A Guide To Buying Property in South Africa

Anyone relocating to South Africa may eventually want to buy a house in the country. Every country in the world has different sets of rules and legislation applying to property purchase; South Africa is no exception.

Carry Out your Research

First of all you don’t have to become a South African citizen in order to buy property in the country. If you’ve recently moved to South Africa and are fed up with renting, and want to lay down some roots in the country, then buying is the obvious answer. Spend your time researching different areas of your chosen city or location. Check out the local crime statistics, as well as schools, shops and other amenities.

Funding your Purchase

A recent article on an expat forum suggests you look for mortgages with a South African finance company. The interest rates may be higher than in Europe or the USA, but South African lenders are more aware of the local situation, whereas an overseas lender may reject your application as South Africa is still seen as ‘volatile.’

Estate Agents

It’s always best to work with an estate agent in order to find a property. The agent should be able to tell you if there are any problems with the title or land registration, or other complexities. It’s also important to hire a lawyer at this stage as well. Talk to other members of the expat community; they’ve gone through this process and should be able to advise you about the range of legal expertise and the typical fees involved.

You’re also going to have to get in touch with the local authority in order to register your interest and buy your new dream home.

Purchase Costs

You must make sure that you take all costs connected with your house purchase into account. You should carry out this check before you sign a preliminary contract. This is the time to have all the fees connected with the purchase put down in writing. Once you have put in a purchase offer, it’s time to negotiate how much is needed for the deposit. Unlike property buying in the UK, both deposits as well as house prices are negotiable. If all goes according to plan, you will be able to sign a ‘Voetstoets’ – a deed of sale. This represents the completion stage of the contract.

South Africa is a stunning country; if you want to live in this paradise, and buy a home here, take your time. If there's anything you don't understand about the process, ask your lawyer - and don’t let anyone rush you into a decision.