What's it going to cost me to buy a property in Zimbabwe?

So you've decided that Zimbabwe is the place you wanted to put your hard earned cash! Well done...we need more people like you investing in this beautiful place!!! Now, you need to know how much on top of the Purchase Price is the property going to cost.

Firstly, you'll need to know how the property you want is owned. There are lots of different ways, but basically they all fall in to one of three categories:

1. The property is owned in a personal name.

2. The property is owned or has shares in a company.

3. The property is held in a trust.

Ok, so your dream property is owned by an individual. You will be paying 7% of the purchase price to have the property transferred to your name, or a company name. The 7% is made up as follows: 3% conveyancing fees to the lawyer doing the transfer, and 4% stamp duty paid to ZIMRA for transfer fees. (This 4% is the maximum you will be charged and it is calculated on a sliding scale depending on the value of the property.) It is always better to budget for more so there are no NASTY surprises!

If the property is in a company name...lucky you...you won't be paying 7% extra! You'll probably have to pay accounting fees to have the directors' names changed and new share certificates issued in your name. But this is minimal in comparison. Budget on 1% of the Purchase Price for the accounting fees. (Remember that share block ownership...flats and industrial units in a block, will have this type of sale. You basically buy shares in the company that owns the whole block, and you won't get title deeds for this property.)

The third way a property may be held is in a Trust. The costs involved are similar to the Company sale, but may involve some lawyer's fees to change the Trustees and Beneficiaries of the

Trust. The director's of the company owned by the trust will also have to be changed. The structure of a Trust looks like this:

                                                      ABC TRUST

                                                             holds

                                                       ABC (Pvt) Ltd

                                                              owns

                                                       99 Fantasy Drive, Dreamland

Buying property can be a costly business and you need to make sure you have been advised by an expert before you even try and go down this road. It is a stressful time in your life, and seeking professional help will give you peace of mind.