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Does your House Suit an Expat?

It’s not a market that people often think of when they are looking to rent out or sell their house, but a survey of expats living in Zimbabwe unearthed some interesting nuggets. The survey not only included expats but those people who might be thinking of moving here from abroad to make this country their home. It looked into what drives expats when it comes to moving here and choosing a property to rent or buy and what other factors they take into consideration when choosing a property.

Eight factors stood out:

  1. Space and sunshine were at the top of their pull list. Most expats are coming from cities in More Economically Developed countries where land is expensive and air pollution is the norm. There, people have tiny gardens and smoky horizons. Zimbabwe is naturally endowed with plenty of sunshine and space tends to be relatively cheap. It’s only natural that when foreigners come to Zimbabwe they tend to look for houses located in areas where there is plenty of sunshine and large yards.
  2. Another frequently cited factor was services i.e. water, electricity and connectivity in terms of accessibility and things like the internet. This is where you need to put an effort as councils and the government have sort of let the ball drop. Having a borehole on the property and installing a good solar system will be an added advantage. Houses in areas where there is fibre connectivity are also favoured. Expats come from countries where there is fast internet and they will probably need it to communicate with their loved ones back home.
  3. Security is also upmost in the minds of expats, and is something that most female expats were concerned with. Having a walled property will give you an edge here. So will security cameras and alarm systems and panic rooms. A neighbourhood watch would also help catch the eye of expats.
  4. Being close to a good international school especially one favoured by expats would also help catch their eye. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to change the location of your property but if you are aware of good international schools in your area it would help to point it out to expats when they are viewing your property. For example, there is Harare International School in Pendennis near Mt Pleasant, that offers an American curriculum.
  5. Availability of funding is also a factor that expats might consider when deciding to buy a given property. This might not be something that you have control over but you having all the documents in order e.g.title deeds as opposed to cessation might actually help on this point. Lack of readily available funding makes Zimbabwean properties expensive compared to other countries but you can also help your cause by accepting favourable terms instead of demanding cash up front.
  6. Zimbabwe has a tainted history when it comes to property rights and ownership laws. Fortunately, we do have laws that allow foreigners to buy and own a house in Zimbabwe using funds brought from abroad. When an expat eventually wants to put their house on the market they can get approval to repatriate the proceeds of the sale. Although this has proved to be difficult over the last few years, the laws do allow for these and we will see repartiations ease up again.
  7. There is also the issue of child care and health services. While the national healthcare system has all but collapsed expats are happy with the competent private health care services offered by private healthcare facilities such as the Avenues Clinic and Trauma Centre. Mentioning top-notch nanny and domestic provider agencies will also put them at ease.
  8. Expats also consider how modern a house is. A lot of houses in Zimbabwe were built a long time ago making them a bit dated when compared to international standards. A couple of renovations including modern white goods might go a long way in improving your house’s market standing.

Kennan Properties

Shop 25a Borrowdale Village,
Borrowdale, Harare
+263 0242 885568 /862918/885566