Bali Villas

Feb 6th, 2007, in Business & Economy, by

Advice for foreigners on buying villas and land in Bali.

Bali real estate and Bali homes for sale
Bali real estate and Bali homes for sale.

Bali is an increasingly popular place for the purchase of houses and homes by non-Indonesians but there are many pitfalls and dangers.

28 Comments on “Bali Villas”

  1. Junko says:

    Dear Mr. Tomalcum,

    I will go to Bali. Do you stay there? It is a paradise. I am planning to buy a small villa there which is run by a hotel group. What kind of risk will be possibily incurred?

  2. Tomaculum says:


    You want to buy domicile in Bali/Indonesia? I’m not sure if it is allowed for a foreigner. But maybe it is nowadays allowed, I’m not sure.

    In the past many foreigner bought a house or an apartment with the name of their Indonesian “friends”. I wouldn’t do it.

  3. Achmad Sudarsono says:


    No more stupid idiotic comments, I promise. Here’s some info just to make up for being such a d*ck:

    * In Bali there’s a well-developed infrastructure of legal services to help foreigners legally acquire land. There are a couple of different models around, but the main one is for a foreigner to ‘lend’ the money to a Balinese who ‘owns’ the property, but is in debt to the foreigner, who then acquires usage rights. Law firms and property developers often facilitate finding the local, sometimes even a semi-literate farmer. There’s a whole array of honesty and competence in the lawyers who do this, just as there is quality of carvings in Ubud’s main drag.

    * Property prices have gone up on average about 30 % a year since 2002, according to some property analysts in Jakarta. The prices are very closely linked to tourists arrivals at Ngurah Rai airport.

    Currently, however, it appears as though there’s a glut in the villa market, which is supported by buying from the Asia-wide expat community. Everyone wants a piece of paradise.

    * Finally, this is something that they won’t tell you: Bali could have serious water problems in the future. Just as Jakarta authorities haven’t regulated mall development helping to cause these floods, there’s almost no-long-term modern water management in Bali. There’s the ancient kind, webs of custom linking the island-wide Banjar communities. But a shock to the water supply could put stresses on those communities beyond that which 400 years of tourist arrivals never did.

    That could mean alot of pressure on luxury villas from local communities. Local hotels and villas already have to contribute to the Banjar, local community, in a variety of ways. But if there’s a future shock to water supplies the pressure could multiply into a nightmare version of the problems Junko has already complained about.


  4. Tomaculum says:

    A. Sudarsono,
    thanks for those informations.
    You appears as a well informed man, why don’t you share your knowledge with us?

  5. Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Mr. Tomalcum,

    OK. Other things to consider when buying in Bali:

    * The Balinese seem to have collectively accepted that it’s in their interests to have a prosperous community of foreigners and not to f-k with them too much. Of course there are many cases of individual conflicts over land, titles, use – that’s property everywhere. But the nasty, screw-over-the-foreigner mentality you see with some Jakarta landlords and joint venture partners seems less common in Bali.

    I’m sure readers would welcome any pitching-in from people who’ve had experiences to the contrary”¦

    * Buying property remains overall a bit-of-a-headache. There’s one famous story about an American woman who gave the builders a plan of a california-style design, with a whole wall of windows to face the cliff and the beach. When she came back in a year, they’d built it the wrong way around, facing the road with the walls to the beach ‘so the evil spirits couldn’t get in.’ Could be an urban myth.

    Point is, it’s probably smart to have a special reason, or inside knowledge, an Indonesian spouse or local knowledge to do it. People who’ve done it successfully seem to be:

    – long-time foreigners who know how to work the system and get out of trouble
    – foreigners with Indonesian partners
    – Foreigners who have another reason to be in Indonesia.

    Oh, and let’s not forget another danger: the CIA wiretapping the house. 🙂

  6. Tomaculum says:

    And I know (personally) the following case:
    a foreigner bought a house in a small beautiful village near a beautiful city in the name of a “good friend”.

    The house was beautifully renovated, everyone was happy. Happy?

    After some months in his own country, he decided to look after “his” house in Indonesia again (in that time he has had only 1-2 times contact with his “good friend”, which told him, that everything is ok).

    He arrived and hired a taxi. There he found out, that there is already an unknown family living there.

    After discussing emotionally, the head of the family showed him the legal and correct proof of the purchase. So the foreigner couldn’t do anything. He didn’t have any proof, that he owned that house (at that time foreigner wasn’t allowed to buy a domicile in Indonesia.

    And his “good friend”? Never seen again.

    Junko, be careful.

  7. Ihaknt says:

    Good point on the water Achmad. Actually water is a problem globally, but maybe particularly in Indo as there is always mismanagement. When my parents built our house, they had to dig so deep to get the water and that was around in 1993. So I can’t imagine how it would be in the next decade or so.

  8. 1ndra says:

    Try to look for housing near the lake or other water sources instead.

  9. Cukurungan says:

    Mr Junko,

    If you’re rich enough as a bill gate, it is not a bad idea to throw your money to our poor Indonesia.

    However, if you’re very serious and intend to purchase land there, I have a very close friend a, Balinese guy and he has several land ready for sale. I will give you his e-mail address if you want.

  10. Junko says:

    Dear Gentlemen,

    My plan is to buy a ready villa rather than a piece of land. Then, I will need a hotel network to take care my property. Also, what are the reasonable price you recommand in various location of Bali, say Ubud etc.

    As somebody recommend to buy land, could you please describe the sizes and prices for the blog to comment and discuss?

  11. Cukurungan says:


    My balinese friend told me that foreigners can not buy directly a property there under their name, it must be with under indo “friend name” so it means you have no proven legal papers about your ownership even you already spend some money. In addition, the land purchaser shall have “ktp” or personal identification released by Bali Government.

    I think the easy way is:
    1) You may marry with balinese.
    2) You rent a land for longterm, might permitted up to 10 years.

    However, if you’re still interested to have a piece of paradise there. Ubud land prices is varies 80-170 million idr each 100 m2 depends on location.

  12. Bas says:

    Never trust your money to an Indonesian friend. It never succeeded for me or anyone I know in 13 years here.

  13. Janma says:


    I bought land in Ubud in 1997. I am Australian and I had to put it in my Indonesian husbands name, when we divorced he tried to take the land (with the house I built on it) back, but I had a legal document drawn up that he had signed saying that it was my land paid for with my money and I was only ‘borrowing’ his name for the certificate.
    I still live there in that house and he can’t do much about it.
    So it’s ok if you know what you are doing. Better still is the way mentioned by Sudarsono, it sounds more complicated but apparently stands up better in court, that is where you make the person whose name you have used sign a contract saying they are in debt to you for the value of said land.


  14. Cukurungan says:


    If you’re still interested to risk your money, here another offer, 3000m2 land in Bukit Jimbaran with view to India Ocean. Price 800 thousand IDR/m2 if you want to nego the pricing you can meet by yourself my friend in March ’07 in Bali.

  15. Fanglong says:

    Hi friends!

    Even close to lakes, water fades: lake Buyan has lost 4.8 m in height.

    I’ll be there (di “pulau dewata”) in March & April, and I’ll tell you all what I’ll have seen!

    Salam dari negara Perancis!

  16. Junko says:

    Dear Janma,

    Thank you very much for your advice. Being a foreigner such as you, how do you stay there for time period longer than traveller’s status?

    Or, you just stay there occasionally for vacation only?

  17. Janma says:

    I have lived in Bali for 20 years. Sometimes I went in and out but mostly stay here with resident visa, my husband is Indonesian.

  18. Mr Paul says:

    I wish to buy land with Indonesian friend name and agree if sell land give a percentage of profit for using name. But if build house to rent to foreigner when sell house benefit go to my Australian son not indoniesian friend. Do you know how I can make sure I retain all building, pool and landscape for my family benefit?
    Please I worry my Indonesian friend may want share profit on sale of all land, building and pool etc anyone can give some small advice I appreciate it.

  19. Janma says:

    Mr. Paul you must have legal documents drawn up and notarized and signed by your ‘friend’. There is no such thing as a ‘friend’ in this situation…. NO SUCH THING! Please remember that. Pressure of life these days make people do unexpected things.
    Stipulate in your document what your agreements are. Make if waterproof. There is a good lawyer who can help you, they are called Bali Business enterprise I think… will try to find out the address.
    There is really no need and no advantage to trusting anyone. Just make it legal. You can do that. Make sure that everything is chrystal clear!


  20. paul says:

    Hi I am looking in lombok at the moment for land and my partner has been we have found a few plots. There is not a great deal of consistency in price are/ IDR.

    Can any one suggest a going rate vs locations in Lombok such as Kuta, Senggini, Setokong etc

    Also further advise on the models and if the one regarding buy in a friends name, you loan them the money and then have right to the land / property until they repay you.

    adn are there other models you can advise

    my email is

    Thanks (therima kasih)


  21. Janma says:


    Price of land depends where it is, as everywhere. Kuta Legian and most of south bali very expensive anywhere from 50 to 250 mil probably…. depends on location, access etc.
    Ubud where I live can be 15 to 40 to 50 to 80 mil, depending on what kind of land (ricefield or not, view or not, road access or not) also proximity to ubud makes more expensive.
    About the legality, the way you described above is the safest way to do it…. make sure you allow for price increases over the years…. in other words you should state the loan as more than what the land actually costs at time of purchase to allow for price increase of land over years to come. Bali Business Enterprises (BBE) is a good place to go for the legality… (I think that’s the name… sorry, been awhile..) it’s run by a western lady and her partner and they really know their stuff.

  22. Brenda Robertson says:

    Aloha From Hawaii
    I have to been to Bali many times and a Indonesia friend that helps me out in My Business.
    What I am looking to do is move to Ubud or somewhere in that area. I don’t think i would buy land, but would like to rent a nice house. I may marry Indonesia man if I meet one I like, the future will tell.
    If you help me out on maybe finding rental places, I like my lots of space, I really want to help out with the cats and dogs that need home and get them fixed. I love the people there and will live there for about 8 months of the year.
    Will coming to Bali in about 7 months to look around.
    Thanks for all your help.
    Brenda Robertson
    Ocean View, Hawaii

  23. Sandy says:

    Hi Janma,

    I have few questions for you, if you you can help

    1. Roughly how much per ARE land that located at Taro Village, (road ready, electric & water supply are ready)
    2. Do you have any recommendation of designer and construction company that can help me build villa?

    Thanks so much

  24. Ron says:

    All depends on how much cash you have laying around to blow away the problems, but tbh I wouldn’t want the hassle, plenty of other places that don’t have such problems and are as if not more beautiful. I wouldn’t entrust random farmers or native “friends”, or the country’s legal system for that matter if they can’t even sort out a water system.

    Stick to well developed places and ask other foreigners in that area about their experiences before you buy, even if it means going out on a limb.

  25. Alex says:

    And you shouldn’t judge a place before you have even been there. Its obvious you haven’t. Many places in Bali are developed and have perfectly good water systems as well as other things. If your going to build your villa is a village that is miles away from everything else, then yea your likely to encounter problems like with any other exotic country.

  26. anto says:

    Indonesia should be proud have Bali Islands, because it has become the most visited tourism destination in the world.

  27. beng pumar says:

    want to migrate there in Indonesia particularly in BALI..i study all matters regarding Ballinesse , just want to raise my up coming daughter there in a peace and harmony. i read all your comments, they all base in facts, but still it is our own decision to be finale isn’t it?,and all of you got points of view . and thanks for such a nice people giving your comments and suggestion it will be a good starting to us. any suggestion where we can first rent our apartment or villas?.so we can study all things first?.

  28. Mr Vee says:

    Hi all,

    All of the above previous comments are quite correct. I have lived/worked in Indonesia just on 10 years. I have an Indonesian wife and 2 beautiful children. We reside beachside in West Java at a fraction of the price but without the bright lights glamorous affluency that Bali offers. It seems everyone wants a piece of paradise at a low price, however, there are always risks! My properties are all in my wifes name and she could ‘take-off’ anytime leaving me ‘high and dry’. Its a risk one takes unless you get further documents drawn up much like the comment previously mentioned of having a ‘foreigner loan the Indonesian partner money’…..that is the best option and the one I have adopted. In my case however, I am ‘setting-up’ my kids future financially.

    West Java is paradise…….Sunda Straits near Krakatoa, Pelabuhan Ratu and Pangandaran but it seems foreigners are attracted to Bali because of the services (imported foods, restaurants, etc) and shy away from the predominant Islam religion in Java. I like the fact Bali is 1hr from an airport whereas Im 6hrs…….the price to pay for inexpensive land in my case. I purchased 1550sq/m of stunning elevated land close to the main road with mountain and ocean views with private road access for $20K USD 2yrs ago in Pelabuhan Ratu, West Java. The whole thing from sale to exchange to Certs in my hand took almost 6mths!

    Always use a trustworthy Notaris (Indonesian solicitor)…………not the local Notaris recommended by the local land seller if you get my drift………………seek one from ‘outta-town’……….there have been cases of the land being sold to someone with falsified certificates/excellent copies………….its a lucrative ‘cottage-industry’ in Indonesia in some places. Things take time in Indonesia especially with Govt.Depts so I would be suspicious of a fast turnaround time in many instances.

    Land laws are changing slowly for expats/foreigners in the higher priced property brackets but then you are looking at Western prices……….you need to weigh it up. I would absolutely recommend getting a separate legal document drawn up before you sign your Land Cert. over to a local……..You could do a lease arrangement I believe of up to 100yrs………..check it out…….if you have heard nightmare stories in the past they are most likely true whether it be Indonesia, Thailand or elsewhere…….stick to the reality of the situation and dont let your emotional side dominate to ‘live the dream’ which is a trap many fall into………avoid disappointment/disillusionment and …… .COVER YOUR ASS!!!

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