Land in Freetown can be purchased on a freehold basis by Sierra Leonean nationals. Non-Sierra Leoneans can inherit property but cannot purchase it. Legal title for property (especially land) in the Western Area (Freetown) can be hotly disputed, so you have to take utmost care and be very detailed when undertaking your due diligence. There is no Title Register in existence, only a Document Register.
The land tenure system in the provinces is more complex and you will probably need a legal person to explain the full technicalities around ownership. Suffice to say that the majority of land in the provinces is vested in the Chief for the benefit of the community. For non-natives (i.e. no ties to that area) property can only be acquired on a leasehold basis.
When purchasing property in Sierra Leone, majority of the costs are incurred by the buyer please also factor in the following costs:
- Legal Fees – 10% of the purchase price, this generally includes drafting of the conveyance, requisition of title and due diligence in relation to the title.
- Agency Fees – 2% to 10%, this is often negotiable depending on the set of circumstances.
- Capital Gains Tax – Rate is currently 30% of the gain made on sales less allowable deductions. This is the liability of the vendor but it is not unusual for the vendor to negotiate payment of this tax by the purchaser.
- Stamp Duty land tax based on the area of property being purchased
Most valuations is done on an informal manner and with it being a seller’s market, landlords normally just state their price. However, professional valuations can be done and we can help you facilitate this.
There are mortgage plans available through Home Finance Company (HFC) but the majority of purchases are mainly financed from regular bank loans or in cash, not spread over time.