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Sri Lanka real estate agents

Advice Buying Properties For Sale Sri Lanka Real Estate Property Buyers Guide

You've found a Sri Lanka property what next?

Sri Lanka Sri Lanka Property Buyer's Guide explains the legal fees, legal procedures, purchase taxes and mortgage procedure.

Below are some brief points in purchasing property in Sri Lanka.


Assuming that you have found a property that you wish to purchase?

The first step is to make an offer to the owner, usually via your agent or request the agent to negotiate on your behalf.

If you are now agreed on a purchase price?

The next step is to instruct a Lawyer to obtain a copy of the Deed and plan of the property, He / she will check with the land registry to ensure that the person selling the property is in fact the legal owner and has the right to sell, the Lawyer will also check to make certain that there are no encumbrances on the property, such as a mortgage or loans secured upon it as well as to ensure that there are no lease agreements in force on the land or house.

If all is well, then the purchaser would normally be required to pay a deposit of about 10% of the agreed price to secure.

The Lawyer would then draw up a contract and transfer documents, this can be as quick as 4/5 days if there is only one registered owner, although the purchaser is at liberty to set a date for completion which can be 3 or 4 months later, or as agreed between the owner and purchaser, at which time the balance of the purchase price would be payable, the terms and length of this are negotiable initially. Once the transfer Deed is signed and witnessed by both parties and all money paid, ownership is transferred to the purchaser.


If you are considering buying a home or land in Sri Lanka, then you are able to remain for a total of 6 months in any 12 month period on a Tourist Visa. When arriving you will receive a 30 day Visa stamp in your passport, free of charge.

After which you can obtain a Visa extension, initially for 2 months, then can be extended for a further 3 months.Can be for any number of visits as long as the total does not exceed 6 months in any 1 year.

Visa extensions are obtained from the Department of Immigration in Colombo. Normally you must apply in person at the offices and complete a simple application form and obtain an extension Visa stamp in your passport, for this there is a charge which varies depending on which country you are normally residing, on average around Rs. 5,000 or US$50 for the 1st.3 month period, but the cost is generally higher for an additional 3 month period.

If you wish to remain in Sri Lanka as a resident, then you will need to apply for and obtain a Residents Visa which then entitles the holder to live or work or start a business.

There are several options available for obtaining a Residents Visa

1, Any foreigner marrying a Sri Lankan citizen, male or female is able to apply for resident status on production of a marriage certificate. Usually issued for a period of 6 months initially, then usually 2 years, thereafter every 5 years.

2, Any foreigner wishing to retire in Sri Lanka must show that they have the means to support themselves and their immediate family, This can be in the form of a lump sum ( around US$250,000) or proof that you are receiving an adequate income from overseas and usually investing in a property.

3, If you are working under contract for a Sri Lankan or foreign owned company, then the company will arrange for a Residents Visa for you.

4, Should you wish to start a business in Sri Lanka, then you must first present your ideas to the Board of Investment for approval, a minimum investment of US$250,000 per person or per married couple is required. If approved by the B.O.I they will issue a recommendation letter to the Immigration Department requesting the issue of a Residents Visa. A Visa obtained in this way is issued for a period of 1 year at a current cost of Rs. 20,000 approx. ( US$190) per year)


Usually, Lawyers in Sri lanka make a charge of anything from 1% to 3% of the total purchase price as their fee for the searches and transfer of deed documents etc.


The only other consideration when buying a property is "Stamp Duty" payable on transfer of ownership.

Stamp duty is currently payable on the total purchase price, calculated @ 3% on the first Rs. 100,000 (US$ 1,000) and charged at 4% on the remainder. This government tax is not a tax on foreigners, it applies in all cases of property transfer for foreigners and locals alike.


Every house has to pay a service tax to the local authority, this depends on the value of the property and can be as little as Rs. 150. The average house pays around between Rs. 400 and Rs. 5,000 per year. ( US$ 4 - 50 per year) When considering buying a property, you must ensure that all previous bills are paid and request proof of this from owner.

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These guidelines are meant for guidance only and describe straightforward purchase scenarios. However this information is not meant to replace proper legal advice, which we always insist you take.

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