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Buying property in Africa is becoming more popular than ever as increasing numbers of Africans outside the continent start to plan their move back home.

Whether you are looking for your next home or searching for property as an investment, here are some top tips to help you get it right.

  • Seek professional advice: Use independent and qualified professionals who know your chosen country's laws and processes and also know the specifics involved in buying a property there. Estate agents are a good source of advice, as are banks and companies that specialize in property.

  • Consider the costs: Property prices will vary widely depending on location and demand. Research all the costs and legal issues involved in buying a property in your chosen country. Check on any costs charged by the legal and government authorities for purchasing a property in your chosen country and include financing for lawyer's fees, conveyancing fees, taxes, insurance, etc. Make sure that you have all the finance you will need in place.

  • Check the Location: Think carefully about the location of your property. Where will you be working? What schools are your children likely to attend? Do you want to be in town or live further out? Find out about crime in the area and issues such as likely traffic congestion before making a decision. In recent years, property developments and private estates have sprung up in many countries and have become very popular as they often offer security and strict maintenance regulations. If you are buying off-plan, make sure all the infrastructure (roads, services, etc.) are in place. Property developers always have plans to put things in place – but this can sometimes be a slow process.

  • Finding Finance: When working out how to finance your purchase, consider all the options. Research the mortgages available in your target country as well as overseas mortgages that may be available to you in your host country. Research your tax position; for instance, did you know that if you're considering renting out the property when it's empty, advertising in the UK for a property abroad could result in tax demands from both the English and overseas authorities?

  • Verify the title: Do your research to find out whether properties are sold freehold or leasehold as in some countries land is only sold on a lease. Check with the Land Registry or relevant official source that the title of the land or property is clear and that there is no other claim to the property. Research the process required for registering your new property.

  • Check out your tenants: If you plan to rent out your property, be aware of the tenancy laws in the country and make sure you carry out your due diligence on any prospective tenant. If it is a corporate rental, verify that the company is bona fide, make a detailed inventory of every item in the property and include a maintenance timetable in the rental contract.

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