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Buy property in Malawi with peace of heart, read to the end. I hope you know what the term “property” means. In regards to real estate property is either land or building.
Can Foreigners Buy Land in Malawi?
No. Foreigners are not allowed to acquire property in Malawi. Foreign investors are instead encouraged to make partnerships with Malawians in order to acquire property.
Only Malawian citizens are allowed to buy property in Malawi. The law allows any Malawian to buy land in Malawi without any discrimination. Land laws in Malawi do not discriminate. They equally apply for men and women, married and single. As long as one can afford to buy any land on sale, they are free to do so.
Acquiring property is capital intensive. It sounds simple, but it isn’t. Speaking from experience, anyone would tell you, buying land in Malawi is a complex process. Sometimes it’s both risky and cumbersome. Therefore, any buyer is warned to act with prudence.
This guide is yours, if you would want to buy property in Malawi. Details within this post will help you have a vivid picture on how to acquire land in Malawi.
Without wasting time, below are the three categories of property in Malawi. These are government land, public land, and private land.
Firstly, we have government land. This is land which the government privately owns. It is land set aside for national activities. It is reserved for government buildings. This land is reserved for construction of hospitals, schools, and other projects by government agencies.
Secondly, there is public land which is held in trust and managed by government or traditional authority.
The land is openly accessible to the public. It includes places like national parks, forests reserve and cultural sites.
Additionally, public land includes all abandoned land, unusable land, dambos’ and communal grazing areas.
Then there is private registered land. Under private lands there are two distinctions.
Firstly, there is freehold tenure. In this case owner has exclusive rights over the land. There are no term limits in ownership.
And no developments are imposed on the owner when developing the land. Also owner has the right to subdivide or lease the land.
Then there is customary land (customary estate). This is land under the jurisdiction of a Traditional Authority (T/A).
Such land is given to a person or persons under customary laws. Customary land is given to citizens only. No written documentation is required.
10 Steps to follow when buying property in Malawi
Malawi has a raking of 95 out of 190 economies on ease of buying land (World Bank Doing Business in Malawi 2017). Mmmh! Not too bad!
The process to acquire property in Malawi involves several steps. As indicated in the next paragraphs.
1. Decide on location and your budget
Firstly, decide on how much you want to spend in buying desired property. Then identify your preferred location. These two will help you to be clear and focused on what you want to do.
2. Hire a lawyer and an estate agent
Is it mandatory?
Well! It depends.
Hiring a lawyer is an option. So as is hiring an estate agent.
You may do all the process of buying without a lawyer or an agent.
However, services of a lawyer and a trusted agent may be required sometimes.
3. Search for the perfect property
With the help of family or friends you start searching for the property to buy. Alternatively, you’ve an agent to do this on for you. Make sure you physically recommend the property before making payments. Verify such things like dimensions, location, water, and availability of electricity.
4. Investigate the seller
Verify the identities of the seller. Know whether the seller is the owner of the property or not.
Verification of ownership prevents from buying property with conflicts. If the person selling you is not the owner ensure that he/she has authority to sell the property.
It is very common for dubious vendors to sell a property to multiple buyers. Sometimes these vendors sell property which isn’t theirs. Be alert.
When buying customary land the chiefs of the area may help provide evidence of property ownership. So it’s good to ask them.
5. Make Payments
Next step is issuing of payment. Now that you’ve checked the property, investigate the owner it’s time to pay the agreed amount.
Buyers mostly make payment in presence of two to three witnesses from both parties. They also include the chief to sign. Buying land without title ends here.
In order to be legally recognized as the property owner you have to register the property. In the next paragraphs the required steps to register a property Malawi.
6. Title Deed
Registration of title deed is done under the Registered Lands Act. The registration of title is deed is done at the Lands registry after payment. The required fee to register property is MK5, 000.
7. Obtain City Rates Clearance Certificate
After registering the title deed, next is to apply for city rates clearance certificate. The Chief Executive of the city is signs city rates clearance certificate upon payment of K500 application fee.
8. Apply to Ministry of Lands for consent to transfer property
The application for consent attracts a fee of K5000
9. Tax Clearance Certificate
Apply for a tax clearance certificate from Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA). No fees required. At MRA you are required to submit the following documents
- Original title deed
- Sale – purchase agreement
- Evaluation report from a certified evaluator
10. Registration at the Deeds Registry
Finally, you have to apply for the registration of the title deed. You must submit the following;
- Stamped deed
- Tax clearance certificate
Over to you.
Mr. Abel A van Tonder
Hi I’m a South African expat in UK and very interested in aquaculture in Malawi. Primarily for breeding Tilapia’s for food market and breeding fingerlings for other fish farmers. Could you possibly point me in the right direction? Where to find a land owner willing to become a business partner etc. And what areas would be best suited. Kind regards Abel.
I am a Canadian Citizen, I want to come and invest in Malawi.
1. What are the opportunities?
2. Can I buy and own Land in any way?
It is possible to by land.
Opportunities are there.
Thank you for your Reply.
Can you advise how can non citizens buy land ? As you said in your article that non citizens can’t buy but then there must be a way out like it is in Tanzania we bought land using special arrangements they call it TIC.
Please advise from your part. Thank you.
I would just like to point out that your statement
“Only Malawian citizens are allowed to buy property in Malawi.” is incorrect, foreign nationals with a PRP (Permanent Residency Permit) are permitted to purchase property in Malawi.
What is the average price cur square meter in Migowi
Hello there , I’m a Zimbabwean who lives in Uk , i have a few businesses here in the Uk, I need to invest in Malawi what’s the best way in registratering a company there
I am Food Processing Technolist in India.
I want to establish a Fruit Jam,Jellies, Tomato Ketchup,Fruit juices, squash plant.
Kindly suggest good partners from your side.
Malawians should keep there land and stop selling property to the Chinese not a good move some day the Chinese will stab you in the back. Sure they say they will help like help show the villages how to make stoves that burn less wood or give free motor cycles to the chiefs. But in reality the Chinese want malawians land for what the land holds beneath it. A Chinese woman came in to my spouse’s village and when she met me she was shocked to see a white man there and also scared to death of me she knew how smart I was. And to see me with my wife which is a special woman there in Malawi she was really scared. I will not let another organization or foreign peaple do my family wrong she felt the strong love I have for my family there and the love I have for my wife and the village. The warm heart of malawian love please keep your land Malawi your land is a special country from God. I will do all I can for you to help keep your country and give all malawian peaple wisdom I have to help you keep your land and give courage and knowledge to keep what’s yours. Love you all always king David I’ll be back soon
All you guys need to be on the ground and find a partner who is a Malawian. That’s the only way you can acquire land in Malawi as a foreigner.
I am a russian guy married to a malawian women
Can Ibuy land or does it have to be in Malawian wife’s name?
Hie Roman. (In Malwian style, inu ndi alamu athu basi kkk). I would suggest you contact the lands ministry or check with immigration department. My knowledge on the question is limited. Among others, it will also depend on weather your wife is still a Malawian citizen or not.