Buying a property could be a real struggle if you don’t have the right information. Generally speaking, the buyer will not take care of administrative burdens while the notary takes care of registration procedures regarding the property on sale.
1. Search and Find the right property
There are many ways to search and find a real estate property in Mauritius. Local newspapers daily publish property ads while most real estate agencies have their own websites. On real estate portals such as www.lexpressproperty.com, potential buyers may choose among more than 10 000 property and dozens of the most renowned real estate agencies on the Mauritian market.
2. Get in touch with the best agencies
The degree of experience of real estate agents remains a key element for the success of a transaction, particularly in the case of foreign buyers. According to studies conducted at international level within the real estate market, 8 transactions out of 10 are done through agencies although individual homeowners are more and more active on the market. In fact, the agent or agency acts as an intermediary between the seller and the buyer: the property has to be accurately assessed after going through an expertise to ensure that there is no hidden construction defects which may be invisible to naked eyes.
3. Carefully check the property specifications and owner’s title deeds
Once you have chosen your dream property, carefully check with your real estate agent that all documents are valid and that the property description corresponds to the published ad to avoid unpleasant surprises regarding size and geographical location of the property. If the property is located with a building complex, question your agent about the maintenance costs as well as about the rules and regulations in force. (condominium).
4. Hire a notary
According to Mauritian Law, the notary has as mission to draft the property deed and to ensure that all documents are in order. His job is to verify that there are no charges or mortgage on the property and that all taxes and public services have been paid after the sale. The buyer is free to choose the notary of his choice. This also applies to the land surveyor whose is to draw up a development plan within 4 to 8 days. Notary fees are calculated on a cumulative basis.
In practice, Mauritian real estate agencies charge a 2%-commission to buyer as well as to the seller.
Transfer Fees for the seller:
Land Transfer Tax at 5% will be applicable on transfer immovable properties where deeds are registered on or after 1st January 2014 irrespective of the period of ownership.
It is the seller’s responsibility to hand over all necessary documents to the notary, for instance the municipal tax receipt if the property is located in town as well as 2 latest Central Water Authority bills. On the day of signature of the sale agreement, the seller hand himself to hand over keys and all necessary documents (title deeds, certificates, etc.) to the buyer. The latter has in turn the obligation to pay for the price stated in the contract. The lease is signed at the notary’s office by both parties and the notary himself.
Registration and transcription
The notary shall submit the signed agreement as well as a perfect copy of it for transcription to the Registrar General.
Registration of the property
In order to transfer the ownership of the property, registration to the Registrar General Department is mandatory to render it effective against third parties. The deadline for registration is 8 days as from the signature date of the agreement. If this deadline is not complied with, a penalty of 50% is applicable.
Once payment being made, the Registrar General submits a transcription number to the notary which makes it effective against third parties. The notary then hands over an authentic copy to the buyer. The legal notice for land registration is 15 days. The Registrar General may internally reassess the transaction before the property deed is submitted to the buyer. If there is a mortgage, the bank shall place a lien against the property. When the loan is totally reimbursed, the bank shall inform the owner. Regarding properties for which payment is made progressively or at the completion of construction, the seller shall hand over the property as agreed.
5. Penalty for under-evaluation
When the market value of a property or when its value is determined by the evaluation committee exceeds the amount stated in the transfer deed, the Registrar General may ask the parties involved to pay for the amount of rights and taxes claimed, a penalty representing 100% of the amount.