By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.
April 5, 2024
Real Estate Tips & Insights

Can Foreigners Buy Property in Indonesia?

If you’re dreaming of planting roots in the tropical paradise of Bali but find yourself wondering, "Can foreigners buy property in Bali?" 

You’re not alone. 

The charm of Bali's beautiful landscapes, vibrant culture, and warm climate draws many foreigners to purchase property on the island. 

However, navigating the complexities of Indonesian property law can be tricky. 

This guide aims to simplify the process, offering clear, actionable advice on how to buy property in Bali, breaking down the legal framework and detailing the paperwork needed to turn your dream of a Bali home into a reality. 

Let's dive into the facts and make your vision of owning property in Bali come to life. 

Can Foreigners Own Property in Indonesia?

The short answer is no, a foreigner cannot own land outright in Indonesia. However, they can hold long-term leases on properties through the "Hak Pakai" (Right to Use) title, allowing them to use and/or build on the land for extended periods.

The "Hak Pakai" title is part of Indonesia's property law, allowing Indonesians and foreigners to use or build on land for a certain time under specific rules. 

Originally, only Indonesian citizens could own land, to protect national interests. However, in the late 1990s, Indonesia changed its laws to attract foreign real estate investment, letting foreigners own buildings, but not the land itself. 

Further updates in 2010 and 2015 made it easier for foreigners to obtain longer leases for buildings and land. By 2020, the rules allowed foreigners 30-year leases with the possibility to extend for another 20 years. 

The "Hak Pakai" title remains the benchmark of the legal evolution, enabling extended leases for foreigners on both land and properties. This legal adaptation has opened doors for international investors and people wanting to own a piece of property in Bali. 

For those looking to explore the possibilities of owning a villa in Bali, Exotiq Property offers a selection of properties compliant with the laws, providing a gateway for foreigners to invest in Indonesian real estate.

Paperwork Needed For Real Estate Transactions in Indonesia

Being prepared with the right paperwork for any real estate transactions in Indonesia is crucial for a smooth property purchase process. 

Below is an overview of the documentation you may need.

Property Title Background Check

A property title background check is needed to ensure the property you intend to purchase is free from disputes or legal limitations. 

This process involves a detailed examination of the property's history, verifying its current ownership status, and ensuring there are no outstanding legal issues or claims against the property. 

It's an important step in the buying process, as it helps avoid potential future legal complications. The background check can tell if the property has been properly registered, if there are any liens or mortgages against it, and if all property taxes have been paid. 

Having a clean title will ensure a smooth transfer of ownership.

Buyer Information

For a successful real estate transaction in Indonesia, buyers, especially foreigners, need to prepare and present specific documents that verify their identity, financial capability, and legal status in the country.

  • Valid Passport: As the most basic form of identification, a valid passport is essential for identification, especially for foreign buyers. The passport is used to verify if the buyer meets the legal requirements for engaging in property transactions in Indonesia.
  • Proof of Income/Financial Stability: Buyers must provide evidence of their financial stability or income, such as bank statements, salary slips, or tax returns. This documentation is necessary to show the buyer's capability to fulfil the financial commitments associated with purchasing property, ensuring they can afford the investment and associated costs.
  • KITAS (Temporary Residence Permit): For foreigners residing in Indonesia, a KITAS (Kartu Izin Tinggal Terbatas) is mandatory to legally take part in property transactions. This temporary residence permit confirms the buyer's legal status in Indonesia, allowing them to proceed with property purchases under the regulations that apply to foreign residents.
  • Nominee Agreements: In cases where foreigners use nominee agreements to navigate property ownership restrictions, these agreements must be disclosed. A nominee agreement involves an Indonesian citizen holding the property on behalf of the foreign buyer, effectively managing the legal limitations on direct foreign ownership. 

While this can provide a solution to ownership restrictions, it's important to understand the legal implications and ensure the agreement is structured to protect the interests of the foreign buyer.

Seller Information

When engaging in property transactions in Indonesia, sellers are required to present paperwork to ensure the process is transparent and adheres to legal standards.

  • Valid Identification (KTP for Indonesians): Indonesian sellers must present a  Kartu Tanda Penduduk (KTP) as it serves as their primary means of identification. For foreign sellers, a passport or KITAS/KITAP may be required. 
  • Property Ownership Documents: These documents are vital as they confirm the seller's legal ownership of the property and their right to sell it. They include the original title deed or certificate of ownership, which should be clear of any disputes or issues that could affect the sale.
  • Proof of Tax Payment: Sellers must provide evidence that all property-related taxes have been paid up to date. This includes the annual land and building tax (PBB) receipts. Making sure that the taxes are paid is critical for the legality of the sale and for transferring ownership without encumbrances.
  • No Encumbrance Certificate: Also known as a "letter of freedom from encumbrances," this certificate indicates that the property is free from any mortgages, liens, or legal claims. It's an important document that assures buyers that the property they are purchasing does not have any outstanding debts or legal issues attached to it.

Agreement for Sale and Purchase

The agreement for sale and purchase is a legally binding document that outlines the terms and conditions of the real estate transaction. It includes the agreed-upon price, payment schedule, and the obligations of both the buyer and seller. 

This agreement ensures that both parties have a clear understanding of their responsibilities and the transaction's details. It is used to guide the process and provides legal protection for both parties involved. 

The agreement should be carefully reviewed by legal counsel before signing to confirm that all terms are understood and acceptable.

Proof of Property Ownership

Proof of property ownership is a key part of the real estate transaction process. This includes the original land title certificate, which verifies the seller's ownership of the property, and a letter of property sale, which formally documents the intent to sell the property to the buyer. 

These documents are necessary for the legal transfer of ownership and must be presented at the time of the transaction. It is important to clarify that the documents are accurate and up-to-date for a smooth and legally compliant transfer of property.

Transfer of Title

The transfer of title is the final step in the real estate transaction process, officially moving ownership from the seller to the buyer. This process is typically conducted at the local land office and involves submitting the necessary documentation, including the agreement for sale and purchase and proof of property ownership. 

The transfer of title is a formal procedure that legalizes the change of ownership and updates the property's official records to reflect the new owner.

Mortgagor Protection

Mortgagor protection is an optional but recommended step in the real estate transaction process. It involves securing insurance or legal arrangements to protect the buyer's investment in the property. 

This can include title insurance, which protects against potential legal issues with the property's title, or mortgage insurance, which protects the lender in case the buyer defaults on the loan. 

While not mandatory, mortgagor protection provides an additional layer of security for both the buyer and the lender, ensuring that the investment is protected against unexpected complications.

Property Purchase Options for a Foreigner in Indonesia

Foreigners have several options for purchasing or leasing property in Indonesia, each with its own set of considerations.

Strata Title

Strata Title offers foreigners the opportunity to own apartment units in Indonesia, excluding the land. This option is appealing for residential use, providing a straightforward legal framework for ownership within multi-unit buildings. 

The advantages of this agreement include:

  • The ability to own property directly 
  • Access to shared amenities 
  • A relatively simple purchase process. 

The disadvantages of this agreement include:

  • Restrictions on land ownership
  • Potential limitations on the use of shared facilities. 

Another option for foreigners is the "Right to Use" (Hak Pakai) title, which allows leasing land for up to 80 years, offering a longer-term solution without direct ownership.

For those looking for an apartment in Bali, take a look at our wide variety of options available. 

Convertible Lease Agreement

A Convertible Lease Agreement provides a long-term lease with the potential to convert to a different title if Indonesian property laws change, offering a layer of future security. 

The Pros include:

  • flexibility in terms of adapting to legal changes, providing a sense of ownership continuity. 

The Cons are: 

  • The uncertainty regarding future law amendments and the potential complexity of converting the lease. 

An alternative is the "Right to Build" (Hak Guna Bangunan) title, allowing foreigners to construct buildings on leased land, suitable for those looking to develop property.

Foreign Company Land Purchase

Foreigners can own land in Indonesia by establishing or investing in a company that is based in the country. This route is often used for commercial investments in Bali and development projects. 

The benefits include:

  • The ability to control larger plots of land.
  • The potential for commercial development. 

The drawbacks include: 

  • The complexities of setting up and maintaining a company in Indonesia, including compliance with local laws and regulations. 

Another pathway is through a long-term lease directly with a landowner, offering a straightforward but temporary solution to land access without the responsibilities of corporate ownership.


Leasehold agreements in Indonesia allow foreigners to use a property for a set period, typically 25 to 30 years, with the possibility of extension. 

The advantages of this arrangement include:

  • More affordable upfront costs compared to outright purchasing, making it an attractive option for those unable to buy property directly due to legal restrictions. 
  • The process is also less legally complex, offering a straightforward path to residing in or using Indonesian property. 

The disadvantages of this agreement include:

  • The inherently temporary nature of leaseholds means that the property must eventually be returned to the owner, and there's no equity accumulation. 
  • The lease rates may significantly increase upon renewal, making long-term financial planning challenging.

Take a look at the variety of land for sale in Bali under Leasehold agreements. 

Nominee System

The nominee system is a workaround some foreigners use to navigate property ownership restrictions in Indonesia. In this setup, an Indonesian citizen is legally listed as the property owner on behalf of the foreign buyer. 

The Pros include:  

  • The ability to access and enjoy properties in areas or types otherwise off-limits to foreign ownership, providing more flexibility in property choice and location. 

The Cons include: 

  • Substantial legal and financial risks. Since the property is in the nominee's name, the foreign investor has limited legal protection if disputes arise. This reliance on personal trust can lead to complications in property rights and security.

Pre-Sales Property

Investing in pre-sales property means purchasing units before or during their construction phase. 

The benefits for this option include: 

  • The potential for lower purchase prices compared to buying completed properties, as developers often offer pre-sale discounts to fund construction. 
  • Buyers may also have the opportunity to customize aspects of their property to personal preferences. 

The drawbacks include: 

  • The risks of construction delays or developer bankruptcy can lead to financial loss or never receiving the property. 
  • The risk of the final product not meeting the expected quality or specifications leaves buyers with limited recourse.

For anyone interested in exploring hotel and resort investment opportunities in Bali, Exotiq Property offers a wide selection, opening the door to foreigners looking to invest in this sector.

Hak Milik (Right of Ownership)

"Hak Milik" is the strongest form of land ownership in Indonesia, exclusively available to Indonesian citizens. It grants the holder full rights over the land, including the freedom to sell, lease, or mortgage the property. 

Unlike the "Hak Pakai" (Right to Use) available to foreigners, which is more of a long-term lease, "Hak Milik" offers permanent ownership rights without any time restrictions. 

This title ensures the highest level of security and control over the property, making it highly sought after.

Foreign investors, facing these restrictions have developed strategies to participate in this specific real estate market. 

One common approach is through long-term leases, typically under the "Hak Pakai" (Right to Use) title, which can last up to 80 years with renewals. This method allows foreigners to effectively control and benefit from a property for long periods, making it a practical alternative to outright ownership.

Another strategy involves investing in Indonesian real estate through legal entities, such as a PT PMA (Foreign Investment Company). This route allows foreign investors to engage in broader commercial activities, including property ownership, under the company's name. 

While this method needs an understanding of Indonesia's corporate laws and involves more complex setup and maintenance processes, it offers a path to owning land indirectly and engaging in larger development projects. 

These approaches enable foreign investors to avoid direct ownership restrictions while still leveraging the opportunities within Indonesia's property market.

Important Considerations For Foreigners Purchasing Properties in Indonesia

Before purchasing property in Indonesia, foreigners should consider legal restrictions, cultural norms, and the economic climate.

Legal Restrictions

Foreigners looking to purchase property in Indonesia need to ensure they are aware of the complex set of legal restrictions in place. The most noteworthy limitation is the prohibition of direct land ownership. 

Foreigners can acquire property through leasehold agreements or the "Hak Pakai" (Right to Use) title, but these do not grant ownership in the same way as to Indonesian citizens. 

It's vital to understand these legal frameworks thoroughly to ensure compliance and secure your investment. Additionally, regulations can vary significantly between regions, necessitating local legal advice. Understanding these restrictions is key to avoiding legal issues and ensuring that your property rights are protected under Indonesian law.

Cultural Norms

Understanding and respecting Indonesian cultural norms is a must for foreigners purchasing property in the country. Indonesia's diverse culture can influence property transactions, from the negotiation process to the design and location of the property. 

For instance, certain areas may have cultural significance, limiting development or requiring specific construction practices. 

Engaging with the local community and showing respect for these norms can facilitate smoother transactions and integration into the community. 

It's also beneficial to have a local advisor or Bali real estate agent who can help you to understand these cultural nuances on your behalf, ensuring that your property purchase respects local traditions and values.

Economic Climate

The economic climate in Indonesia can impact property investment success. Factors such as inflation rates, currency stability, and economic growth can affect property values and the return on investment. 

Before purchasing, it's important to research the current economic conditions, including any government policies or economic trends that could influence the real estate market. 

A stable or growing economy can indicate a good time to invest, while economic uncertainty may suggest caution. 

Consulting with economic experts or real estate professionals who have a better understanding of the Indonesian market can provide valuable insights into making an informed decision.

Buying Property as a Foreign and Indonesian Couple

For foreign and Indonesian couples looking to purchase property, certain considerations come into play. Legally, the property can be purchased under the Indonesian partner's name, offering a way to ownership that might not be available to the foreign partner alone. 

However, this arrangement requires careful legal planning, especially regarding marriage laws and property rights. A prenuptial agreement is often recommended to outline the ownership and distribution of property should the marriage dissolve. 

Without this agreement, the property may be considered a joint marital asset, complicating ownership rights. 

Couples should consult with legal professionals to navigate these concerns, ensuring both partners' rights are protected.


Buying property in Bali as a foreigner is complex but achievable with the right preparation and understanding of Indonesian law. 

By carefully navigating the paperwork, understanding property purchase options, and considering all legal and cultural factors, foreigners can turn their dreams into reality and successfully invest in Bali's real estate market. 

Start your journey with Exotiq Property and find your ideal property in Bali, today!

get in touch
find your Indonesian jewel
Contact Us