16 Easy Steps for building or restoring a
house in Greece
my tips for building or restoring a house
taken from experience:
1) If you
are poor, don't do it. Rent by the year
instead. At least if you decide you don't like
the house or the village you can move.
2) If you still want to do it have someone
you trust who can advise you and tell you when
you are being ripped off. Preferably someone
within the village who knows the quality of
workmanship and character.
3) Plan on spending more then you planned on
spending. This applies to money, time and
4) Make sure you are there to keep people
working and to make sure things are done the
way you want them and not the way the workers
want to do it which is usually the easy way or
in a way they have never done it but they
think will impress you.
5) Plan to be there for the entire duration
of the time spent building the house.
6) Expect to lose your temper. If you don't
know how to lose your temper you will need to
7) Learn how to make Greek coffee and Frappe
to get the workers rolling after their lunch
break (If they go to the cafe for coffee you
will never see them again)
8) Don't buy any furniture until the house is
complete or it will be destroyed. They will
use your antique tables as ladders and
everything will be covered in plaster.
9) Make sure the workers clean up the area
outside your house of rubble, stones, or
cement when they are done because the
neighbors will blame you for any mess left
10) Make sure the electrician is really an
electrician and not just somebody's cousin.
(Same goes for the plumber.)
11) Always buy a drink for the workers when
you run into them in the cafes so they feel
guilty about ripping you off. (They'll do it
12) Make friends with the Mayor (So he
doesn't shut off your water while they are
mixing cement or he at least warns you.)
13) Let your kids know that they should be
thankful for you building them a house which
you are now too frazzled to enjoy.
14) Make sure you have a good lawyer. (My
friend's family bought land in Skiathos and it
turned out to be a state park).
15) Plan to spend a lot of time on the phone
pleading to get workers to come back and
finish the job, talking to officials to get
building permits extended or trying to find
the type of stones or fixtures you need.
16) Don't buy anything sight unseen and make
sure you are there for the delivery.
is to move to a village, get to know the
people and become a part of that village. Then
people will come running to you with property
to sell because they will be less likely to
overcharge you because they know you. Well
they will still overcharge you but they
If this is
discouraging just remember that you are now
the owner of land in Greece which is a very
valuable commodity and you can always sell it.
We as Americans have this compulsion to
possess and in Greece it works to our
disadvantage, first of all because everything
is overpriced for us due to the economics of
the dollar vs the drachma and second because
everything is overpriced since sellable land
which is not co-owned by a dozen fighting
relatives, is rare. Thirdly, anyone selling
land wants to make as much profit as he can
and a foreigner will pay what a Greek
beauty of Greece for us is that we come and go
as we please. We are not confronted by the
everyday problems a Greek faces and the
country seems idealic to us. On the surface
Greece is a simple place where the sun always
shines and everyone is happy but once you live
there you realize there is another side to the
country and nothing is as simple as it seems.
It's a multifaceted place that shows it's best
face for the visitors. But every foreigner who
has tried to make Greece his own, from Lord
Byron to the present knows what I am talking
about. Greece is a land of complexities and
frustrations as well as a land rich in
personality and beauty.
you make your mind up to buy a house in
Greece, go live there for a year.
If I have not talked you out of it return