Buying a property in Egypt
Only a short time ago foreigners were unable to buy property in Egypt. Although the situation has now changed the process of purchasing an Egyptian property is still often one fraught with difficulty.
There are several things to note:
If you intend to buy a home in Egypt residency is a prerequisite.
Rent control is still a sticky issue despite restrictions being dropped in recent years.
Property/rental prices can vary hugely depending on location, but most are negotiable.
Housing in Egypt also rarely comes furnished. Some properties are sold or rented without necessities like toilets and electrical wiring!
Although mortgages are available in Egypt through large banks (like the Commercial International Bank) many sales still involve cash payments. Some sellers will even offer a substantial discount if the sale is completed in cash.
When buying a property it’s usually best to hire a reputable lawyer to ensure your interests are looked after as the process can take up to, and sometimes beyond, four months. Getting advice from other expats who have also been through the process can be incredibly useful.
Using an estate agent (bowwabs in Egyptian Arabic) is probably one of the simplest ways of finding a suitable property as they will help you to narrow your search before you begin the process of viewings. They can also act as a mediator between you and the property owner.
Most agents will work on a commission basis, with commission payable either by you or the landlord/seller.
Bear in mind the fact that the estate agent may only speak Arabic. Unless you have a good command of the language you may benefit from engaging the services of a reputable translator.
You should also give any prospective property a thorough examination before making a commitment as housing inspections are not mandatory in Egypt.
The supply and quality of utilities like water and electricity should always be checked.
Whether renting or buying an Egyptian property you should always ensure that the contract is drawn up in both Arabic and English. Contracts are generally fairly simple but before signing anything make sure to voice any quires. You should only commit yourself once entirely satisfied with all the details and legalities involved.