Buying real estate in Cameroon as a foreigner?

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Buying property in Cameroon as a foreigner: a full guide

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buying property foreigner Cameroon

Everything you need to know is included in our Cameroon Property Pack

Cameroon is an increasingly popular destination for foreign investors looking to buy real estate. It is renowned for its stunning landscapes, vibrant culture, and hospitable people. But navigating the laws and regulations of purchasing property in a foreign country can be a daunting task.

This guide is here to make the process easier for foreign buyers. It provides a comprehensive overview of the property market in Cameroon, in a simple and easy to understand format.

Also, for a more in-depth analysis, you can check our property pack for Cameroon.

Can you purchase and own a property in Cameroon as a foreigner?

Understanding the nuances of purchasing real estate in Cameroon as a foreigner involves navigating a series of regulations and practices that differ from those applicable to local citizens.

In Cameroon, foreigners are generally allowed to buy and own real estate, but there are certain limitations when it comes to land ownership.

Foreigners can purchase buildings, such as houses or commercial properties, but acquiring the land on which these structures are built often involves a leasehold arrangement rather than outright ownership.

This is a key difference from local citizens, who can own both the land and the buildings on it.

Cameroon's real estate laws do not typically discriminate based on a foreign buyer's country of origin. The process and rights are generally consistent for all foreigners, regardless of their home country.

However, it's always advisable to check for any bilateral agreements or specific regulations that might apply to your particular situation.

Purchasing property in Cameroon doesn't usually require you to be a resident of the country. Foreigners can buy property even if they don't live in Cameroon.

However, residing in the country might influence other aspects of the transaction, such as tax implications and ease of managing the property.

Buying property in Cameroon does not necessitate a specific visa or permit. Nevertheless, if you plan to stay in the country for property management or other reasons, you will need to comply with Cameroon's immigration laws, which might require a visa or residency permit depending on the duration and purpose of your stay.

Acquiring real estate as a foreigner in Cameroon typically involves some level of interaction with government agencies, but this doesn't always mean you need special authorization.

The process usually requires you to go through standard property registration and transfer procedures, which include checks and verifications by relevant authorities.

There isn’t a universally set minimum investment for foreign real estate buyers in Cameroon. The investment amount largely depends on the property's location, type, and market value.

However, it's worth noting that larger investments might attract more scrutiny and require additional legal support to navigate.

Can you become a resident in Cameroon by owning a property?

Cameroon does not have a specific investment or real estate purchase program that grants residency to foreign nationals.

This means that buying property in Cameroon does not automatically entitle you to residency in the country. However, it's important to stay updated on this, as immigration policies and investment schemes can change.

Even though property investment doesn't directly lead to residency, there are other avenues through which one might seek residency in Cameroon.

These typically involve processes like employment, starting a business, or family reunification. Each of these paths has its own set of requirements and procedures.

For those specifically interested in residency via investment, it's worth noting that some countries offer residency-by-investment programs, commonly known as Golden Visa schemes. These programs usually have clearly defined criteria, such as minimum investment amounts, types of investments (like real estate, government bonds, or business ventures), and other legal requirements.

Successful applicants often receive temporary residency, which can potentially lead to permanent residency and, in some cases, citizenship after meeting certain conditions, such as residing in the country for a specific number of years.

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buying property foreigner Cameroon

Market data

You can find fresh and updated data in our pack of documents related to the real estate market in Cameroon.

Based on the the the GDP per capita indicator, it is apparent that Cameroonian people have become 0.0% richer over the last 5 years.

If the population becomes wealthier, there may be a greater demand for real estate, and that could make prices go up in the future.

Looking at the data reported by Numbeo, we can see that rental properties in Cameroon offer gross rental yields between 6.1% and 8.8%.

These strong rental yields reflect a positive rental market environment, which can foster long-term sustainability and growth.

To know more, you can also read our dedicated article: is it a good time to buy a property in Cameroon?

The life as an expat

The life of an expat in Cameroon can be both exciting and challenging.

On one hand, Cameroon is a culturally diverse country with a vibrant, friendly atmosphere that makes it a great place to live. On the other hand, living in a foreign country can be difficult as it requires adapting to a new culture and language.

Expats in Cameroon can expect to experience a range of climates, from the hot and humid coastal region to the cooler, mountainous regions of the north. The country is home to a variety of cultures, languages, religions, and traditional practices, making it an interesting place to explore.

Cameroon has a strong economy and is politically stable, providing expats with a safe and secure environment to live and work in. The country also offers a range of job opportunities, from teaching English to working in the oil and gas industry.

The cost of living in Cameroon is relatively low, making it an affordable place to live. Expats will find that the cost of food, housing, and transportation is much lower than in other parts of the world.

Expats in Cameroon will need to be prepared to deal with some bureaucracy and paperwork, as well as to adjust to the different cultural norms. However, with the right attitude and willingness to learn, expats can make the most of their experience in Cameroon and enjoy life in this vibrant and diverse country.

What are the best places to buy real estate in Cameroon?

This table summarizes some of the best places to buy a property in Cameroon.

City / Region Population Average Price per sqm (XAF) Strengths
Yaoundé ≈ 2.8 million 200,000 - 500,000 Capital city, administrative center, cultural attractions, government offices
Douala ≈ 3.5 million 150,000 - 400,000 Economic capital, major port, business opportunities, vibrant markets
Bamenda ≈ 500,000 100,000 - 300,000 Regional hub, beautiful landscapes, moderate climate, cultural diversity
Bafoussam ≈ 300,000 100,000 - 250,000 Strategic location, trade and agriculture center, natural attractions
Limbe ≈ 100,000 200,000 - 400,000 Coastal city, black sand beaches, Mount Cameroon, botanical gardens
Kribi ≈ 70,000 150,000 - 300,000 Tourist destination, pristine beaches, wildlife reserves, water activities
Garoua ≈ 500,000 80,000 - 200,000 Trade and transportation hub, wildlife parks, cultural heritage

Do you need a lawyer when buying a property in Cameroon?

When purchasing a property in Cameroon, engaging a local lawyer can be essential to navigate the legal aspects and ensure a successful transaction.

One important document they can assist with is the Sale Agreement, which is a legally binding contract between the buyer and seller, outlining the terms and conditions of the sale.

The Cameroonian lawyer can also help with conducting a Property Title Search to verify the property's ownership status and identify any potential legal issues or encumbrances.

Moreover, they can guide you through the process of obtaining necessary permits and approvals, such as approval from the local land registry office or relevant authorities.

They will ensure that all relevant taxes and fees, such as the Transfer Tax and Notary Fees, are paid correctly and in compliance with Cameroonian laws and regulations.

What are the risks when buying a property in Cameroon?

We've got an article dedicated to the risks associated with purchasing property in Cameroon.

The main risks when buying a property in Cameroon are related to the lack of a reliable and transparent property registration system.

Without such a system, it can be difficult to determine the legal owner of a property, and thus, the risk of buying a property without proper title and ownership is high. Additionally, there is a risk of purchasing a property that is subject to existing debts or financial obligations.

Furthermore, due to the lack of an effective legal system, there is a risk of expropriation of property without adequate compensation. In addition, the risk of fraud and corruption is also present when buying a property in Cameroon, as there are no reliable legal protections for buyers.

Finally, there is a risk of property damage due to natural disasters, such as flooding or earthquakes.

real estate Cameroon

Everything you need to know is included in our Cameroon Property Pack

What is the list of documents needed for a real estate transaction in Cameroon?

When buying a property in Cameroon, the following documents are necessary:

1. A valid national identity card or passport.

2. A certificate of non-encumbrance.

3. A receipt or proof of payment for the purchase.

4. A land title deed or certificate of ownership.

5. An authorization from the local authorities (if applicable).

6. A sales agreement or contract.

7. A survey plan.

8. A certificate of habitation.

We review each of these documents and tell you how to use them in our property pack for Cameroon.

What are the key steps to develop a successful negotiation plan with Cameroonians?

By embracing the cultural nuances of Cameroon, demonstrating respect, and investing in building relationships, you can enhance your negotiating efforts and foster a positive and fruitful outcome in your property transaction.

Respect for elders and authority is highly valued in Cameroonian culture. Showing deference to senior individuals and demonstrating respect for their position and wisdom can positively impact the negotiation process. Also, hospitality is deeply ingrained in Cameroonian culture. It is common for hosts to offer refreshments and engage in friendly conversation before discussing business matters. Embracing this hospitality and reciprocating with gratitude and politeness can help establish a positive negotiation atmosphere.

You also have to know that patience and building relationships are key in negotiations in Cameroon.

Taking the time to develop personal connections, engaging in small talk, and building trust are important steps before delving into the specifics of the property transaction. Rushing the negotiation process may be viewed as disrespectful and counterproductive.

Indirect communication and non-verbal cues are significant in Cameroonian culture. It is important to listen carefully, observe body language, and pay attention to the subtle messages conveyed during negotiations. Being diplomatic, tactful, and avoiding direct confrontations can contribute to a harmonious negotiation environment.

Additionally, understanding the local real estate market, legal regulations, and customary practices is essential. Conducting thorough research, seeking advice from local experts, and being well-informed about property laws and procedures will empower you to navigate negotiations effectively and ensure a successful property purchase in Cameroon.

Can foreigners get a mortgage in Cameroon?

In theory, foreigners are generally allowed to obtain property loans in Cameroon, subject to certain conditions and requirements, although it remains a less prevalent option.

The specific conditions and requirements for a foreigner to obtain a property loan in Cameroon may vary, but typically they need to have a valid residence permit, provide necessary documentation, such as proof of income and identity, and fulfill the criteria of the lending institutions in the country.

Foreigners might try their chance for mortgages with banks such as Afriland First Bank, Société Générale Cameroun, and BICEC (Banque Internationale du Cameroun pour l'Epargne et le Crédit) in Cameroon.

Nevertheless, mortgage rates in Cameroon for a 20-year term range from 15% to 19%, which are relatively high and may present challenges for borrowers. As a foreigner, it's recommended to explore alternative financing options to overcome these hurdles.

What are the taxes related to a property transaction in Cameroon?

Here is a breakdown of taxes related to a property transaction in Cameroon.

Tax Description Calculation Who pays
Property Tax Annual tax on the property's value 0.1% of the assessed property value Owner
Value Added Tax (VAT) Tax on the sale of new properties 19.25% of the property value Buyer
Transfer Tax A tax imposed on the transfer of property ownership 2% of the property value Buyer
Capital Gains Tax Tax on the profit made from the sale of a property 5% of the property value in urban areas and 10% in rural areas Seller

What fees are involved in a property transaction in Cameroon?

Below is a simple breakdown of fees for a property transaction in Cameroon.

Fee Description Calculation Who pays
Registration Fee Fee for registering the property transfer with the Land Registry 5% of the property sale price Buyer
Notary Fees Fee for the notary's services in handling the property transfer Between 0.50% and 4% of the property value Buyer
Real Estate Agent Commission Fee paid to a real estate agent for facilitating the property transaction 1% to 10% of the property value, depending on the nature of the property Seller or Buyer

Buying real estate in Cameroon can be risky

An increasing number of foreign investors are showing interest in Cameroon. However, 90% of them will make mistakes. Avoid the pitfalls with our comprehensive guide.

buying property foreigner Cameroon