Onur Arık is an Ankara native and the owner and manager of Milan Estate Agents, a boutique personal real estate agency and consulting business in the popular seaside resort of Didim, Turkey. He has a background in Finance, is currently studying Law to better advise his clients, and speaks Turkish, English and some Dutch.
1. Introduce yourself in one sentence. Two things are the most important for me: the first is honesty and the second is being helpful. These are also important for business. When people understand that you are honest and you will always help them everything goes smoothly.
2. Tell us a little bit about your company. My company is a real estate company but we also provide consultancy and after sales services. This is because when you sell a property buyers also need those services. This means we are with clients throughout the whole sales procedure. We have been working for more than 5 years in this sector. We have a lot of clients from Europe, especially from Belgium. We have been working on Aegean side of Turkey, which includes Bodrum and Kuşadası as well. We have a lot of different properties in our portfolio with prices ranging from 30 000 Euro to 1 000 000 Euro.
3. How long have you been in Didim? I have been in Didim for more than 5 years..
4. Why Didim? Didim is developing area. Everyday it is growing. This means there is a high demand from investors. It also means that when you invest, you will see a profit within a reasonable time. Because of this, Didim is a great place to open up a real estate agency.
Didim is also a great place to live. It’s a small town, but popular seaside holiday resort, which means we have many of the amenities and options of a big city. It is located between Kuşadası and Bodrum and just 2 hours from Izmir, one of the Mediterranean’s largest cities. However, compared to Bodrum and Kuşadası prices are far more reasonable in Didim. For example, you can find a nice 2 bedroom apartment with a swimming pool from 50 000 Euro.
While a modern town, Didim is also surrounded by many historical sites, like the Temple of Apollo, Miletos, and Ephesus. Both the beaches and the archaeological sites attract a lot of different people to the area.
5. Milan is a city in Italy – how did you choose this name for your company? My son was born in Belgium and named him Milan, as it’s a very popular name there. My company is named after my son.
6. What are your most popular properties? Most of our properties are in full-service complexes with a swimming pool, security and other facilities, following the hotel concept. 2 bedroom apartments are the most popular. Clients generally prefer closed residential areas where they can find a swimming pool, cafe and bar inside the complex. Two bedroom apartments are usually more than large enough for 4 people on vacation, and thus attractive for renters, and the price is also not so high. But demands change from one person to another. Some people want to be close to sea; some a bit farther away. Some people want to be in the centre; some people seek quietude. We have properties to suit expectations in our portfolio.
7. Who is moving here? Are they vacationers, seasonal residents, or year-long residents? Generally vacationers and seasonal residents, though Didim also has 6,000+ permanent British residents, and several thousand retirees of other nationalities . Most foreigners are from the UK, but we also see clients from Belgium, Sweden and France. The permanent residents are usually retired people over the age of fifty, but summer sees a lot of families vacationing here as well. Didim has over 300 days of sunshine a year, it’s still warm enough to swim in late September, and the winters are not cold, so it’s also a great place to live year-round.
7. b. Who are you selling properties to? What are they doing with their properties? As I lived in Belgium, I am focusing especially on that market. But we also have some clients from England, France and other countries. They are generally vacationers who come 3-5 times per year. If they do not have time to come they generally rent their houses out. We also provide full Rental Services.
Photo Courtesy of Trip Advisor
8. What are people’s initial impressions of Turkey? Of Didim?
They really like it here. Didim, Bodrum and Kuşadası have different options. As I have said Didim is still developing, so you can find much cheaper options. Bodrum is hailed as The Saint-Tropez of Turkey, but people are generally really impressed and surprised because Didim is not big as Bodrum, but it still has everything. It does not matter if they are 20 years or 50 years old, they can find something that meets their interests and expectations. If you like history or entertaining night life you have that in Didim. If you like seafood and water sports you also have a lot of options.
9. What are the most common misconceptions about Turkey? About Didim? About living in Turkey? People generally think that Turkey is not safe, as its border close to the Middle East. But actually it is not like that. Compared to other European countries, Turkey is one of the safest places in Europe. We have a lot of advantages, such as reasonable living costs, 300+ days of sunshine, a culture of hospitality, thriving tourism, etc..
10. What are the advantages of working with a local real estate agent like you versus a larger international real estate company with properties in many countries? We are more friendly 😀 We can offer everything that a big company can offer, but we are not just looking people as clients. We want to build long-term relationships and see our clients as friends. When they need us, we will always be there for them, whether it’s to understand an electricity bill, call a repairman, be on hand to help install appliances, or find a good cleaner. They can even reach us in the middle of the night. Our after sales services includes everything that our clients need after they buy a property, and we work with our clients individually. It makes us not only a consultants, but also permanent friends they can rely on.
11. You majored in finance in university. How would you assess property in Turkey as an investment opportunity? Over the last 12 years a lot of European countries have had crises (like Spain, Greece, Portugal and Ireland). But our economy has been growing. As we have a young population we have a lot of advantages. We are working hard, andthis is positively effecting the economy. There is a possibility to enter the European Union. When we become a member, our prices will also rise, as has happened in Croatia and Albania. So If you invest now you will see a lot of profit in the future.
12. What are the best types of properties to invest in right now? Nowadays 2 bedroom apartments are especially popular. They can be sold and rented easily, as there’s a big market for them. We have different 2 bedroom apartment options for all budgets. So if you want to be close to sea or far but cheaper apartments we can provide those options as well.
13. What should potential buyers be most careful about when searching for a property? First of all, all the papers have to be correct. We only work with the biggest builders in our region, so all of the papers like building permissions and title deeds are checked and verified by a lawyer. Then buyers must determine their budget. Then we can show them different verified properties in their budget range.
14. What is the most important factor that people often overlook when purchasing a property? People generally think that the budget is the most important aspect, but actually it is not. First of all, the property they buy has to have all necessary papers. This means the sale has to be safe and official. After we determine the legitimacy of the papers we can continue the sale if the property is in their budget and matches their expectations.
15. What factors should buyers consider when assessing a property? Safety, legality and budget.
16. What kind of services (pre-sale and after-sale) should clients expect from a Real Estate Agency? I think clients should expect the same kind of complete services we provide. As long as they need us we help them. We help them through all sales procedures and even after they buy their home. Our after sales services is determined by clients expectations. If they need rental services we do it. If they need car rental, organizing daily tours, airport transfer, buying furniture, preparing the house for tenants, doing inventory, checking the property after tenants leave, etc… we can provide those services. Below is a list of our usual pre-sale and after-sale services:
Pre Sale services:
- Arrange meeting with builder
- Completing the sales agreement
- Making payment plan
- Getting a tax number
- Opening a bank account
- Applying for the title deeds
- Obtaining the title deeds
- Applying for electricity and water subscription
After Sale Services:
- Assistance buying furniture
- Organizing airport transfer or daily excursions
- Rental Services
- Inventory for tenants
- Organizing cleaning services
- Organizing car rental
17. How do you help clients find the perfect property? We provide inspections trips. Before the trip we talk with the client to determine their budget and expectations, and we arrange suitable properties for them to view. I have been working and building solid relationships with the best builders in Didim for more than 5 years. When they start a new project they always inform me, and after the project is finished I get new properties in my portfolio. Because of our mutual trust and collaboration, I’m able to have some very desirable and diverse proerties in my portfolio.
For the inspection trip,we organize everything to fit into 3-4 days. We pick up our clients from airport and take them to their hotel. We visit all the apartments in our portfolio in their price range and meeting their needs. If they decide to buy we do all paper work, and last we bring them back to airport.
18. Can you briefly outline the process of purchasing a property in Didim?
When our clients decide to buy a property first meet with the builder. We do the sales agreement and give a deposit for the property. If the clients have the budget to pay for the property at once, we can organize everything within one day and give them their title deeds. Otherwise we will arrange a plan for payment installations.
19. Describe the typical day of a retiree in Didim. They generally start with a good breakfast either at home with fresh food from the markets, or at one of the many reasonably-priced local cafes. Then they can go to sea to swim, sail or sunbathe. If they are interested in culture or history, there are many places to visit around Didim like The Temple of Apollo, Miletos, Iasos, Ephesus… In the evening you can find a lot of people strolling the boardwalk or sitting out in cafes, chatting over a cold beer or enjoying dinner. We have superb restaurants where they can eat fresh seafood. Sea Bass and Sea Bream are especially famous. After dinner you can see people socializing, or diving into Didim’s nightlife scene.
20. What’s Didim’s best beach? Didim’s best beach is Altınkum Beach. Didim is famous for its famous sandy beaches and there are a lot of beaches around Didim, some public and crowded, some quiet and secluded.
Best place to dine on a budget? Didim also has a lot of restaurants, cafes and bars where you can eat delicious and fresh sea foods or Turkish local foods at a reasonable price. At Şehir Lokantası you can find authentic local Turkish food.
At Kamacı Restaurant (two branches: opposite the Temple of Apollo and in Altınkum) you can enjoy delicious fresh-caught fish.
Best place to splurge for a fancy dinner? If you want to splurge on dinner, there are some luxury restaurants around the new Marina offering different fresh specials each day.
21. What is your son’s favorite place in Didim? Definitely the municipal soccer field. He really likes to play football.
22. How would you characterize Didim? For whom is it the ideal town? I think Didim is a good place for everyone. If you stay here for a long term or come for just vacation you will find good weather, good food, sea, reasonable life costs and enjoy Turkish hospitality.
The town has to offer:
- Good weather ( 300 days sunshine, it never snows)
- Good fresh sea food and local Turkish cuisine
- Reasonable living costs
- Sandy beaches with a blue flag
- Hospitality and Community Warmth
- Proximity to local arts
- English speaking shop assistants, hospitality industry worker and doctors
- Diving and other water sports; a world-class marina
- Entertaining night life
- Historical sites open to the public ( Apollo Temple, Miletos, Iasos, Ephesus)
23. Any complaints you have about Didim? Every town has advantages and disadvantages. Some people find Didim too small; for them we have properties in the nearby cities of Bodrum and Kusadasi.
24. You used to live in Turnhout, Belgium. What are the biggest differences between daily life in Turnhout and daily life in Didim? The weather is very different. In Belgium we had 300 days of rain; here it’s the exact opposite. Didim is a resort area, so people come here for holiday. The pace is much more relaxed, and people are here to enjoy themselves and have a good time. Also, the food is better.
25. And…what’s your favorite food? Where’s the best place to try this dish in Didim? Fish of course. I especially like the sea bream, sea bass and octopus at Kamacı Restaurant in Altınkum.