Avoid Pitfalls When Buying Residential Stands in Urban Areas

Admin December 13, 2021

Many people, especially first time buyers fall prey every year to scammers, bogus agents and illegitimate sales of stands in Zimbabwe and resultantly we have seen several demolitions and repossessions in recent years. Zimbabwe has a huge national housing backlog estimated to be above 1,25 million housing units.

The country has witnessed a slump in house delivery by the public sector over the years.

Private developers have moved in to close the gap by buying huge tracts of land and parcelling them out as residential stands. Subdivision of originally bigger stands within the cities is also growing as private developers try to cover the gap.

People now have an option to buy stands from private developers and build their own houses, which has given rise to reports of land scams involving bogus estate agents and land barons.

It is therefore in your best interest to verify the authenticity of the stands before you proceed to make a commitment to buy.

Estate agents or lawyers (make it a point to verify registration with respective regulatory bodies) can assist you in verifying relevant documents produced by the seller before the property is even on the market. They also verify with relevant authorities such as Local Authorities, Registrar of Deeds, Surveyor-General, etc.

It is important to confirm with your agent or legal advisor that the following documents are available as proof of ownership before proceeding to conclude a sale:

- Title deed in case of private ownership.

- Valid offer/allocation letter and agreement of sale between government or council and the seller (in the name of the seller) in case of State or council land.

- Approved subdivision permit (issued by the relevant authority) in case of subdivided private land.

- Approved layout plans in case of State or council land

- Approved survey diagram from the Surveyor-General in all cases.

- Approved engineering designs for water, sewer and roads which would have been approved by the council's engineering department.

- Approved infrastructure successfully implemented and approved on site in the form of water, sewer and roads signed for by council.

- Certificate of compliance- issued by council, certifying that stages 1- 5 above have been done to council’s satisfaction. 

Raising the money to buy a residential stand is not so easy for an average Zimbabwean. It might take several years saving money and losing all of this investment to scammers can be heartbreaking. Make sure you do everything right from the start, engage legal advisors or estate agents to assist you in verifying the documentation before you conclude the deal for your safety.


Share this article

More Articles