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Legally Buying a house in Mauritius

Updated: May 22, 2023

Investing in property, especially in Mauritius, can be a laborious task. Before taking that leap, consider these vital questions to find out whether you're truly ready for this commitment.

About the house

- Is the house old or is it a new development?

- Does the property's size accommodate your and your family's needs?

- Does the property come with important features (security guard, AC, spacious parking)?

- Are you happy to pocket potential repair and maintenance costs that may spring up?

About the locality

- Is there a supermarket in the neighbourhood?

- Are there a gym and public swimming pool in the area?

- How close is the property to public transportation links?

- How close is the property to the city centre?

- If you've got kids, how close is it to the local schools?

- How close is the property to hospitals and clinics?

- If you've got pets, are there dog parks and a vet centre close by?

- If you like peace and quiet, is the property in a noisy neighbourhood?

- If you have a bustling social life, how isolated is the property?

Sharing ownership of a property

It's always better to know what to expect from your property in advance instead of bumping into an unexpected surprise after already investing in it. Thoroughly do your research, head over to the general registrar's office armed with questions, and seek your notary's advice.

If your new home is part of a residential community, find out what the estate's rules and regulations are. You don't want to be surprised by unexpected bills once you've settled in.

If your new home is part of an apartment complex, find out what your maintenance bills are going to be in addition to the building's rules on issues like smoking, pets, and late-night noise.

Trust your eyes - not a brochure

Ensure you personally visit the property and explore every one of its nooks and crannies. The property may look like your dream home in a glossy brochure, but the reality of it may be quite different. Organising a property viewing will give you an idea of the neighbourhood it's in, how close it's situated to core facilities like supermarkets and the city centre, how much natural light the property receives, and the general condition of the building.

Don't be shy when it comes to testing the property's minor details like the electricity, plumbing, bathroom fittings and fixtures, cooling and heating, et cetera. If you have plans of adding future extensions to the property, investigate potential constraints like constructibility, limitation of heights, preservation of certain areas, and legal restrictions at the location.

Making a purchase offer

Quite often while negotiating with the property's owner, a buyer will verbally offer a price that's lower than the asking price. If the owner agrees, the buyer may be asked to sign a formalised written agreement that is surprisingly more significant in this situation than the buyer may initially realize. Agreeing to buy a property is almost the equivalent of buying the property. Only agree to sign the formal agreement if you're able to keep your word and purchase the property. If the buyer withdraws from the agreement after signing the document, there will be major issues.

In some cases, an owner may attempt to pressure a buyer into signing the agreement. Keeping the potential consequences of backing out of the agreement in mind, request a contemplation period ranging between a week to two weeks. Ensure it's clear that your intention to purchase the property will only be finalised once you sign the legally binding pre-sale agreement.

Understanding the promise of sale and pre-sale contract

The promise of sale is a situation in which the owner gives the buyer the option of purchasing a property. If the buyer agrees, both parties enter a legally-valid, time-sensitive agreement.

It is imperative that the buyer understands that the pre-sale contract carries more weight than a simple formality. The contract binds both parties to buy and sell the property, and comes with serious consequences if it is not adhered to. There is a time period between signing the pre-sale contract and the final contract. This allows both parties to complete their promises to each other while also waiting for the notarised contract to arrive. If the seller is a private individual, he is not allowed to accept or demand any payment from the buyer before the end of the retraction period.

Sorting out the down payment and deposit

Once the agreement has been signed, you can expect to pay a cash deposit. While they may sound similar, a down payment is different from a deposit. If the seller cancels the sale, the deposit will be refunded to the buyer. If the buyer backs out of the sale, the seller has the right to claim payment as compensation for loss of earnings on the property.

When the deposit is paid with the pre-sale contract qualified as down payment, a penalty is automatically enabled if the sale isn't followed through by the buyer. In this scenario, the seller is allowed to confiscate the deposit. If the seller dishonors the agreement, they must pay double the deposited amount to the buyer as compensation. If either one of the two parties is dissatisfied, they can take the matter to court and legally oblige the other party to settle the matter.

Signing the final contract

Once the final contract has been signed, the seller is obligated to hand over the property's keys to the buyer. In addition to this, the buyer must also be equipped with all the necessary paperwork associated with the property. The buyer's commitment to the seller is to pay the price quoted in the contract, excluding the land transfer tax that the seller normally handles.

Typically, the document is drafted by the buyer's notary. Although for an additional level of security and legal formality, the seller may choose to have their notary present at the signing at no additional cost. The contract will be read aloud to both parties, confirming that they are both willing and able to abide by the terms and conditions stipulated in the document. It is then signed, with the notary keeping the original contract and the buyer keeping an authentic copy. This is the final step of the purchasing procedure. The buyer is now the legal owner of the property.

To find a property of your dreams, find more information on our website

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