Zimbabwe Property | Frequently Asked Questions

Select one of the frequently asked questions below to learn more about buying, selling, and renting real estate in Zimbabwe. Also, begin to think about important things to consider when diving into your real estate search.

a. Selling your house can be an emotional and stressful process. Using a Real Estate Agent takes some of the stress and emotional trauma away and keeps you one step removed.    It is easier to accept feedback from somebody who genuinely has your best interests at heart and wants the best for you, rather than from a buyer who is simply looking for a bargain and can sometimes make comments that can be quite upsetting. 

b. Real Estate Agents make selling or your renting your property their priority as it is their full time job. Can you rush home from work every time someone wants to view your home or answer your phone every time it rings even if you are in a meeting?  If you can’t, you could potentially lose the opportunity for the perfect buyer to view you home.  Your estate agent can show your home even if you aren’t available, thereby maximizing the number of people viewing your property.  

On the flip side, do you have the time to sit waiting for a potential buyer to arrive, only to be told that they “forgot” or “got delayed and cannot make it”?  This is one of the hazards of the trade and part of a Real Estate Agent’s job. 

c. Real Estate Agents have a large network of contacts that may not be actively looking for properties but are always looking for investment opportunities or good buys. These people will not be trawling through the internet each evening looking for properties.  Real Estate Agents can quickly spread the word about your property.  In addition to this, word-of-mouth network, all Real Estate companies regularly advertise on key websites as part of their service which means you don’t have to pay for advertising your property. 

d. Real Estate Agents are trained to ask potential buyers key questions which will help determine whether a buyer is serious or not.  It takes a lot of time and effort to make your house look perfect before each viewing so you don’t want people who are dreamers or just curious neighbor’s coming round to have a look. 

e. Even if you have sales experience, negotiating the sale price on your home can be difficult. Especially if the buyer is using a Real Estate Agent as well, you may end up feeling pressured.  You’re also likely to be emotional about the process, and without your agent to point that out, you could make a wrong decision.   Real Estate Agents are impartial and unbiased. 

f. A Real Estate Agent can walk through your home with you and make recommendations to improve the potential of the property.  They can see flaws you’re oblivious to because you see them every day—or because you simply don’t view them as flaws.  They will also help keep your from over-capitalising and make “improvements” at vast costs which may not increase the value of your property and asking price. 

a. The seller is responsible for paying the Agent’s commission (minimum of 5% of the final agreed sale price), any Capital Gains Tax if applicable and for clearing any outstanding bills on the property.

b. The buyer is responsible for paying the transfer fees (normally around 8% of the final agreed sale price)

a. Capital Gains Tax is the tax payable by sellers on the profit from the sale of their property. In Zimbabwe, in the past, the CGT was 20% of the gain (i.e. the profit made) but due to the various currencies that have been legal tender over the last decade or longer, the CGT is now a flat rate of 5% of the final agreed sale price. 

b. CGT exemption can be applied for if the following conditions are met:

    • The title deeds of the property are in the owners’ personal names (i.e. not in a Company or Trust name)
    • The people whose names appear on the title deeds 55 years old or over.  If more than one name appears on the title deeds and not all the owners are 55 or over, the appropriate CGT exemption proportion can be applied for.
    • The property is your Principal Primary Resident (PPR). This means that it is the property that you are currently living in.
    • You have lived in the PPR for 4 years or longer.

It is perfectly legal for a foreigner to buy property in Zimbabwe provided the funds used to purchase the property are brought into Zimbabwe from a foreign account.  Should you want to sell the property in the future, it is a relatively easy process to apply to externalize the same amount of money that you brought in.

The Seller normally specifies the Conveyancing Lawyer they would like to use.

There is no right or wrong answer to this question.  Each area will have people who are attracted to it depending on where the tenants work, where their children go to school, their favourite shopping location, their favourite entertainment location and where their family and friends are.  Borrowdale Brooke appeals to some people and yet I have had clients who have said they would stop using me as an agent if I ever offered them a property in Borrowdale Brooke.  Different strokes for different folks.  In the past, the Northern suburbs in Harare were the desirable locations due to the water and electricity being more reliable.  Nowadays, things like utilities cannot be guaranteed in any area.

Dealing with tenants can be stressful at times. Especially if you are living overseas, it is advisable to ask an agent to manage your property.  The small management fee that you pay can save you a lot of stress.  The agent takes over all correspondence with tenants and arranges any repairs, collection of rent and any other issues that may arise.  The Agent is responsible for carrying out regular inspections on the property which ensures that the property is being kept in good condition and any issues raised in these inspections can be dealt with quickly before they become bigger problems.   Even if you are living in the same country, some people prefer to have an agent looking after their properties.

If you have reached the point of actively looking for a house to buy, you would have been thinking about it for a while and been saving up.

  1. Be very honest and realistic with yourself with regards to your expectations on what you can buy with the money you have.
  2. Decide which areas you want to buy in, taking into account where you work, where your children go to school, where your friends and family live and where you socialize.
  3. Decide whether you are prepared to buy a “fixer-upper” and slowly do it up to your taste as and when you can, or whether you want a home that you can move into and live comfortably               
  4. Make a list of “must haves” and “nice-to-haves”.
  5. Do a little bit of research on the internet or register with an estate agent who can help you find suitable homes to view or look.  If you do register with an estate agent, be honest with them so they can find properties that meet your criteria. 

Unless you have a given yourself a deadline, there is no set time scale for buying a home, nor is there a limit on the number of houses you should view before deciding on one.   You are not buying fruit or vegetables – buying a house is a huge decision and one that you should not rush into.   Do not put limitations on yourself.  It is pointless saying you are only going to look at 10 houses because if you had continued, house number 11 could be your dream home

Trust your instincts and your gut.  You will know within the first 4 minutes of being in a property, whether that is the one that you are going to buy and if it isn’t, no amount of talking it up by an estate agent is going to make you change your mind.

Normally, when you put in an offer on a house, you have the option of stating the validity of your offer.  48 hours is a reasonable timeframe but the seller may ask for extra time if other members of family need to be consulted (especially if they are living out of the country).    Your estate agent should inform you immediately if the seller wants an extension and they it is up to you to decide whether you can agree to the extension or not.

If your offer is rejected, it does not mean that the deal is definitely off, so do not be disheartened.  You should be given the reasons, and the negotiation process starts then.   Be prepared to have a few days of going back and forth with different options but all the way through this process, be honest with yourself and the other parties involved.   

Hopefully, you will be able to hit a compromise that works for everyone but if you don’t, your estate agent will continue to look for houses for you, and you will definitely find your dream home!

On average, the whole process will take approximately 30 working days.  Once your offer has been accepted, an Agreement of Sale (AoS) needs to be drafted, agreed by the two parties and signed.  Payment needs to be made in accordance with the conditions outlined in the Agreement of Sale.  The Seller needs to ensure that all outstanding local authority bills are cleared and both the Seller and the Purchaser will both need to attend a ZIMRA interview at which the CGT assessment will be carried out and hopefully CGT as well are rates clearance certificates will be granted. Once the ZIMRA interview has been carried out and the relevant clearances obtained, the Conveyancer will lodge for deeds with the Registrar of Deeds to do the change of ownership. 

It is important for you to take into account the prevailing state of real estate market especially local market conditions. The real estate market continuously changes and market fluctuations affect property values.  To determine your listing price, you would need to base it on the most recent comparable sales in your neighborhood.  Your real estate agent can help you with this.

There are two types of home owners insurance in Zimbabwe

  1. Building Insurance – Cover against fire and accidental damage to the main building as well as all structures or buildings in the stand or yard. Generally included in this too are durawalls, generators, gate motor, all pumps e.g. borehole pumps, swimming pool pumps etc…
  2. Contents Insurance – This generally covers all items under the house e.g. bed sets, televisions, wardrobes, lounge suites, home theatres, etc with cover against fire, theft and accidental damage.

To get full peace of mind, both types of cover are essential as Buildings Insurance covers the structure of your home and Contents Insurance insures your movable possessions.

You will need to have the original title deeds or share certificate that would have been given to you when the property was transferred into your name.  These documents are extremely important and need to be kept safe.

You can apply for a new set of title deeds from the Deeds Office or company documents from the Company Registration Office.  It makes it easier to locate the documentation if you have the deed number or Company Incorporation number. Alternatively you may speak to Genesis Real Estate Africa and we will be able to assist.

The person who is not present can sign a Power of Attorney (POA) document giving someone (their spouse / partner, friend or lawyer), the authority to sign any documentation on their behalf.   The POA must be signed by a Notary Public and must be accompanied by a copy of the person’s ID or passport which has been certified by the same Notary Public.

An acre is 4046.86 square metres but most of the time it is rounded to 4047 square metres in conversations.

A formal valuation is carried out by a Licensed Property Valuer and is based more on the factual information regarding the property e.g. size of the property, layout, number of rooms, structure, condition and faults.  The Valuer will measure everything and produce a detailed, factual report.

A market appraisal is your real estate agent’s opinion of your property value.  They will base their opinion on other sales within the area and their experience. 

Genesis Real Estate Africa may assist with both formal valuations and market appraisals.

The Listing Price is the price that the property is advertised for and is being marketed at.    The sale price is the price that is eventually achieved after all negotiations have taken place.

It is not really necessary for you to be present during showings!  Buyers often feel more comfortable when owners are not present as they can ask the agent difficult questions as well talk openly and freely without worrying about offending you.  If you can’t or don’t want to leave your property, then stay discretely in the background.  If your agent needs to clarify any information, they can ask you after the viewing and liaise with the buyers later. 

In most cases, the reason is that the property is overpriced.  Buyers who feel a property is priced to high will choose to look at other homes before yours and are likely to find a suitable one before they reach yours.

However, it could also be due to personal preferences on the buyers’ side – location and personal requirements.  It could also be due to substandard marketing. 

The sale of moveable appliances and furniture should not be included in the listing price.   Remember that the agent’s commission and CGT (if applicable) is calculated on the final sale price and if you have included the price of appliances or furniture in the sale price, you could be paying more in commission and CGT than necessary.  It is better to explain to your agent that you are open to discussing the sale of the appliances and furniture outside of the negotiations on the sale of your property. 

An open house or show day is when the agent advertises that your home will be available for anyone to view including walk in clients as compared to a pre-arranged set time slot for individual clients.  Open houses or show days are usually a full morning or afternoon and sometimes can be done over two days – one morning and one afternoon.  The objective is to try and attract as many people as possible to view the property.

Price and condition are the two most important factors when selling a home.  Your agent should help you with this by advising you of comparative sales information.   Secondly, go through your house and repair any obvious cosmetic defects that could deter a buyer or give them a reason to offer a lower price. 

The security deposit is normally the equivalent of one month’s rent plus one month’s levy (where applicable).  However, an owner may ask for more as a deposit.

In general, due to the fact that you, as the tenant are using the utilities, you are responsible for the paying for these.  In complexes or a block of flats, the levy could cover some of the utilities.  It is important that you check what (if any) utilities are included in the rent or levy.

A typical lease agreement in Zimbabwe is for a year.  However, if you are renting privately, you can agree a timescale with your landlord.

Notice period in Zimbabwe is usually 3 calendar months unless agreed otherwise.

A calendar month starts from the first day of the month.  If your lease specifies that you have to hand in X calendar months’ notice, you have to hand in your notice to your landlord on the last day of the month prior to start of your notice period.  If your lease specifies that you have to hand in X months’ notice, you can hand in your notice on any day of the month and the notice period will end on the same date X months later.

If the blockage is structural, due to old pipes or tree roots, the landlord is responsible for the cost of unblocking the drains.  If the drains are blocked due to a tenant’s irresponsible behavior e.g. throwing rubbish, food waste, hair, oil, sanitary towels or diapers down the drains, the tenant is responsible for the cost of unblocking the drains.

No.  The landlord is responsible for taking out insurance on the structural aspects of the property.  The tenant is responsible for taking out insurance on their personal items within the property.

Legally, tenants have 7 days from the date their rent is due, to pay without being penalised.  After that, a penalty can be imposed if it has been stipulated in the lease agreement.

You can, the probability of finding one of these deals isn’t very high though. A common question from aspiring home buyers is whether rent-to-buy properties exist or whether an owner would consider that option.  The answer is, they are out there, but there are somethings that you need to know before agreeing to a rent-to-buy.

 

When an owner is offering a “rent-to-buy” property as a possible financing option, they are taking on a high risk since in most cases, a rent-to-buy buyer is generally struggling to get financing.  Therefore, since an owner is taking a higher risk the terms for a rent-to-buy must be considerably favourable for the owner.  This often leads to less than favourable terms for a buyer.  When looking at a rent-to-buy properties as an option you can expect to provide a considerable amount of money as a down payment and most probably a higher interest rate than what a lender is currently offering.

Compare listings

Compare
× How can I help you?