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Tips for Buying a Property in Vanuatu

A quick guide to investing in property in Vanuatu

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In order to reach a happy conclusion to your property purchase in Vanuatu, you need to do
some good groundwork not only in finding the right property, but also with legal paperwork.

Buying a property in Vanuatu, or anywhere else for that matter, is a major investment that requires your utmost commitment and attention. Professional assistance is always welcome for more than understandable reasons, but it is a good practice to be well-informed on the subject yourself. Thus, you will know what to expect and you will be able to realize easily how to conduct the purchase of property that will meet all your requirements.

To introduce you to the basics of buying a property in Vanuatu, we offer you some highly helpful tips. Explore them and then make the first steps towards the purchase. Eventually, you can even consider relocating to Vanuatu as well.

Things to know before buying a property in Vanuatu

To be completely sure that investing in Vanuatu property is the right choice for you, you need to study attentively some general facts regarding what you can expect from this process. Here are a few hints:

images/red2-arrow1s.pngThere is no freehold in Vanuatu

Buying a property here actually means buying a lease up to 75 years. Also, if you buy an already existing lease, your purchase is for the remaining term of the lease in question and not a new 75-year long period. At the end of the lease period, you can either surrender your lease title or renew the lease for the next 75 years after you pay the necessary fees.

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Everybody is welcome to buy a property in Vanuatu. What's more, you are not obliged
to move there immediately, allowing you time to handle your move to Vanuatu properly.

images/red2-arrow1s.pngEverybody can buy a property in Vanuatu, natives and non-natives alike

The only difference may be in the fact that non-natives are required to obtain some financial and professional references beforehand. However, if you are buying a commercial property with the existing business, you will need a Vanuatu Investment Authority approval, a business license in yours or the local company’s name, and you will have to fulfill all the conditions presented in the Vanuatu Financial Intelligence Unit. You can get more information about this from your realtor or bank in Vanuatu.

Buying a property in Vanuatu does not mean you have to start packing your belongings and move there immediately. So, if you are not willing to make a permanent change in your home location immediately, you can relax and examine all the parameters before you make the final choice. In the meantime, you can rent out your property, which is very easy if it is well-maintained and situated in a nice location.

Standard procedures buying a property in Vanuatu involves

Ideally, you should always consult a real estate agent or a solicitor when buying a property. This is particularly important when you are a non-citizen and you are entering the Vanuatu real estate market for the first time. Remember that every country has its own unique set of laws and regulations you need to follow in these circumstances.

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As the most populated and administrative centre for Vanuatu islands, Port Vila city is
where most tourists come to and where expats tend to naturally gravitate.

A standard procedure when buying a property here includes:

images/red2-outlinex-1s.pngSign Sale and Purchase Agreement

Signing a Sale and Purchase Agreement is the next step once you find a property that meets all your requirements. On this occasion, you need to pay a deposit as well which most often equals 10% of the purchasing price. The payment is to be made into your real estate agents’ or solicitor’s trust account.

images/red2-outlinex-1s.pngExamine conditions of the contract

Examining the conditions listed in the contract and taking measures to meet all of them. This is a responsibility you as a purchaser have to fulfill.

images/red2-outlinex-1s.pngGet Consent to Transfer

Applying for Lessors Consent to Transfer is the step performed by the vendor. Furthermore, the vendor can also organize a share transfer.

images/red2-outlinex-1s.pngGet the final inspection of the property

The final inspection of the property can be conducted after all these steps on your demand as a purchaser. This is also the step that precedes the final settlement, so focus intently to be able to notice any irregularities or anything that does not meet the contract terms.

images/red2-outlinex-1s.pngGet the settlement documents done

The settlement is the last step that symbolizes a successful purchase. The documents the settlement includes are the Transfer of Lease deed, a Copy of Registered Title, Settlement Statement, current Property Tax receipt, and current Land Rent receipt. If you decide to rent the property immediately, you will also need to sign the Tenancy Agreement.

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In Vanuatu as in other parts of the world, buying a property involves signing and obtaining
certain documents, relevant to investing and real estate purchase.

How to insure your Vanuatu property

Insuring your property entitles you to proper compensation should anything happen to it. The options at your disposal are countless, so it might be the best strategy to consult a reputable local broker or an insurance company and inquire more details on the subject.

Generally, the insurance will cost you within the range of 0.5% to 0.7% of the insured value. Since cyclones are very common in Vanuatu, we strongly suggest you obtain cyclone insurance. Besides the standard and most common perils like theft, burglary, earthquakes (light shakes are also common in Vanuatu, although mostly harmless), or fire, you should consider insuring your property against the loss of rental income, public liability, or workers’ compensation, for example. This will provide you with the peace of mind and the knowledge that you are completely covered in case of some unpleasant circumstances.

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Property insurance should be an essential part of your house purchase in Vanuatu

Moving to Vanuatu

Although we have mentioned that relocation is not necessary if you want to own a property in Vanuatu, a great number of people, however, start organizing the move soon after the purchase has been completed. When you find the best professionals to transport your belongings to the new address, the whole process is nothing but a breeze. Having professionals by your side means that you do not have to worry about whether your belongings will be secured throughout the relocation process or not. Instead, you can focus on other aspects of changing your location, such as exploring the new home country, studying the job opportunities and educational facilities, and so on.

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Your best chance to buy a property in Vanuatu is finding one on the green hills surrounding
the capital Port Vila, which is the hive of activity in Vanuatu islands and home to many expats.

Final thoughts on buying a property in Vanuatu

Whether you plan on moving there or not, you should know that by living in Vanuatu as an expat you get a chance to live in one of the happiest places on Earth. However, this is also a country of major contrasts, so the afore-mentioned statement mostly depends on where you decide to live.

If you want a new, fresh start in your life, buying a property in Vanuatu and moving there is a good decision and a great challenge as well. However, be prepared to encounter certain difficulties especially if you are planning to start a business here. The secret to success lies in having the right information and getting prepared accordingly. Explore, be optimistic, think wisely, and make plans. Cheerful, friendly, and hospitable Vanuatu people will help you adjust.

  Vanuatu Expat Living Guides
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Buying a Property in Vanuatu
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