Guide to buying a property in Morocco

Nadia Sadak,  Sunday, 3 November 2013

 

This article is part of a series of 8 articles about buying property in Morocco. The other articles in the series cover the following topics:


Buying properties in Morocco is certainly as dream of several people from all the corners of the world. Morocco has several different beauties that are bound to impress even the most exigent buyer. However, before one is able to purchase a property in this beautiful land, it is a must that he or she understands more regarding its peculiarities.

First of all it is nice to know a little bit more regarding the currency and property values in Morocco. The current currency in Morocco today is called the Moroccan Dirham (MAD). Today 1 dollar is worth as much as around 8.14 Dirham. Properties in Morocco vary on price, of course, however you can comfortably buy a nice property in Marrakesh (one of the main touristic areas of the country), whether you are a foreigner or not, and pay around $250.000 dollars on it (it would be around 2.035.000 Dirhams.) Foreigners are allowed to purchase properties in Morocco, except buying agricultural land. When purchasing a property in the country it can be extremely helpful to have a local bank account open, that way you will have your currency converted directly to Dirham, making all transactions much easier and practical for everyone.

Although the property values are quite attractive it is utterly necessary to keep a few regulations in mind. First of all it is necessary for the interested party to look for a real estate agent (preferably that speaks English), a lawyer, who can be very helpful when you have to deal with the legalities. Most of the real estate agents are also known as the “simsaar”. Most of the simsaar do not speak English, that way it is important that you have a lawyer who can either communicate in the simsaar language or have both parties speaking English. It will make the whole process much easier for you and also for the agents and lawyers involved in the case.

The buying process

Usually the properties in Morocco can be purchased just like properties in Spain, France and Portugal are: with a notary on the side of both parties. Once a buyer finds a property that interests him, he will talk to an agent, who will contact the property owners. The parties will talk and then once the deed is settled it must be registered in the proper registration office of the region where the deal is being done. The buyer can pay a deposit once he wants to purchase the property, that way the agent can take the property off the properties listing and “keep it safe” for the buyer. It is also more interesting and safer for the buyer to only pay part of the property value because usually the properties still have people living in them. You should only pay the remaining value once the property is empty and checked for issues, overall items etc. As soon as the buyer has his property in hands and has successfully registered it within the proper registration office he will then be electable to apply for the listing of the already registered property to the land registry of the area.

Exceptions

In some areas of Morocco, such as in Fez (Medina) the houses do not have any kind of title, instead a proper official has the power to write new entries to the ownership document. These entries may be as old as decades. You can get an entry on the document done if you visit a notary public, therefore you will not get a whole new document, and instead you will have your name written as the new owner of a property in a previous existing document.

Fees involved when purchasing a property in Morocco

Now that you already know how the buying process works it is time to know more about the feared taxes. In fact buying a property in Morocco will not have you paying too many extra taxes, no, in fact you will pay the taxes that can be found in countries such as Spain, France and Brazil even. Let´s take a look at a few of the taxes and fees that must be paid in all property transactions. Keep in mind that the buyer has the obligation to pay them all.

Overall Legal Fees:
The values of Overall Legal Fees when purchasing a property in Morocco vary from 1% to 5% of the total property value and are also negotiable. It is advisable for you to have a lawyer beside you, he can help you save some money in this process.
Another fee that must be paid is the VAT (Value Added Tax) fee that is of 10% of the total value of the property.
It is important to keep in mind that all of these fees charged have to be paid by the BUYER and not the seller/ agents or any other person involved in the purchase process.

Registration Values:
2.5% (over the full amount) is applicable when purchasing properties by either average people or companies.

Notary Fee/ Stamping Duties:
The value for the notary public varies from 0.5% to 1% (can be negotiated). A 10% VAT fee is also applicable.

Agent´s Commission:
The simsaar usually charges around 2.5% of the overall value of the property.

Land Registry Fee:
1% of the property´s total value.

Notary Taxes:
Fixed at 0.5% of the property´s total value

Other Expenses:
Lawyer´s commission usually varies. From 1% of the overall property´s value to a fixed amount that is pre fixed by the parties.


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A captivating read

Moroccan mosaic This article will help you understand a little bit more when it comes to the Moroccan property taxes. Not only will you have an explanatory part where you will get to know what yearly property taxes are, but you will also have the opportunity to understand what the taxes you will have to deal with when selling a property in the country. You will certainly find the article very helpful! 
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