If this is the first time that you have bought a property in Morocco, or even abroad, you may be confused about the process involved and want to make sure you are not caught out with any unexpected surprises during the purchase process.
This guide is intended to help you understand a little more about the process of buying in Morocco and give you more confidence about what is expected of you and what you need to do to effectively manage the purchase.
We’ve also put together a guide to useful terms to know when buying property in Morocco, including both the Moroccan terms and their English translations. You may also want to take a look at our Buying Property in Morocco Checklist.
Our aim is to offer some basic information about buying in Morocco and to try to answer the most common questions we are asked. While we hope you find this guide useful, it is important to understand that it doesn’t cover all of legal issues you will need to deal with and certainly isn’t a step-by-step DIY guide to buying in Morocco.
We therefore strongly recommended that you seek advice from a professional with specific experience of buying property in Morocco before proceeding. After all, we do this every day and have been doing so for many years, so our team know all the tricks and pitfalls that you may come across.
We also know the practical solutions to the problems that exist and understand how Moroccan law interacts with UK law, so can help to ensure you meet all of the strict requirements of both countries’ laws.
For specific advice on buying Moroccan property tailored to your needs, please get in touch with our friendly, expert Moroccan property lawyers based in the UK.
Buying property in Morocco FAQs
Is the legal system in Morocco the same as the UK?
No, they are very different, but there is an interaction between them when you buy a property in Morocco. That is why the best person to advise you on your purchase in Morocco is somebody who understands both Moroccan and UK law.
Do I need a lawyer to help me buy in Morocco?
Surprisingly this is the most common question that we get asked. No, you don’t – just like you don’t necessarily need a lawyer when buying in the UK. However, in reality you would always use a lawyer when buying in the UK so what is so different about buying in another country where you probably don’t have experience of buying before?
For more information, please take a look at our guide to how to choose a lawyer when buying property abroad.
I have been told that I don’t need a lawyer but need a Notary. Is this true?
The Notary is important in Morocco and his involvement is required by the law. His role is to carry out some basic checks before the transaction, attend to the signature of the title deed and register the property on the name of the purchaser. His role is crucial for the success of the real estate investment in Morocco.
I have heard there are problems with buying property in Morocco. Is that true?
While there are potential problems when buying in Morocco, just like there can be in any country including the UK. Most of the potential problems that you read about can be avoided by using common sense and by instructing an independent lawyer to advise you on the purchase.
We often see people with problems with their property and they invariably tell us that they didn’t use a lawyer or used the lawyer given to them by the seller or estate agent.
Are the costs of buying property more in Morocco than in the UK?
Yes, the total cost of buying in Morocco is typically a lot higher than in the UK.
As a rough rule of thumb, you should budget for something in the region of 6% and 7% of the value of the property. This should cover all legal fees, Notary fees, taxes and so on.
If you are taking out a mortgage the cost will be slightly higher as there are normally bank costs in addition (between 1% and 1,5%).
You will also need to consider the impact of currency exchange rates on the overall cost of buying a property in Morocco.
To find our more, please take a look at our guide to the costs of buying property in Morocco.
You will also need to consider the ongoing costs of owning Moroccan property.
Can you get a mortgage to buy property in Morocco?
There are two ways of financing your purchase in Morocco through a mortgage.
The first is to release equity from your UK assets to buy the property in Morocco. The second is to mortgage the property in Morocco.
Each has advantages and disadvantages but getting it wrong can cost you dearly so take advice on this.
Our recommended international mortgage broker is Simon Conn – overseas mortgage broker – who will be able to assist you with this aspect of your purchase in Morocco.
For more information, please take a look at our guide to mortgages on foreign properties.
Do you need a survey when buying a Moroccan property?
We always recommend having a survey when buying a property anywhere and buying in Morocco is no different.
Mortgage companies will provide a report on the property as part of their valuation, however, this will only look at whether the property is worth the amount you have negotiated. Any defects in the property which do not affect the value will not normally be shown on the report.
A proper building survey will rate the condition of all permanent structures and will highlight any important problems that could affect the property value. Depending on the survey this may also give advice as to future maintenance.
Having a survey carried out should reduce the chance of discovering any nasty surprises with the condition of the property once the purchase is complete. Any defects identified in the survey can help you negotiate a lower price or to have the seller carry out any required works before the purchase goes ahead.
The survey may also reveal that certain works have been carried out or highlight rights that are necessary for the property which we can investigate before the property is purchased.
Should you use a Power of Attorney to buy property in Morocco?
A Power of Attorney is a document that can be used to give someone else the legal authority to carry out certain actions, such as buying or selling property or signing title deeds on your behalf.
While Powers of Attorney can be useful for buying property in some countries, they should only be given to somebody that you can fully trust. Therefore, unless you happen to know somebody in Morocco very well, we strongly recommend that you handle the transaction in person and you do not mandate a third party to sign any transaction documentation on your behalf.
If you wish, we can act for you under a Power of Attorney and carry out actions such as signing the Title Deed on your behalf using that Power.
For more information, please take a look at our guide to using Powers of Attorney.
Who should own the property?
This is probably one of the most important decisions that you can make. Getting this right can save you thousands in costs and taxes. Getting it wrong can be an expensive mistake.
There are many options – ranging from personal ownership to company ownership but there is no “one size fits all” solution that works for everybody. We can advise you on choosing the best option to match your circumstances and priorities, including taking into consideration both Moroccan and UK tax and your plans for the property in the future.
For more information, please read our guide to company ownership of foreign properties.
Who do you need to inform when you buy a property in Morocco?
There are various organisations, companies and official bodies you will need contact when you buy a Moroccan home, including:
- Residents Association (Syndic des Corpropriétaires)
- Water and Electricity
- Land Registry (Conservation foncière)
- Tax department
To find our more, take a look at who to tell when you move into a property in Morocco.
Do I need to make a Moroccan Will when I own property in Morocco?
Moroccan inheritance laws are probably very different to those that you are used to in your home country. The inheritance rules will be different. The tax rates will be different. The way in which an inheritance is carried out will be different.
However, inheritance laws applying in your home country will apply to your case, even if the real estate is located in Morocco.
It therefore makes sense to make a new Will dealing with your assets in Morocco to make sure that not only do things work as smoothly as possible but also that the inheritance is carried out in the most tax effective way.
Confused? Take a look at our guide to foreign Wills.
What is included in our services for buying property in Morocco
We always work on a fixed fee basis so you are able to budget effectively for your purchase from the outset. If your purchase raises substantial or unexpected problems which need to be resolved and require additional work, there may be additional charges. We would inform you before incurring this cost. However, our experience of Moroccan property enables us to anticipate most issues so that we can deal with many unexpected problems without any additional charge.
Our services include;
- Legal advice on the terms of your offer to purchase
- Searches at the Town Hall
- Obtaining certificate from the Community of Owners (if appropriate)
- Checking the legal status of the property and the seller’s right to sell
- If appropriate checking the guarantee provided by the vendor
- Preparing a report on our searches and advising you on the purchase
- Arranging the signature of the title deed
- Arranging payment of the relevant taxes
- Arranging registration of the property at the Land Registry
- General hand holding and advice throughout the transaction
Why use Judicare for buying property in Morocco?
Experienced Moroccan lawyers
We have an experienced Moroccan legal team comprising Moroccan lawyers and English lawyers who have studied Moroccan law.
We are UK-regulated solicitors
We are a UK based firm of Solicitors regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and who specialise in international legal issues.
We understand both UK and Moroccan law
Because we understand both sets of laws, we understand the difficulties that come when Moroccan and UK laws meet. This is particularly important when it comes to issues involving ownership, taxation and inheritance.
We are members of AIPP
The Association of International Property Professionals was set up to improve standards of professionalism in a largely unregulated overseas property market.
Our Moroccan team has many years of experience dealing with a whole range of legal issues with Morocco.
We speak your language
You need a lawyer who can speak your own language. More importantly you need somebody who can explain and discuss often complicated issues in terms that you understand.
We are independent. We are not allowed to act for the buyer and the seller at the same time. We are not linked with any Development Companies, Builders or Estate Agents.
Need help buying property in Morocco?
Our UK-based team of property lawyers are highly experienced in helping clients to buy and sell property in Morocco, as well as handling a whole range of related issues, such as advice on Wills and inheritance.
With a thorough understanding of both UK and Moroccan law, we can provide clear, reliable legal guidance in plain English, giving you the confidence to deal effectively with property in Morocco.