How to Purchase Property in South Africa as a Foreigner

Who can buy property in South Africa?

Purchasing a property in South Africa as a foreigner is allowed, but there are a few rules to keep in mind. Firstly, foreigners who wish to acquire property in South Africa need to have a valid passport and visa or residence permit (or any other type of endorsement that allows them to stay in South Africa). Secondly, a tax clearance certificate is needed from the South African Revenue Service.

South Africa offers different residency programs through business activities and on a worldwide net worth basis (for individuals with a net worth over ZAR 12 million). 

Do the research

South Africa offers a diverse culture and stunning natural beauty. The cost of living is reasonable and being a growing economy, it offers numerous business and job opportunities.

Some of the more popular areas for real estate investment:

  • Johannesburg - The largest city in South Africa that is also the financial and economic center of the country. It’s a metropolis of over 5 million people and numerous major businesses. 
  • Cape Town - The second-largest city in South Africa and also the capital. It’s mostly known for its vibrant culture, many tourist attractions and natural beauty.
  • Durban - The largest port city in South Africa that is known for its beautiful beaches. It has a strong Indian influence which is reflected in the architecture and cuisine.

Where to find properties online:


Foreigners can obtain mortgages in South Africa. Most likely, according to South African Reserve Bank’s requirements, documents such as proof of income and visa will be required. In most cases, interest rates will be higher than in western countries (around 10%) and a substantial deposit might be requested from foreigners.

Even if financing is not needed, it is required to open a local bank account to purchase property in South Africa.

Make an offer

Once you have found a property that suits your needs and budget, it is very important to conduct due diligence on it. South African properties carry many risks with titles and land restitution claims. It is highly recommended to seek help from a reputable local lawyer at this stage. 

If everything checks out with the property, it is time to make an offer (usually done in writing through the estate agent). Taking time to understand the cultural background of people will definitely help in the negotiations. 

Finalize the purchase

If the seller accepts the offer, a purchase agreement is signed which outlines the usual terms of the sale (e.g. price and closing date). Usually, the deposit is paid at this stage. 

After the deposit has been paid, the legal process of transferring the title to your name begins. Once all the necessary documents have been gathered, they will be sent to the Deeds office for processing. After the process is complete and ownership has been transferred, the remainder of the balance will be paid to the seller.

Property Buying Costs and Taxes in South Africa

Transaction Costs

    Who Pays?
Transfer Duty 0.00% - 13.00% buyer
Lawyer´s Fee for Conveyance 0.70% - 1.20% buyer
Registration Fee ZAR 70 - ZAR 1250 buyer
Real Estate Agent´s Fee 7.50% seller
Costs paid by buyer 0.70% - 14.20%
Costs paid by seller 7.50%
Source: Global Property Guide