How to Buy Property in Rwanda

You can buy property in Rwanda even if you don’t have Rwandan citizenship. And, even better, it is actually very simple and fast. Below is the process of transferring ownership of a property in Rwanda. It is the same for foreigners as it is for residents or Rwandan citizens.

The steps of buying a property in Rwanda as a foreigner:

Firstly, you of course have to find a property that you want to buy.

Then the seller has to present the proof of ownership.

Next, the seller and the buyer an ‘Agreement of Sale’ contract, upon which the buyer expects a small deposit.

Then both you and the seller go to the local administration (“Umurenge”) where you hand in these documents, together with a copy of your passport (you have to present the original passport there, a copy is not sufficient). The sellers will present the same personal identification and, if applicable, company registration papers. This begins the transfer process of the property into your name. The seller will at this point surrender the ownership papers to the land officer. Note that immediately before this is done, the full amount will have to be paid by bank transfer. In case you are buying the property in both your and your spouse’s name, you will need a written, signed and notarized power of attorney from them if they are not present at the office. A copy of their passport should be included with this, and the number noted in the power of attorney.

The local administration will proof the request and all presented documents to then begin the process of transfer of property over to you. The process of change of ownership as well as getting the paperwork takes about 1-2 weeks.

That is really it. It’s a smooth and simple process. 

Please note that this is the process if you are buying your property full cash, securing a home loan is the same process however not every expat qualifies for a mortgage.  Make sure you ask your bank when you register what is the home loan qualification statues.  And while most may say “Yes, you will qualify”, please ask the follow up questions…

  •  What paperwork do you look at to qualify you?
  • Do I need to be on a contract or long term visa?
  • How do you determine the maximum amount I can qualify for?

A situation that occurred for an expat is that due to her work visa and contract ending in a two year period and not being an open ended contract, she could qualify for a personal loan but not a mortgage.  And the personal loan must be paid in full by the end of her work contract date.

Know that is easy to get a yes, so make sure you ask follow up questions so you can be certain that their yes follows up with your expectations.

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