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Expat Exchange - Buying a Home in Cambodia
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Siem Reap, Cambodia


Buying a Home in Cambodia

By Betsy Burlingame

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Summary: The one tip that you hear expats living in Cambodia repeatedly sharing with newcomers is not to buy a home when you first move to Cambodia. Rent for a few months or longer so that you have time to find the right neighborhood. Give yourself time to ensure that Cambodia is right for you for the long term. If you've already taken time to do those things and are ready to take the plunge and become a property owner, here are tips about buying a home in Cambodia.

Buying a home in Cambodia can be an exciting prospect for expats, offering the opportunity to immerse oneself in a rich and vibrant culture. However, the process can be complex and fraught with potential pitfalls. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the key considerations and steps involved in purchasing a property in Cambodia, from finding houses for sale to understanding the legal requirements and potential challenges.

How do I find houses for sale in Cambodia?

There are several ways to find houses for sale in Cambodia. Online property portals are a popular choice, offering a wide range of listings from across the country. Local newspapers and real estate agencies are also good sources of information. It's advisable to engage a reputable real estate agent who is familiar with the local market and can guide you through the process.

Are there restrictions on foreigners owning property in Cambodia?

Yes, there are restrictions on foreigners owning property in Cambodia. Foreigners are not allowed to own land or ground-floor properties. However, they can own properties from the first floor upwards, provided the total foreign ownership in a single building does not exceed 70%. One way to legally circumvent these restrictions is by setting up a land-holding company with a local partner.

Does Cambodia have an MLS type system?

No, Cambodia does not have a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system like in the United States. Property listings are typically managed by individual real estate agencies. Therefore, it's important to work with a reliable and well-connected agent to access a wide range of properties.

Do brokers have licenses and how do I know if they are licensed?

Yes, real estate brokers in Cambodia are required to have a license. You can verify a broker's license by asking to see it and checking with the Ministry of Economy and Finance, which issues these licenses. It's crucial to work with a licensed broker to ensure a smooth and legal transaction.

What documents are required when buying a home?

When buying a home in Cambodia, you will need a valid passport, a Sales and Purchase Agreement, and a property title deed. The Sales and Purchase Agreement should be in both Khmer and English and include details of the property, the agreed price, and the terms of payment. The property title deed is the most important document as it proves ownership of the property.

Do I need a lawyer when buying a home in Cambodia?

Yes, it's highly recommended to hire a lawyer when buying a home in Cambodia. A lawyer can help navigate the complex legal landscape, ensure all documents are in order, and protect your interests throughout the process. Legal fees can vary, but you should budget for around 1% of the property purchase price.

Do people typically buy a property with all cash or take out a mortgage?

Both options are common in Cambodia. While some buyers prefer to pay in cash, mortgages are becoming increasingly popular, especially among younger buyers. However, it's worth noting that interest rates can be high, and the process can be complex for foreigners.

Are there inspections that take place, and if so what is that process like?

Yes, property inspections are a crucial part of the buying process in Cambodia. These inspections typically involve checking the physical condition of the property, verifying the property title, and ensuring there are no outstanding debts or legal issues. It's advisable to hire a professional inspector to conduct this process.

What are some of the pitfalls to avoid when buying property in Cambodia?

Some common pitfalls to avoid include not thoroughly checking the property title, not conducting a proper property inspection, and not fully understanding the legal restrictions on foreign ownership. It's also important to be wary of unlicensed brokers and to ensure all agreements are clearly documented in writing.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


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