After a two-year delay due to the pandemic, the time had come for Nick Hados and her husband, Ken Cook, to find an apartment where they could retire. The couple, who live in Little Havana in Miami, had fallen in love with Athens and were vacationing there in a tiny pied-à-terre they had owned since 2016. But by early 2022, they wanted something big enough to live fully. time.
The right apartment would also be their ticket to Greek residency. As U.S. citizens, they could not move to a country in the European Union, which limits tourist visas to 90 days. But if they spent 250,000 euros, or about $267,000, in cash on Greek real estate, they would be eligible for a five-year renewable visa, known as a golden visa, allowing them to live in the country for any period of time. the year. (From May, buyers will need to invest €500,000 in certain regions of the country, including Athens, to qualify for the visa.)
“We like to travel and we want to be somewhere where we can go to Rome or London or wherever,” said Mr. Cook, 58, a retired corporate quality director. “We said, ‘OK, let’s do this.'”
(Have you recently purchased or rented a home? We want to hear from you. Email: email@example.com)
The couple had grown fond of Athens, a vibrant city full of history and family-centered, welcoming everyone from young to old. Stroll down a narrow, winding street and you’re as likely to come across a Byzantine church as you are to pass a family dining at 10 p.m. or a couple dancing in a neighborhood park. The country held special meaning for Mr. Hados, 59, who is of Greek origin and speaks the language.
“It’s just full of creativity here. There are a lot of young people, a lot of energy,” said Mr. Hados, an architect. “In Miami, old people don’t go out, but here, they go out. People of all ages are out walking at all times of the day or night.
The couple also saw Greece as an affordable retirement location, with a lower cost of living. As retired Greek residents, they could spend less on taxes, food, healthcare and other living expenses. The couple set their sights on Pangrati, a trendy neighborhood in central Athens favored by artists and full of restaurants, cafes, parks and civic gems like the National Gallery of Athens. The hilly neighborhood also offered streets with fantastic views of the city, and Mr. Hados wanted an apartment with views of the Acropolis and the Parthenon.
“It’s like having a view of the Eiffel Tower,” he said. “It’s Greece.”
But what is a view without space to enjoy it? So they added outdoor space to their list of must-haves. Whichever apartment you chose, it had to be within walking distance of the city’s historic sites. And it took no less than €250,000 to secure them a golden visa.
In Athens, unlike in the United States, real estate agents do not have exclusive listings and many homes are sold by owners. The couple therefore did not work with a real estate agent. Instead, they looked through various real estate listing sites.
In January 2022, they sold a commercial property in Miami, obtaining the funds to pay for an apartment. With the money in hand and their options limited to a few finalists found online, Mr. Hados flew to Greece in February in search of their ideal home.
Among their options:
Find out what happened next by answering these two questions: