This topic does not fit on a travel blog, but I have been asked a few times how and if buying a house in Namibia is allowed for foreigners at all.
With the knowledge I have gained over the last year in my job as a real estate agent, I would like to clarify a few things and help you to make your dream of a property in Namibia possible!
First of all: Yes, you can buy a property, a house or an apartment as a foreigner, only with a tourist visa. You can also buy farms or small holdings, but such purchases are subject to certain laws.
Often people want to buy a nice vacation home in Swakopmund or want to use it as a retirement home, because getting a visa as a retiree is much easier than getting a normal work visa, but more about that in another post sometime.
In Namibia you pay with the Namibia Dollar. This fluctuates depending on the daily exchange rate and can be displayed on Google at any time:
In Windhoek, real estate is often more expensive than in Swakopmund. If you compare these prices with Germany, you will see a huge difference.
In Windhoek you can buy apartments for less than 100.000€, terraced houses start at about 100.000€ and houses usually a bit more, at 120.000€.
In case of a purchase, the purchase amount must be proven on a bank account, only locals or people with a valid work visa can take out loans at the banks located here. How it works with a purchase over e.g. a German bank, I do not know unfortunately and must be inquired by you with your bank.
There are several terms I would like to list to give you an idea of what to expect:
This is where properties are listed with the bedrooms only, not the total number of rooms in the house. So if it's a 2-Bedroom Apartment, then there are two bedrooms, living room, kitchen, bathrooms/baths, etc.
Explains itself actually, it is a freestanding house on a plot of land.
It is a two-story house that can be freestanding.
A semi-detached house, as it is also known in Germany.
A Complex is usually a larger plot of land with several terraced houses. This complex is usually secured with a wall, electric fence and access gate and is usually safer than a detached house because so many neighbors live around it. There are smaller ones with e.g. only 5 parties, but there are also very large complexes with 50-60 row houses.
Is a small townhouse that is in a complex, as explained above. Usually they are a bit smaller and more for small family, but there are also very large townhouses, which can be very luxuriously equipped.
A piece of land on which no buildings or the like have been erected.
Is in the rule also gesichtert like a complex and is for residents over 50 years ausglegt. Often there is a 24 hour care or a nurse/doctor on call.
A Small Holding is kind of like a farm, only much smaller. I don't know the maximum size of a Small Holding, but it can be purchased by a foreigner.
A Farm is a piece of land that can be thousands of acres in size and can be purchased cultivated or uncultivated. Often you can buy farms that are already being farmed, cattle, vegetables, etc.. Farms can only be bought by locals though, I explain it a bit better further down.
If you want to buy a house or an apartment it helps a lot if you can give your realtor a budget. It makes a huge difference from neighborhoods to the amenities of the home you will be offered.
You can do a little research on the different area(s)/neighborhoods online ahead of time. However, if you describe to your realtor what you are looking for, they will be able to guide you well.
This means that someone has made an offer on the house/property/etc. and the owner and seller are in an exchange to set a sales price. If they don't agree, it will go back on the market as normal.
This means a house has been finally sold, and registered in the Deed Office in the name of the new owner.
Here, properties are usually sold through real estate agents. Rarely houses are also offered privately, the effort is too great and the range of various real estate agencies is much higher. In Namibia, the seller or landlord pays the real estate agent. Commissions for private houses are 3-8% although it should be 5-10% due to inflation, the percentage does NOT include VAT (Value Added Tax in Namibia is 15%).
For commercial properties it is 10% and upwards. In my experience, commissions are always negotiable.
Let's just play through the purchase:
You would like to buy a small vacation apartment in Windhoek, you love the city, travel to Namibia several times a year and think it would be worthwhile to invest in an apartment that can be rented to other visitors in your absence on popular portals.
You do some research, look around on https://www.myproperty.com.na and https://www.property24.co.na and find a two bedroom apartment which is very modern, located in a great high rise and contact the real estate agent who is listed. In my example this is simply myself :D
We get in touch, write emails back and forth and you book a flight, because you would have come back to Namibia soon anyway. I show you the apartment and you fall in love with the view and the kitchen, because it is very important to you to eat healthy even on your travels and to enjoy your food with a beautiful view.
You will then be sent some forms to fill out. In addition, we will then need some documents, such as passport copy, proof of money in a German account in this case. When I receive all the documents, the contract of sale is drawn up and both parties sign it. After that everything is handed over to lawyers, which the buyer may choose.
The lawyers then take care of everything else, contacting the banks if the apartment was financed with a loan and is also not yet paid off or also with the Deeds Office which in this case can be equated with the land registry office etc. The lawyers are also in charge of the purchase of the apartment. About the process and the status of things, you are usually also continuously kept up to date.
Then a few weeks pass, eight to 12 weeks are quite normal and the apartment is transferred into your name and officially belongs to you!
Of course, there can always be complications, but you usually don't know that beforehand.
I also mentioned small holdings and farms. Small holdings are actually no problem to be bought by foreigners. With farms it is more complicated. In Namibia, the sale of a farm requires the written permission of the Minister of Agriculture. If the minister agrees, farms can only be sold to locals. However, there is the possibility to buy a farm together with a local person. In this case, at least 51% must belong to the local person and a maximum of 49% to the foreigner.
Even if the person pays the full amount for the farm, another person has more percentage in the farm. This sounds risky and it is. The other person still has more decision making power on paper and if there is litigation, it can be a lengthy process. My bosses have much more experience in the area, so can advise and assist if you need help in any way. You can also write to me at any time about this.
You can also rent in Namibia, but you need a valid long-term visa. Rental prices vary greatly, currently a house with 4 bedrooms, with normal equipment costs N$25,000 and up. The better the facilities, the more expensive the price. A townhouse in a complex with 2-3 bedrooms costs from N$10,000 and up. My first year in Windhoek we lived in Avis and liked it very much. It's a tiny bit out of the way, but it was quiet and very affordable.
Also, different neighborhoods cost different amounts. Often people also differentiate between "good" neighborhoods and "worse" ones. I would advise looking at where the place of work is, where the children will eventually go to school/kindergarten and where the nearest supermarket is. Windhoek is quite big and if the kids go to school in Kleine Kuppe for example, but you work in Eros Park and you live in Pionierspark, those are quite long distances to drive every day. During the peak hours of 7am - 8am 1pm - 2pm and 5pm - 6pm, traffic is extra slow anyway and it takes forever to get to your destination. Maybe take a look at the areas you are interested in, tell your real estate agent you would like to see houses in different neighborhoods and what their opinion is. They will be able to guide and advise you well.
If you have any questions you can email me or send me a message on Instagram, I'm pretty sure I will be able to help you 🤗