If you have visited Bali and discovered the combination of amazing natural beauty and a low cost of living, and then considered buying real estate on the island, you are far from alone. The Departure Lounge at the Denpasar Airport is always filled with people trying to sort out how they’ll one day exchange their current hectic life for one of bliss and simplicity in this magical place. Add in another group of people who can’t help but assume this paradise is drastically under-priced so it’s a no-brainer investment opportunity, and you’ve got a frenzy of interest in Bali real estate.
Unfortunately, moving to or investing in Bali can be a complicated endeavor. Indonesian laws strictly prohibit foreigners from owning land in the country, although this situation morphs a bit each year. However, this rule hasn’t stopped over 10,000 foreigners from investing in and/or relocating to Bali, so it can be done.
The most common technique involves partnering with a local co-signer, who will have their name on all the official documents even as you have near complete control over the actual property. And foreigners are legally able to lease property for a total of up to 45 years, so your dream of buying real estate in Bali isn’t impossible, just more complicated than we’d all like.
Nearly all locals live in the sort of housing that most foreigners would not be interested in owning or living in themselves, so you’ll likely be looking into the separate market for well-built villas or houses.
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You have three basic options:
- Acquire a piece of land and arrange with local contractors to build your dream home on it.
- Acquire a piece of land and work with a developer who will hire contractors and oversee the project for a fee.
- Buy a fully completed villa or house.
Even if you can commit to being on the site everyday, working with local contractors and labor can be an amazingly frustrating experience. It may be the cheapest way to go, but many who have tried it have lived to regret cutting that corner.
And working with developers or real estate agents is no guarantee of having a simple transaction either. Just as with much of the rest of the world, it’s not difficult to find someone who’ll make everything sound cheap and easy, even when they know it will be neither of those things.
Bali is loaded with foreigners who love living on the island and who would do it again if they had to start from scratch, but there are also many tales of people who fell victim to fraud, so this isn’t something anyone should consider doing on a whim.
For more specific information on certain aspects of Bali real estate, see our real estate category for previous entries.
And check out our free Bali real estate listings section as well.