This chapter discusses various ways of finding your perfect piece of Lombok land.
6.1 General Warnings Lombok Property Guide
There are very few laws that control property agents or real estate companies who offer to sell Lombok property for sale. Indonesia only have general anti-fraud laws, there are no regulations in place that dictates full-disclosure or transparency by real estate companies or property agents.
Same like in any part of the world, Lombok have both good and bad property agents. We suggest to apply the same verification process to real estate companies as used when looking for an Indonesian partner or nominee. Always make sure to get references and check each reference in person, via e-mail, phone or Facebook.
Many people want to believe that persons or companies that has been cheating people in the past are well known and that their reputation would make it impossible to keep up the charade. This is unfortunately not true. Some people have been selling Lombok property for sale and cheating people for more than a decade. The aggrieved party is usually an overly trusting tourist who simply will pack up and go back home and never to come back again. Perhaps they have lost a lot of money and have no desire to get on some Internet forum to tell their story about how they have been cheated. Perhaps they feel ashamed for being naive and simply wants to forget the whole thing.
Another necessary evil is middlemen who exist in almost every method you choose to buy property. News that a parcel of Lombok land is for sale spreads by word of mouth. One agent may represent the seller, one the listing agent, another may be the one who made you aware of the land, etc. It is easy to understand that there can be a number of middlemen between you and the actual landowner. Everyone in the chain wants a sizeable commission. The result of the intermediary agents or middlemen is that the price you pay can be about double the price of the land originally offered by the landowner. It is important to be or work with a skilled and knowledgable negotiator to keep the middlemen commissions to a minimum.
6.2 Real Estate Offices
You can easily find Real Estate Offices around Kuta Lombok and in other developed areas on Lombok. You will be offered a range of services needed (or not needed) during the property purchase process. As a consequence of the large overhead these companies have, the total price is always much higher. Agents working in Real Estate Offices are overrepresented in scams and dishonesty in general. Be extra careful here!
6.2.1 Potential Pitfalls
Don’t be impressed by fancy office or high search engine rankings. Both good and bad Lombok property companies can make a profit from selling Lombok property. Dishonest companies can make obscene profits and will buy anything needed to impress you.
Buying Lombok land for sale from real estate companies is not the way to buy property at a bargain price. Bargain properties do not remain on the market for long. This can create problems for a real estate company who wants to keep a full portfolio of property in the office. In Lombok, first owners do not generally list their Lombok land for sale with a company. Instead, land finders make an occupation out of finding land that the real estate company can sell. These land finders have contracts with people in each small village and information about land for sale will be passed up the chain. The middlemen makes it impossible for a real estate company to offer the lowest price on land.
The real estate agents know that the process of buying Lombok land can appear complex and they will often offer a basket of services. This may include finding you a nominee, lawyer and Notaris. The more services, the higher their fee. Real estate companies often try to distance you from the daily decision making process, which is dangerous to you since you cannot control the property agent once the process has begun.
To be fair to any honest agent, he or she probably believes that the best way of completing the sale quickly is to not burdening you with the details. This is where you should say to your agent: “You are using my money and making decisions that will cost me money. If we are going to work together, you can sit down with me for a few hours now and then and tell me exactly what you are doing in a language that I can understand.”
Your partner or nominee should if possible, negotiate directly with the owner of the land and perform his or her own due diligence.
6.2.1 Potential Benefits
Real estate companies can offer the most comprehensive listings of Lombok land for sale. They have a lot of experience and knowledge. They also aim at being fast and convenient, while speaking your language. If you are able to negotiate the price and avoiding pitfalls, the average foreigner will find this is the most convenient way to purchase Lombok property for sale.
6.3 Real Estate Web Sites
All Real Estate Offices have their own web site, which is a way of finding new customers. There is also property web sites not affiliated with an office. This web site is such a web site. This web site has a very low overhead on the sales price since the actual property owner is doing the property listing work and no other middlemen are involved.
6.3.1 Potential Pitfalls
The web site might hold a huge array of Lombok land for sale to only attract your attention and finding new customers. When you show interest for a particular object, it might not be for sale anymore or it was just sold. Same potential pitfalls as with a real estate company when there is a real estate company office behind the web site.
6.3.2 Potential Benefits
This web site aims at enabling listing of Lombok land for sale by the actual investors or owners of the land, which reduces the middlemen effect on the price. This makes it possible to find land conveniently to the price offered by the investor or owner of the land.
6.4 Local Guides
Tour and surf guides who frequently hang out around restaurants and hotels are usually familiar with local property for sale.
6.4.1 Potential Pitfalls
Be aware of the way Lombok people approach business. They have lived on this small island for many generations and large segments of the local population can be traced back to a single, distant relative. As a consequence, the Sasak people are careful about maintaining at least an outwardly friendly relationship with other members of their community. You will be regarded as a committed client of one person at the moment that you start talking seriously with that person. Once this happens, it becomes very difficult to find another local person to work with you. One Sasak person will not infringe upon another Sasak persons client.
Understand this and remember to keep any real estate conversation that you might have in a restaurant or hotel very casual. It is acceptable to listen to someone talking about land and casually write down a name and telephone number. If you feel the pressure to take a look now or tomorrow, then excuses such as “I don’t have money to buy now” or “I am not serious right now” will allow you a graceful exit.
Informal conversations should not be avoided, they are still an important part of the process of getting to know people and finding a partner or nominee. Try to meet as many local people as possible by moving from one restaurant to another. Listen in to gossip and ask casual questions about peoples background, level of education, age etc. Remember to avoid long conversations about buying land until you are serious about working with the local person you are having the conversation with.
6.4.2 Potential Benefits
One major benefit of using a local guide to find your land is to reduce the number of middlemen between you and the owner. The local guide often will have first hand information about land for sale in his village or villages where he or she is well known to quickly find buyers of land. Many times the owner urgently needs money to fund a marriage ceremony, university tuition fees or police school tuition. It is usually most important for the owner to quickly finish the transaction and this is also when you will be able to buy at a bargain price. The local guide often spend a lot of time with friends around town and is able to accumulate a lot of information about the local area, including who has land for sale.
This might seem like a contradiction to above, but another benefit of using a local guide is the option of controlling the pace of activities to better suit your level of comfort. You may wish to look at land which have been on the market for a while to get a feel for the area. You may wish to delay your search and put the whole process on hold. This is easier to do with a guide than it is with a real estate company.
The longer you stay on Lombok, the more time you can wait until a parcel of land comes on the market at a bargain price. Like mentioned previously, landowners may need to sell land quickly to pay for a wedding ceremony, tuition or even an elder parent’s desire to travel to Mecca. When a bargain priced piece of land comes on the market, the local guide will notify you about the opportunity and show you the land. If the Lombok land for sale meets your approval, you must be prepared to act quickly. The owner needs money fast and will sell the land to the first person who is able to pay him a substantial portion of the selling price. This means that you need to have selected your team (nominee and someone to perform due diligence) and have money readily available to pay for the land quickly.
When you let other people know that you are looking to buy land, the gossip will attract local residents who wish to sell their land.
We would like to share a testimony of what one foreigner experienced when buying land. The example illustrates that there is more than one way to buy Lombok land for sale. It also demonstrates the importance of being in control of the process.
“My husband is Indonesian and when we arrived in Lombok we were warned by friends NOT to buy in Kuta because of the problems with ‘dodgy’ certificates, however we thought we would still spend some time there and see for ourselves.
After about 2-3 weeks of speaking to as many locals as possible and looking at dozens of plots of land we finally felt confident enough to buy. We did not use any agents or third parties in the end, we were lucky to deal directly with the seller.
My husband was very careful not to make any promises to the people we dealt with along the way as we did not want to offend anyone and we got the best information from just spending time with the people and chatting honestly about what we were hoping to achieve, word of mouth travels fast!
By the end we were the ones being approached by people trying to sell!”
Expats who live in the area and have gone through the property purchase process often know about land for sale.
6.7 Road Signs
You will see hundreds of For Sale signs while driving around in Lombok, but some signs may be quite old and out of date. This is a risky way to buy land if you do not have a team of people already selected who can do the due diligence research.
Advertising in local newspapers and Lombok guides is common for Real Estate companies and for development projects such as for example Kuta Heights, Tanjung Ocean View and Lobster Bay. Classified ads are more popular in the Senggigi area where land owned by foreigners is up for sale.
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