The best way to purchase property in Mauritius
Mauritius, a country where life is good. Thanks to its many attractions, its breathtaking landscapes, the tropical climate that reigns throughout the year and its political and economic stability, more and more foreigners choose to come and live and invest on the island and enjoy the quality of life Mauritius offers. French and South Africans are the first ones particularly interested in Mauritius. The real estate market is flourishing, but it is very important to be well accompanied in the process of acquiring a property so that all goes well.
Any real estate transaction in Mauritius must be carried out through a notary, and preferably using the services of a real estate agent. These professionals are responsible for ensuring the smooth process of the purchase. Their interventions is vital, and even more so when you are a foreigner.
The real estate agency
A professional real estate agent will help you choose among the vast choice of offers available on the market that can meet your criteria. To find the home of your dreams, you have most probably thought of a budget. This will be one of the main criteria of your search. Then comes the question of location, land size, surface area and various equipment and facilities you are looking for. The role of the real estate agent will be to direct you to the best offers based on your criteria. As a real estate professional, he will be able to draw up an expert and independent advice on the properties you have selected. This is valid for both an already built property or a purchase off-plan.
Moreover, buying off-plan is to be done with great care. You must choose a developer with a strong reputation and track record, who will be able to complete the project according to the terms of the contract. A good real estate agent will show you hand-picked projects carefully selected taking into consideration the important facts about the developer and the project itself.
As a foreigner, you will need to first get the approval to buy the property from the authorities. The real estate agent will guide you through that important process.
The intervention of the notary is mandatory under the law of Mauritius. He will take care of various formalities before the signing of the deed of sale. These formalities consist in verifying the documents needed for the signature of the title deed, in particular the information relating to the property itself, as well as those of the seller and the buyer. He will help the parties to first establish a preliminary reservation contract (PRC) or a promise of sale, and subsequently the deed of sale itself. When signing the deed of sale, the notary will confirm the description of the property being sold and mention the obligations pertaining to each party of the contract. He is also responsible for collecting the sums due and paying the seller the amount of the sale. The notary will also settle the various taxes and other charges owed by the seller and the buyer and will then have the original deed of sale registered and transcribed at the registration office.
The costs of proceedings
The payment of the full price of the property and all related costs and charges by the buyer occurs during the signing of the deed of sale. The buyer has the obligation to pay the full amount due at this stage, except in the case of an “off-plan” purchase of course where most of the property price will be paid as construction progresses, or also in the case of a sale called "solde de prix" (balance of the price) where terms of payment can be agreed between a buyer and a seller, mentioned in the title deed. On top of the price of the property, there are fees that the buyer must pay, including the fees of the real estate agent and the legal fees of the notary. There is also a property transfer fee payable to the Government by both the seller (Land Transfer tax) and the buyer (Registration Duty), currently amounting to 5% of the amount of the sale. These taxes are collected by the notary when the deed of sale is signed and paid by him to the Registration office when he sends the deed of sale to be transcribed and registered.
It is very important to be well informed about these procedures and assisted in the acquisition process to avoid potential penalties. It is important to note for example that a deed of sale will need to be registered within 8 days following its signing in front of a notary. It will be the notary’s responsibility to do so. Penalties are payable when this is not done in time.
In most cases, the price of the sale needs to be split in the title deed showing the value of the land and the value of the actual building thereof. Since the Registration Office has 7 months to dispute the value at which you registered the sale, you will need to be well guided in establishing those prices. The value of the property indicated in the deed of sale must therefore correspond to the price on the market. If the latter is lower, there will be a penalty for undervaluation, payable by both the seller and the buyer.
It is therefore essential to surround yourself with a team of professionals to avoid a lot of inconveniences and surprises.