Pick up a hol­i­day haven for a song

Ad­vice to World Cup vis­i­tors con­tem­plat­ing buy­ing prop­erty in SA

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

SOUTH AFRICA is one of the eas­i­est coun­tries in the world in which for­eign­ers can buy res­i­den­tial prop­erty, says Lan­ice Stew­ard, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Anne Porter Knight Frank.

“Un­like in many other coun­tries, the red tape and re­stric­tions are min­i­mal and the SA Re­serve Bank al­lows you to repa­tri­ate your money if and when you de­cide to sell. South Africa does list over­seas buy­ers as non-res­i­dents un­less they take out SA cit­i­zen­ship – but it is ex­cep­tion­ally ac­com­mo­dat­ing to them.”

She of­fers some ad­vice and in­for­ma­tion for for­eign­ers who be­come South African prop­erty own­ers: if you are pay­ing with cash, you must en­sure that you have your own copies of the ti­tle deeds and fi­nan­cial doc­u­ments and that these are stored in a safe place. They will have to be pro­duced if you choose to sell and repa­tri­ate your money.

Over­seas buy­ers are al­lowed to take out South African mort­gages, but only up to 50 per­cent of a prop­erty’s value.

The rest has to be paid in cash or by means of a sec­ond bond taken out in the buyer’s home coun­try.

In South African prop­erty law, a sig­na­ture on a con­tract is to­tally bind­ing. This is not the case in some other coun­tries, par­tic­u­larly if the seller gets a bet­ter of­fer. But in South Africa, once a con­tract has been signed, it can­not be changed with­out the con­sent of both par­ties.

South Africa also dif­fers from cer­tain other coun­tries in that es­tate agents are au­tho­rised to draw up sale agree­ments, which are then to sent to the seller’s at tor­ney /con-veyancer for pro­cess­ing.

Most South African prop­erty is bought in the in­di­vid­ual’s name but buy­ers have the op­tion of buy­ing by means of hold­ing ve­hi­cles such as trusts, close cor­po­ra­tions or compa--

‘Un­like in many other coun­tries, the red tape and re­stric­tions are min­i­mal’

nies. What­ever method they choose, buy­ers or their hold­ing ve­hi­cle will have to ob­tain tax num­bers from the SA Rev­enue Ser­vice to buy or sell prop­erty.

Any for­eigner sell­ing a South African prop­erty will pay cap­i­tal gains tax on the same ba­sis as a South African (that is, on a pro-rata ba­sis in re­la­tion to to­tal tax).

Stew­ard says South African prop­erty can still be had for an al­most lu­di­crously low out­lay when bought with Euro­pean or US cur­ren­cies.

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