A wonderful retirement in Cyprus

Sophie shares her parents story

by Sophie Lyons
3 Bedroom village house, mountain view 2
Sophie Lyons's property for sale in Limassol

As I began the process of marketing my parents' property in Cyprus, I reflected with happiness, rather than sadness, on the wonderful retirement they enjoyed together for nearly 20 years. Hopefully sharing their experience will help readers decide if a life in Cyprus is for them.

Why retire abroad?

Mum and Dad (Margaret & Andy) were keen to enjoy the early retirement they had planned for but found that retirees in the UK were already seen as “old”. Activities and social events tended towards knitting and playing bowls, and while lovely pastimes for some, my parents wanted a bit more fun. Thinking that a life abroad might be the answer, they initially looked at northern France. But a summer holiday took them to Cyprus – and they fell in love. Lovely weather, a laid-back lifestyle, beautiful scenery and friendly, welcoming locals won them over, while the widespread use of English and driving on the left made the transition seem easy. A second holiday and a bit of house-hunting and the decision was made. They moved to Lania, near Limassol, in 2006.

Ease of purchase

My parents found the purchase relatively easy, although the help of an English-speaking solicitor with a conveyancing department was essential. The sizable British ex-pat community in Cyprus means that estate agents and solicitors are well-versed in assisting people from the UK looking to retire to Cyprus and will help you navigate the process. You will need to make a will when you purchase a property in Cyprus, so it’s a good idea to add this to your package when comparing prices for conveyancing.

Some other useful tips for buying in Cyprus that my parents found along the way...

  • Title deeds will be essential should you ever wish to sell on a property – but not all houses have them (they can be misplaced over the years). Make sure anything you consider has them.
  • Lots of official paperwork needs to be presented in person in Cyprus, but your solicitor can act for you if they have taken a certified copy of your passport. Just make sure they have it if you intend them to act for you, as it is lengthy and expensive to organise from the UK.
  • You may find it will save you money to set up a multi-currency back account to allow you to pay bills in euros as they arise in Cyprus.

Things to consider when looking at houses

  • Cyprus can be very hot in the summer, so air-conditioning is useful. But it can also be quite cold in the winter months, especially in the mountain villages, so heating is essential. Buying in the warmer months means heating is often overlooked.
  • Enjoy the warmth but don’t want to bake in the summer? The mountain villages are often a little cooler, offering welcome respite from the higher temperatures of July and August.
  • Public transport is limited in Cyprus outside of the main towns. So, if you don’t drive, consider buying closer to town.

An enjoyable lifestyle

My parents bought a house on the edge of a beautiful Cypriot village. With its Greek Orthodox church in the central square, stone-built villages houses, flower-filled lanes and, of course, the essential coffee shop Lania (or sometimes Laneia) is full of traditional charm. That charm has been attracting artists, both British and Greek, for decades and there are several studios and a mixed community of British and Cypriot residents who get on very well with each other.

This lively and social community made my parents’ retirement so enjoyable. From traditional village celebrations (Easter is a major event in Cyprus) to the weekly social round of the ex-pat community (everything from bridge to wine-tasting to horse-racing) they were always busy and always having fun. The lovely weather made long winters far more bearable and my Dad enjoyed the challenge of gardening in a totally new climate. My parents never regretted for a moment their decision to move to Cyprus and thoroughly enjoyed the life they made there. I hope the new buyers for their Cypriot home will be just as happy there.