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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Buying a house in Indonesia - 1. finding the right place

Yes we're finally buying a house. Not the Dream House on the Sumatran island beach, not yet. After almost two years of marriage the days of renting are soon to be behind us and, following a suggestion from a friend, I thought I'd use this blog to share the progression (or regression) that we experience from day 1.

Instead of beginning at Day 1, the story actually began about 8 months or so ago. The yearly rental on our current place was going to be up in August and we started contemplating buying something in Gading Serpong, the area where I teach. The main problem with this idea was that there was nothing within our price range that also met our criteria for the house, so with that in mind I guess what we were looking for is where we should begin.

Ideally we wanted a 2 floor house with 3+1 bedrooms and 3+1 bathrooms and for this we wanted to spend about 80,000 sterling pounds or Rp 1.5 billion!

  • The plus 1's are maid accommodation and maid bathroom and are pretty normal in houses here in Indonesia where many families have live-in maids. Whilst not yet being a 'family', should we wish to sell the house in the future it would be necessary to include.
  • 80,000/1,500,000,000 is a realistic figure for this size of a house. In some areas we could get a lot more for that sort of money.
  • In Indonesia you are basically paying for the land and the popularity of the area in which that land is situated, so pretty much like everywhere else really.
  • Foreigners are not allowed to own land. 
  • This means that everything needs to be done in Yohana's name or if you were in a situation where you're unmarried you could split the ownership around random Indonesian nationals. 
  • Deposits are usually 30% of the purchase price, plus initial fees for administration and bank charges.
 Saying all of that, our initial inquiries had shown us that the price range was always going to be iffy in the area in which we currently live. It's not just the fact that it is an up-and-coming area, rather it is one of the places to live outside of the city and one which has seen house prices more than double in two years, so we knew our work was going to be cut out for us. Knowing this, we had already started looking into other nearby areas such as Karawaci, Alam Sutera, BSD and Tangerang.

the greater Karawaci area


Needless to say after 8 months we were no closer to finding anything. We did consider a 'compact' house but once we saw a builders mock-up of a couple of rooms we both agreed it would have to be a bloody small cat that got swung around in it.

All of this until last week when a chance viewing of a website announced a new development about to be built in Karawaci. Not only was the price within our budget, Rp 866,000,000, the deposit was only 20% meaning that we had enough cash in the bank to do this.

the development brochure


You know those moments? The ones where you experience, feelings. Maybe the raising of the neck hairs when you sense trouble or, maybe for no apparent reason, a warm feeling of good fortune. Armed with the latter, and with only a small photo of an artists impression, we headed for Karawaci and the Binong 1 Residence development.

the design we chose


We knew we were going to have to make some compromises. There were 3 bedrooms but only two bathrooms, obviously a small price to pay. And there was no additional +1's for the maid. However there was extra room at the back of the property if we wanted to develop or add anything later. Finally, the big difference between this and another that was on display was that the kitchen was inside the house. As weird as that may seem, a significant number of properties situate the kitchen outside!

I'll leave this first post with some pictures of the model we saw and the land on which our house is about to be built

the eventual development