particularly in these cash strapped times, foregoing taxable income from a UK citizen in favour of the Greek authorities.

                                                                            This being the case the reciprocal tax agreement would come into force.

                                                                            Jon

                                                                            #42561
                                                                            footscapes
                                                                                • Topics: 11
                                                                                • Replies: 120
                                                                                • Total: 131
                                                                                • BIC Full Member
                                                                                • ★★★★★
                                                                                Member since: 6th April 2006

                                                                                764D5246504B4E4E4750220 wrote:
                                                                                I’m not sure how the Greek authorities would know what your global income was unless you told them.

                                                                                Exactly my point about it being on a self declaration basis. You have to declare your true tax residence status and then your income to the Greek tax authorities. Many simply don’t.

                                                                                The general position about income from in – territory assets is that it is taxable in the location of the asset, so I think that UK rental income from a UK based house remains taxable in the UK even for Greek tax residents.

                                                                                Your point about UK bank interest is simply 100% wrong. We earn interest from a small deposit with the Halifax. It is declared and taxed in Greece (we are Greek tax residents). With the appropriate paperwork being sent to HMRC, it is not taxed in the UK, either at source or subsequently. HMRC is perfectly happy about this. It is per the DTT provisions negotiated and agreed between the UK and Greece. This is the bit that covers interest http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/dtmanual/DT8305.htm

                                                                                You talk about the reciprocal tax agreement coming into force, but the key point is that the agreement kicks in as a protection once tax residency has been determined. After Greek tax residency has been declared/established, then read the link above about interest. It says (I paraphrase, and change "first territory" etc to be the actual locations): "Interest derived from the UK by a tax resident of Greece (and who does not carry on a trade in the UK by means of a permanent business establishment) is exempt from tax on such interest in the UK".

                                                                                To labour the point 100%, many expats simply omit the step of establishing true tax residency (in Greece) before looking to the tax treaty. They simply view it (the tax treaty) as some kind of magic cloak against the evil Greek taxman. Sadly, there are no magic cloaks.

                                                                                Paul

                                                                                #42578
                                                                                stavros
                                                                                    • Topics: 4
                                                                                    • Replies: 25
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                                                                                    • BIC Junior Member
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                                                                                    Member since: 14th October 2011

                                                                                    Hi Jon and Paul,

                                                                                    I have been officially non-resident in the UK for a number of years. I became fiscally resident in Spain and paid tax on my worldwide income. That amounted to interest earned in the UK and earnings from my biz in Spain. The EU directive on taxation of interest arising from capital held in Jersey etc obliges your bank to either apply a witholding tax of 35% or report full details of your account to the tax authority where you are fiscally resident. Computers talk to each other. The Bank of Spain monitors all movements in and out of the country. It’s the same in France and elsewhere. If the Greeks don’t do this now, they will shortly.

                                                                                    I have made a comparison of my tax liability in the UK, Spain, and Greece, assuming I am fiscally resident in one of those countries. I took an arbitary income of circa 40,000 euros, whoch produced tax of 6000 E in the UK, 8500E in Spain, and 9300 E in Greece. For Greece, I didn’t allow for pool tax etc. I used an exchange rate of 1.20.

                                                                                    The big difference between the UK and Greece is the tax- free personal allowance, and the fact that income up to around 40,000 E is taxed at 20%, whereas the same income in Greece is taxed at 10, 18, 25, and 35%.

                                                                                    It is clear that moving your tax residency to Greece has real consequences. When you factor in the increased costs of buying furniture etc for a house, there is a serious discussion to be had. Please don’t misinterpret my remarks. I adore Crete but the tax consequences of switching your tax-slavedom from the UK to the Greek exchequer is real. We all know that the financial situation of the UK is dire; however, having our own currency, allows the country to borrow at vey low rates. How long that continues is another matter.

                                                                                    I wonder what the Greek exchequer would do if the country returned to the drachma. Would tax rates fall?

                                                                                    Apologies, this post is getting long. It started out as an enquiry about life in Vamos and has moved onto tax. However, as we all have to pay tax, it’s worth knowing to what extent your enjoyment of life in a given location might be compromised by the taxman.

                                                                                    Thanks for your comments.

                                                                                    Stavros

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