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Real Estate investment in Bali

Posted by Terje H Nilsen on 23rd May 2019
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Image by Gerd Altmann on Pixabay

We like to update the stories and blogs we’ve written with new trends, information and ideas because things change.

The source of the blog we’re looking at today comes from an original piece written by Andreas Anderson back in 2016 and we’ve updated it by looking at what has changed and what has not.

If you’re interested in investing in real estate in Bali you need to ask yourself these sorts of questions, because this is where your journey starts …

  • Are you planning to retire?

  • Are you looking for an investment property?

  • Are you simply buying into the lifestyle dream?

  • Are you looking for a second home?

Your reasons for investing in Bali may change as your journey rolls out, but these kind of questions will help to determine a few things.

1. First of all, it will help to clarify what structure to hold the property in;

2. Secondly, it will help with zoning, which is something authorities are looking more closely at and enforcing (which is good), and

3. Finally, what’s your exit … if any.

The bigger question really is how do you do all of that safely?

Has anything changed over the years on how you can invest?  

Well, yes and no.  Most regulations haven’t changed since Andreas penned the original post in 2016, however they are now being enforced and they are widely available in English for people to study.

Be aware though that there have been some changes.

For example, at the end of 2015 foreigners were granted 80-years Hak Pakai (right of use/ read ownership), and after this year’s elections the word on the street is that HGB (right to build) will also be granted to foreigners as individuals.

What about Nominees?  

This always was, and always will be, illegal!

However, you can set up a PT PMA for larger investments, which can be 100% foreign owned, or in some cases a domestic PT to hold title for you under what is commonly known as an investment agreement.

You could always go for a straightforward lease. But do your homework on this kind of “ownership.”

A great agent will support you with all of this and help you to understand. The not so good agents will tend to refer you to wishy-washy write-ups or legal advisors.  It’s difficult to say if these are good quality or not, which is why it’s always a good idea to make sure you get some good independent references to anyone’s work.

Choose a professional agency 

You might ask yourself where to begin, and where to start looking. The easiest answer is, go online and do your research with Google and Social Media.

Look for what kind of story the agency is telling. What impression do they give and how do they make you feel? Are they sharing information for free or just trying to make you buy something?

Do they just post listings on Social Media or do they have a voice in the market?  If they don’t have a voice there’s a pretty good chance it’s because they either don’t want to be out there, or they just don’t know, or they just don’t care.

Total transparency these days is a must and it all starts online!

Don’t forget to ask if the agency is certified.  If it’s not run!

If they are certified you should know there is an agency organization called AREBI that you can give feedback to (good or bad) as to how well they work or not.  They may also help you in case of conflict and issues that may arise.

Choose an agent who suits you best 

Once you’ve identified an agency you feel comfortable with you’re going to have to deal with an agent. This could be good or it could be bad. It depends on the agency (and the agent, of course), but as a general rule of thumb, an agent is representative of the agency’s integrity, ethics, and standards.

But are they or the agency the best fit for you and your needs?  Again look at the personal profile, interest, energy and voice in the market.  Are they coming across as someone knowing what they are doing? Do they have references that can be verified and checked?

Don’t be pressured into making decisions you’re not 100% comfortable with

There are dozens of agencies in Bali to choose from and you shouldn’t feel bad about rejecting one because you just didn’t feel it– whatever it may be. Send them some messages on social media or an email, engage and see how they react, are you a person for them or just another “brick in the wall” that they see as a dollar sign in.

It’s critical you feel comfortable with the agent you’ve chosen to work with. There has to be synergy if you want to achieve the goal of finding what you’re looking for as quickly and as seamlessly as possible.

Look for agents and agencies that give you advise and point you in the right direction, especially when it comes to price ranges, locations, and ownership structures. They should be listening to your needs and concerns more than their craving the commission on a sale.

Ask friends about their experiences and feelings, follow blogs, join forums and ask questions. If everyone is saying the same thing about a particular agent or agency then the chances are there’s truth in the compliment or the complaint.

Do you feel welcome? 

Google will deliver pages of results for “Bali property”, ”Invest in Bali”, ”Villa for sale Bali” and the like, but the proof of the pudding is how these agencies respond: is it quickly?  is it automated? is the email personal and not just a cut and paste? How does the receptionist answer your phone call? How are you dealt with when you walk in?  Do you feel welcome or not?

The bottom line is do you think they are professional enough to be trusted with your money?  And what you are looking for.

Do you like the agent you have connected with when you meet.  Today a person’s concentration span is very short due to our mobiles and social media, but this may not be a bad thing.  Read the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell and he will tell you that first 9-second impression and instant gut feeling is very often very right.

Nobody wants a legal nightmare 

Choosing a notary or lawyer is never easy, especially as some tend to operate in a decidedly grey area. Always double check, and then check again before engaging with a lawyer or notary to represent you.

Again, talk to friends, read blogs and ask questions. Do they show sincere interest to educate you? Does it fit with what you can find out yourself online? There are some good groups out there where you can ask for advice. One is on Facebook and called “Law and Regulations.”

A lawyer can be used in any transaction to secure your rights as a buyer and it is recommended, especially if it’s a lease or involves some kind of payment plan, review of permits and so forth. However, it might not always be necessary. For example, you may not necessarily need a lawyer if the transaction is a normal lease transfer or a smaller purchase or a straightforward a notary public can handle.

In any event, your real estate agency or agent should always offer you alternatives.

One key challenge is communication and why recently some agencies offer to bridge this, even doing the legal work for you. But at the end of the day make sure everything (and we mean everything) is transparent and verified from all aspects.

The keywords here are transparency, engagement with you, risk exposure and being fairly priced.

The transaction process  

Once you’ve chosen an agent which you’re happy with, and they’ve done their job to find your dream property, and once the price has been agreed and payment terms have been established, you should always be presented with a Letter of Intent/Offer to Purchase.

This needs to signed by both the seller and the buyer.

This then leads to a notarial Sale and Purchase Agreement (PPJB). In these agreements, the conditions of sale should be clearly laid out and you should be able to understand them!

For example, there should be clauses relating to the deposit and where it needs to be sent; are there any tax commitments that need to be paid? Do you need a land survey?

If things aren’t clear ask questions and make changes.

The usual process in Bali is that the buyer secures the terms of the deal by depositing a down payment of the agreed purchase price to be held in an Escrow Account with either his or her notary or the real estate agency or lawyer, while the notary conducts Due Diligence.

This down payment is often 10% of the price.

If Due Diligence is successful, the seller and the buyer meet at the notary to sign a transfer agreement, at which time final payment is released. This is generally done 30-days after the deposit has been made, but time frames can vary and they need to be made clear.

The notary will generate the official transfer agreement upon proof that final payment has been received.  Always make sure the Notary stamps your Due Diligence report as clean and clear as there are still cases where land sales, for example, have gone wrong and the buyer ends up with a plot of greenbelt or non commercial land, which they cant develop.

Open the champagne! 

Now you’re comfortably relaxing in your new villa it’s time to open the champagne and celebrate!

You can relax in the knowledge that you’ve chosen the right agency, dealt with the right agent and the whole journey with them has been a truly memorable experience for all the right reasons.

Please feel free to let me know what you think and I look forward to hearing from you!

 

Harcourts Seven Stones is a property company headquartered in Bali, Indonesia, with a mission to help people who are interested in buying and selling residential and commercial real estate.

If you’re thinking about property, ROI, capital gains or lifestyle investments in Bali, Jakarta, Surabaya, and Indonesian’s Eastern Islands and need some friendly advice and guidance then why not email hello@sevenstonesindonesia.com or check out Seven Stones Website | Seven Stones Linkedin | Seven Stones Facebook

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