Permissions and Perasma

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On Friday I received some news that I thought was bad…..which caused a grumpy weekend.  Our architect told me; a) our land is too far away from a main road and b) we wouldn’t be able to build a house on the land because it is too far from the residential zone.

As I said, this resulted in a very grumpy weekend, resigning myself to having to buy somewhere already built – and trying to figure out how to claw a deposit together.  No built house compares to the one I have in my head though (in our price range).

The architect did say that if we were planning to build a winery (which we are) then we could start with that and show on the plans a small house for ‘workers’.  I was also then trying to figure out in my head how this would work.

But happy Monday, she clarified this morning that we can still build the house first, as long as we submit plans for both – the house and winery.  Oh the relief.

However, before we go any further, I need to get a πέρασμα (Perasma) which means ‘passage’.  This is where all the land owners between us and the road sign over a small piece of their land to allow us passage to our land – basically – I need to ensure we have access to our own property!

So that’s the next step – will be getting onto our solicitor in the morning!

 

Location Location Location

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As I’ve mentioned before, we have been very lucky when it comes to land.  My father owned a significant amount of land for years which he passed to myself and siblings about 10 years ago.

Up until recently, I’ve never really considered any of the land appropriate for building a home on, due to location.  However, as I’ve grown older, ideas developed and the land we are now looking to use should work for us.

I’ve always wanted to build a house in Cyprus for as long as I can remember, but the vineyard – that has developed, say in the last year, when considering the land we had and how best to use it.  Plus, having been on a couple of tours round some local wineries here in the UK – that’s definitely something I can get used to!!  Wine and great views – what’s not to like!

Using what we have though, does mean we will need to overcome a few extra barriers that might not have existed had we purchased land for our intended purpose.  Here are a few pointers that I’ve identified so far – these may be unique to Cyprus, but I believe they probably apply a lot more widely:

  • Zoning – building restrictions apply depending on the category of land.  If you are going to build a residential house, it may be best to buy land already classed as residential land.  This would allow you to build on a higher % of the land – sometimes up as high as the high 90’s.  Ours is agricultural land, meaning we can only build on 10%;
  • Roads – purchasing land with direct road access is a lot easier than not.  It also makes it easier for builders and deliveries to access the plot.  Currently ours does not and we are waiting to find out if we need to build a road (as opposed to using the existing ‘dirt track’) before any building can start.  This adds time and expense to any project;
  • Amenities – in an ideal world, purchase land that already has electricity and water as a minimum.  Ours has neither, so we need to explore options.  Connecting these from the mains will be another costly expense.  The plus side, is that it is forcing me to start investigating how to live off grid!  If this can be achieved, our regular outgoings will be significantly reduced.

I am sure there are more things, but I would say these are the top 3 things to take into account when purchasing land to start building on.

Why?

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We are only at the very beginning of this project, but I have already been asked the question so many times….why?  Why bother building? Just buy a house.

Everyone says that building a house is one of the most stressful things you can do.  I am relishing the challenge.  But, with any stressful activity, I do believe you should always know the answer to the question of ‘Why?’. This will be what keeps me going when I do get stressed or frustrated.  So my main reasons are:

  • Tradition – it’s the old school way in Cyprus.  Parents have a house and their kids build near, around, on top; wherever there is space.  Several of my cousins and friends have done this and I love it.  I love family being close by, whilst also having space.  To me that is perfect;
  • EXACTLY what I want – buying a ready built house means you make compromises and put up with things.  If we design this house ourselves we won’t have this and will love every inch of the place (in theory!);
  • More bang for your buck – in the largest majority of cases, it is cheaper to build than buy.  This is further exaggerated by the fact we didn’t have to pay for the land to start with;
  • Life changing – we currently live in London UK, I am well entrenched in the rat race and I really want to get out!  Building this dream is not only about building a house, but building a new business and way of life (as the next part of my dream is to then develop the land into a vineyard with winery);
  • Safety – life in London is not as it was when I was growing up.  I don’t want to bring children up here any more.  Cyprus is a much better place to bring up a family.

So there is my list.  Why I want to start this never ending project!

I want to build a house, correction, a home.  I want to build a business to help us earn a living whilst utilising the land available.  I want to change our lives for the better.

 

The Self Build Dream

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I’m thinking I should buy this book.

The dream – to build a house to live in in Cyprus and cultivate a vineyard on site to create a source of income.

Ambitious? Yes

Scary? Yes

Achievable? I hope so!

A few years back, I wanted to build a house of straw as it has excellent qualities for insulation and is relatively cheap.  Unfortunately, Cyprus apparently has no engineers that are familiar with this type of build which means the building would never get signed off for official purposes.  We can’t take the risk of building something that may eventually have to be pulled down again.  So this is no longer an option.

But, taking a step back.  Before you build a house, you need somewhere to build it.

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All going well – this is where it will be (sorry for such a grainy picture).

The land has been passed to me from my dad (who is from Cyprus).  It is classed as Agricultural land, so it does not guarantee we will be able to a build residential house on it.  However, preliminary enquiries made by our architect have confirmed that, as long as we don’t have any residential land in our names, we should get the permits to build.  Furthermore, if our plans include developing the land for agriculture, the government would want to support this, not hinder it.

The land is on the outskirts of a small village in the Limassol district.  It currently has no proper road to it (only dirt tracks), no electricity and no water.

These are just the start of the issues we need to investigate and think about.

The first few steps have now been taken….only a few million more to go!Read More »