Some useful tips when looking to buy in Istanbul

For the saavy investor in Istanbul real estate, the street names of Faikpasa or Cukurcuma are probably already quite well-known and have come to signify what urban chic looks like in this city. A generous sprinkling of cafes, galleries, antique shops and boutique fashion stores line the narrow streets, inviting the wanderer in. A great neighborhood for endless strolls, Faikpasa is located within a few minutes of the bustle of Istiklal, yet maintains its European Old World feel with dashes of contemporary Turkish creativity.

A number of gorgeous boutique hotels that have recently opened make it a fantastic holiday destination offering accommodation par excellence. The mix of nightlife, history and the general sensory overload make for a heady, intoxicating experience. Well-priced home made Turkish food is in abundance. All making the area a go to for Istanbul property investment.



This 150 square meter property was originally two separate apartments that have been combined to allow for ultimate luxury. Located at the top of Faikpasa, featuring architecture that reminds one of Barcelona, this second floor property has carefully restored original features: wood flooring, hand made Turkish tiles, high ceilings, exposed brick, and marble elements sourced from the local shops. All synonymous with Istanbul real estate.

Twin French balconies provide a perfect place for watching the goings-on in the thriving neighborhood. The asking price of 450,000 Euros is likely to be met in the coming months, with intense demand from young, well-heeled Turks, and foreigners seeking a property that exudes the essence of old Istanbul charm and sought after real estate in Istanbul.

As Istanbul is a sprawling metropolis, it is essential that any would-be buyer narrow down the neighborhoods in which they would really like to live. The far-flung suburbs offer a very different experience, and are a big commute into the center. Although prices are very reasonable and there are endless new projects to choose from, one might find the living tends towards the generic and does not offer the full palette that brings visitors by the millions to the ancient waters of the Bosphorous. Before you attempt to start looking for particular real estate, spend at least a few days going to some of the more popular neighborhoods and try to get some feel fort hem. They are typically quite distinct from one another in many ways, not just in pricing.

Another good piece of advice is to seek out an English-speaking estate agent. 90 % of Istanbul real estate agents will have very limited English skills and this poses a wealth of problems and will likely result in at least a fair bit of lost time.

Although the market has surged in the past decade and the days of ridiculously under-valued property seem to be very much a part of the past, the discerning Istanbul property investor still should be able to find a property with lovely character and pricing in line with what you would expect from a major world city, of which category Istanbul no doubt belongs, and indeed has belonged, for many centuries.

Finally, do not take the asking prices on the internet at face value. Bring your keen negotaiting skills to the party!

Red lights- you may have got it wrong on pricing when putting your Istanbul property up for sale

One of the most difficult yet necessary tasks of an Istanbul estate agent is to moderate the sometimes exaggerated values owners have of their own Istanbul properties. To further compound the sensitivity in this is the constant state of flux that exists normally for real estate markets, as well as imprecision in assigning a value to a particular piece of istanbul real estate.

I can tell you, over the years, I have certainly seen both ends of it. I have seen property in Istanbul sell for much more than I would have imagined, but more frequently, I have seen properties sit idly for sale for eons due to incorrect asking prices.

Though far from exhaustive, the below list should give you some idea of whether or not your expectations are in line with market reality.

  • You have assessed the property as objectively as possibly in the context of the broader market.
    do it...

    do it…

    It is important that you have not just gone on the internet and done a superficial search on asking prices. Be aware of neighborhood transactions and compare to your property.




  • You have had two separate real estate agents in Istanbul provide valuations. You may want to consider paying a small sum to them, as this might let them know you are serious about getting an accurate, well-thought out assessment.
  • Has your property been on the market for 6 months? This is a sufficiently long enough time to gauge market feedback and also long enough if some temporary blips (political uncertainty, etc) might skew price trends.
    too long

    too long

    If your property has been on the market for a year or more, ask yourself the question if you are really serious about selling your property.



  • Have you been following your estate agent’s client flow? If they are averaging less than one viewing per week, it may suggest a problem. Of course, for higher end, more rare real estate types, this may be overly-ambitious. However, for your average property within the majority of buyers’ reach, you should be hitting this number, with one view every two weeks being the absolute low.
  • Do some clients seem offended when you show them the property? Although this is a pretty extreme situation, it does happen. I rarely will agree to take on a property that is offensively overvalued, as it immediately destroys credibility and wastes time. Some clients will be very forthright and comment on an absurd asking price. If you hear such comments, do not just brush them aside. These people are not doing this as a negotiation tactic. They will not be making an offer on the property.
  • Very basic, but are offers coming in? Are some clients coming for a second viewing. If you are not getting any second viewings at all, that is a huge red flag.
    deals to be done

    deals to be done

    I always sense when selling a property is imminent and one of the big cues for this is several clients making repeat visits to the property.

  • Yield, yield, yield. Assuming your property is not a Norse Castle somewhere north of Stavanger, most clients will be interested in how much rental income a property could achieve. Just about everybody has some idea about rents in local neighborhoods; it seems to be wired into our survival DNA, so it should not be hard to figure this out.
  • And one of my personal little favorites. If you are using general listing sites that count the number of hits you have and they have an “add to favorites” function and you are not getting more than one “add to favorites” out of one hundred, it is a signal that even in the impersonal online theater, buyers are not even tentatively showing an interest! My hot properties usually get 3-10 “add to favorites” in one hundred. Try it some time, it is a lot of fun.


So, in short, in the rough and tumble world of real estate, a little self-monitoring can be a valuable tool!