You have the money and you’ve been thinking about investing in Bali. What you need now is a good advice on what kind of investment you should make. Here are some relevant questions to consider before you make investment in Bali.
Freehold or leasehold?
This question never gets old. If this question still bugging you, let me make it clear for you: no foreigner can own a freehold property in Bali using his/her name as the title holder. Indonesian law simply doesn’t permit it, and for good reason. Otherwise, it could be colonial days all over again.
“If that so, how come a friend of a friend manage to get a freehold certificate for his property?” The answer to that question is this: most likely, he has an Indonesian nominee who acts as the property titleholder on his behalf. This nominee could be anyone as long as he or she is an Indonesian citizen. It could be his spouse, for example, or someone he can trust (sponsor, your ex’s Indonesian husband etc). Hell, I even know people who use his gardener or driver as the titleholder. However, as you can guess already, this is a risky move. You’ve probably heard about sob story of a guy who loses his property due to trusting the wrong person for such arrangement. Take notes, because that story is probably true.
As risky as it may be, many still insist on doing it. Indeed, a watertight pre-agreement could avoid such disaster by closing loopholes that could create problems in the future. However, when it goes wrong, it goes wrong, and unless you come prepared, a turbulence ride awaits.
Secondly, that person may acquire his property using his company’s name. This is also possible as long your company fulfill all requirements to acquire property (as company’s assets). We call this the PMA method. FYI, PMA is an acronym for Penanaman Modal Asing (Foreign Investment Company) and it refers to the company you own. The setback of this method is that, it takes time and money to set up a company here.
To build or not to build?
If you’re a builder and you know your way about planning, budgeting, man management and all that stuff, go for it. Outsource everything else. Familiarize yourself with assortments of building materials available in Bali. Learn the regulations, visit building expos, ask around, find a first mate, someone you trust that could build for you. If you decide to build, workforce is another thing you have to plan out thoroughly, especially in terms of labor supply, management and communication (that can be tricky sometimes, due to language barrier).
Without proper knowledge, even if you’re a builder back home, things can be out of hand really fast, from delays to bad finishing.
Secondly, if you decide to invest in a resale villa or other type of properties instead, make sure that everything is legit and it has building permit (IMB). Conduct due diligence properly. It may be necessary to consult with a notary public or company that specialized in this kind of service before you make any decision.
Where to Invest?
Like in your home country, some areas in Bali cost more than the others, but at the same time also promise greater ROI: a simple demand and supply thing. On the other side, a place can lack what is necessary to give high yields, but the cost is twice or three time as cheaper and the view is amazing, so it’s worth it. It’s important to calculate everything before making an offer. Whatever place you choose, make sure it fits your needs. A place in Seminyak or Petitenget maybe perfect to be developed into a daily or short term rentals, but consider the noise coming from nearby bars and clubs. Investing that large amount of money only to be sorry after is not good at all, is it? Look for the plus factor of the area. Is it the view? Is there any development that will add value (or the contrary) to the area in the near future? Gather as much information in this phase. Compare notes with friends or acquaintances that are familiar with the area if necessary.
In this case, North Kuta area (especially Berawa, Echo Beach and Pererenan) is still one of the top most-sought after area for residential and commercial purpose. The area still continues to develop, with some challenges in communication sector, especially in fiber optics grids coverage and unstable mobile signal reception. Other than that, residential and commercial incentives (schools, food and beverage, sunny beaches) along with the availability of basic infrastructures will continue to draw investors in years to come.
What about the cost?
Ok. You’ve found the answers to the questions above. Now it’s time to sum everything up and covert it all into numbers. What numbers are we talking here?
Keep in mind that as far as the price is concerned, there’s no clear guidelines. The price for land and villa changes on regular basis in Bali. Pure speculation, property resale or simple greed drive such fluctuation. The government doesn’t regulate property price. They leave it at the mercy of the seller. Whatever that maybe, always remember, that everything is negotiable here in Bali. Negotiate the price as if your life depends on it!
Here I summarize quick and dirty tips to consider before making an offer:
Stick to your budget.
Unless you’re Richard Branson or Warren Buffet, don’t fall into stereotypical “bule” acting like he owns all the money to buy this world. Be humble and friendly with your middleman (known as makelar) or property agent and of course, the seller. Those two simple things will make your life 100x easier in the negotiating process.