FAQs

Welcome to our FAQs! 

Looking for answers about us or other real estate related questions? – Whether you’re a first-time buyer, an investor, or simply curious, we’ve got you covered. Explore our frequently asked questions to find answers about legal requirements, top neighborhoods, and more.

General Question about Living in Kigali

Kigali is known for its safe and vibrant neighborhoods. While the concept of “best” neighborhoods can vary depending on personal preferences, there are several popular and well-regarded areas in the city. Click here to get to our comprehensive Kigali neighborhood guide. Some of the neighborhoods that are currently in high demand include:

  1. Nyarutarama: Located in the upscale district of Gasabo, Nyarutarama is known for its spacious residential properties, well-maintained streets, and a variety of amenities such as restaurants, shopping centers, and international schools.

  2. Kimihurura: Situated in the heart of Kigali, Kimihurura offers a mix of residential and commercial properties. This neighborhood boasts a vibrant expatriate community, trendy restaurants, bars, art galleries, and a range of entertainment options.

  3. Gacuriro: modern and rapidly developing neighborhood with a blend of residential homes, apartment complexes, and villas. It is renowned for its well-planned layout, wide roads, and proximity to international schools, golf courses, and recreational facilities.

  4. Kiyovu: a centrally located neighborhood known for its historical significance and picturesque views. It offers a mix of residential and commercial properties, including charming houses, apartments, and boutique hotels. Kiyovu is appreciated for its proximity to amenities such as restaurants, shops, and cultural attractions.

  5. Kibagabaga: a peaceful and residential neighborhood known for its tranquil atmosphere and green surroundings. It offers a range of housing options, including standalone houses and modern apartments. Kibagabaga is appreciated for its proximity to schools, hospitals, and recreational facilities.

  6. Rebero: Situated in the south of Kigali, Rebero offers a serene and residential environment. It provides stunning views of the city and is known for its tranquil atmosphere. Rebero offers a variety of housing options, including villas and apartments, and is popular among families and individuals seeking a peaceful living environment.

  7. Kacyiru: a neighborhood located in the Gasabo district and is home to several government institutions, international organizations, and embassies. It offers a mix of residential and commercial properties, including apartments and townhouses. Kacyiru provides convenient access to amenities such as restaurants, shops, and recreational facilities.

Please note that we encourage you to explore and visit different areas to determine which one suits your specific needs and preferences. Our experienced agents can provide further guidance and assistance in selecting the right neighborhood based on your requirements. 

Yes, Kigali offers a wide range of amenities. The city has well-stocked grocery stores, shopping malls, local markets, and much more. It also has a robust healthcare system with hospitals, clinics, and medical centers offering quality healthcare services.

In Rwanda, safety is a priority, and compared to other capital cities in the region, Kigali is considered very safe and security is nothing you should worry to much about.

In many properties, it is standard practice to provide security and the specific security arrangements may vary and are usually being discussed with the landlords or – in case you e.g. own a unit in an apartment complex – with the housing associations.

Kigali offers a vibrant and diverse range of recreational and leisure activities for residents to enjoy. The city is known for its lively nightlife, with numerous restaurants, cafes, and bars where you can socialize and experience the energetic spirit of Kigali. Additionally, there are car free zones, cultural centers, sports facilities, and outdoor spaces that provide opportunities for relaxation, fitness, and community engagement. Whether you’re interested in dining out, exploring the arts and culture scene, or participating in sports and outdoor activities, Kigali offers a dynamic and fulfilling lifestyle for residents to embrace.

Kigali boasts well-maintained streets and a reliable transportation system, which includes options such as taxis, motorcycle taxis (known as moto-taxis), and buses. The city is committed to enhancing its public transportation infrastructure and has plans underway to introduce the Kigali Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, further improving transportation efficiency and convenience.

Question about Buying Properties in Rwanda

By Akash Ladha, Managing Partner of ALCPA – A leading Audit & Advisory Firm in Kigali and Vibe Real Estate’s partner for accounting and investment consulting.

 
Three Property Taxes You Need to Know

 

There are mainly 3 taxes on Immovable Property – Immovable Property Tax (IPT), Rental Income Tax (RIT) and Value Added Tax (VAT). All the taxes are assessed and paid by the owner. If the owner is not based in Rwanda a proxy may be appointed in Rwanda for tax purposes. Taxes must be declared and paid every year (IPT – before 31 December of that year; RIT – before 31 Jan of following year).

Immovable Property Tax (IPT)

Immovable Property tax (IPT) is assessed separately for land and the building thereon every year. The tax rate for land is prescribed by respective district councils, basis location of land and its use, and is up to Frw 300 per square meter. This tax rate is multiplied to the whole surface area of land plot to calculate IPT on land.

The tax rate for buildings varies from 0.1% to 1% depending on type of building. The tax rate is multiplied by the market value of building to calculate IPT on building. The market value of a building needs to be assessed by a certified valuer every 5 years.

Rental Income Tax (RIT)

Rental Income Tax (RIT) is the tax on rental income for leased properties. Any individual earning only rental income with no income from any other business in Rwanda must register for RIT and submit rental contracts within 15 days to RRA.

RIT is calculated by applying RIT rate to taxable rental income. RIT is not charged on gross rental income. Taxable rental income is calculated after deducting certain allowed expenses from gross rental income. Firstly, a flat 50% of gross rental income earned during the year is allowed as deduction. This is assumed to be maintenance and repair expenses for which no supporting documents are required. Secondly, Interest on a bank taken for purchase and construction of the asset is also allowed as a deduction. RIT is a progressive tax wherein there are different RIT rate brackets (ranging from 0% to 30%) depending on taxable rental income.

If the person is registered under Corporate Income Tax (CIT), the rental income can be consolidated with other business income under CIT. In such case, no RIT would be applicable. A flat CIT tax rate of 30% is levied on total business profit (including the rental profit). Business profit is calculated after allowing for deductible business expenses. These expenses should be incurred for the direct purpose of the business and substantiated with proper purchase receipts.  A depreciation allowance at 5% of the cost of the building is also allowed as a deductible expense. No depreciation allowance can be claimed on the cost of land. Interest expenses for the direct purpose of the business are also an allowable deduction to compute business profit.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

Finally, Value Added Tax (VAT) at 18% is levied on rental income earned on properties leased for commercial purposes. VAT rate of 18% is applied on rental amount exclusive of VAT. VAT is a tax burden on the lessee, hence lessee pays to lessor amount inclusive of VAT. The lessor is required to collect VAT and pay it to the tax authorities. The lease contract should clearly state rental amount exclusive of VAT and rental amount inclusive of VAT.

Buying real estate involves several steps, from searching for properties to closing the deal. Here’s a brief overview of the general process:

  1. Determine your budget and needs: Before you begin your search, it’s important to know what you can afford and what your must-haves are for a property. This will help you narrow down your options and save time.

  2. If needed, contact your bank to get pre-approved for a mortgage: If you need a mortgage to finance your purchase, getting pre-approved will give you an idea of what you can afford and make you a more competitive buyer.

  3. Start your property search: Once you have a budget and know what you’re looking for, it’s time to start searching for properties. You can work with a real estate agent such as Vibe Real Estate or browse online to find properties that fit your criteria.

  4. Visit properties: Once you’ve identified properties you’re interested in, it’s time to schedule showings. This is your chance to see the property in person and get a feel for the neighborhood. If you are not in the country, detailed videos of the property, video calls with a trusted agents, etc. can also help along the way.

  5. Make an offer: If you’ve found a property you want to buy, it’s time to make an offer. Your real estate agent will help you draft a contract and negotiate with the seller.

  6. Home inspection: After your offer is accepted, you’ll need to have a home inspection to identify any issues with the property.

  7. Closing: Once everything is in order, it’s time to close the deal. This involves signing the paperwork, paying closing costs, receiving the keys to your new property, and lastly the transfer of the title of ownership.

Overall, the process of buying real estate can be complex and time-consuming. It’s important to work with a knowledgeable real estate agent who can guide you through each step and ensure you make an informed decision.

Most professional real estate agencies in Rwanda operate on a success-based fee structure, which means that there is no up-front payment required. If an agent or agency cannot find the right property for you, you don’t have to pay anything.

At Vibe Real Estate, we follow the same approach and charge a success-based fee. For buyers, our fee is 2.5% of the final gross sales price (excl. VAT). This fee is based on our holistic approach, where we assist our clients throughout the entire process, from start to finish, until everything is signed and the keys are handed over. Ultimately, buying a property is only a small part of the service we provide to our clients.

Yes, generally foreigner can buy properties in Rwanda and the process is pretty straightforward.

Foreigners can own one property in their name for their residential purposes. Any additional property will be considered an investment and thus will have to be bought in a company’s name, and this company will have to obtain an investment certificate. To make things easier, Vibe Real Estate offers a service package that includes the company registration itself, the preparation of the business plan (which is required for the investment certificate) and the application for the investment certificate. The whole process usually takes around 2-3 weeks. Especially for foreign clients or clients who just don’t have the time to deal with those matters, this can be a real time saver.

The difference between a leasehold property and a freehold property lies in its ownership. In a leasehold property, the ownership remains with the concerned local authority or the government and is leased to the beneficiary. The lease period typically varies between 49 year to 99 years and is renewable.

A leasehold does not prevent the beneficiary from selling, letting, or performing other transactions with the property, provided the lease deed is registered. Rwanda is committed to ensuring that leasehold properties are protected and that owners have the right to renew their leases and in our view, the fact that the country is able to manage its limited land resources effectively and well-organized is a good sign for both local and international investors.

In the case of a freehold property, the owner of the property is the legal owner of the land and can also sell/lease/rent the property as per their wish

The ownership transfer process is pretty straight forward in Rwanda. It is done by the local administration and can be done as a one-stop process. Essentially, the buyer and seller bring the relevant documents (passports, marriage certificates, proof of ownership, etc) and fill out a form requesting the transfer. This form then gets notarized by the notary on duty right at the local administration. After that, the transfer is processed and the new title will be issued within a few day to up to 3 weeks (depending on the workload at the local administration).

The costs of transferring the ownership of a property are very limited in Rwanda compared to other places and a budget of around USD 200 to 300 for the title transfer fees, notaries, copies, etc. and you will be fine.

When it comes to buying property in Kigali, the neighborhood you choose can greatly impact the success of your investment. As such, it’s important to have a good understanding of the local real estate market and work with a trusted partner who can provide expert advice.

At Vibe Real Estate, we recommend looking beyond the sales price of a property and considering the potential rental income it could generate. This will help you determine the return on investment (ROI) and make a more informed decision.

Kigali offers a variety of options with different characteristics. There are established areas, such as Kiyovu, Nyarutarama or Kimihurura which are upscale and currently in very high demand. These areas are centrally located and offer easy access to amenities like restaurants, shopping and entertainment.

Alternatively, there are upcoming neighborhoods or areas slightly more outside to central locations within Kigali that may offer better value for your money. However, it’s important to always consider the potential rental income in these areas, as it may be significantly lower than in more central locations.

It’s worth noting that prices in Kigali have increased as the city has grown and become more and more desirable. Land prices in Kigali can therefore vary greatly depending on the location. Therefore finding newly built houses with modern architecture in areas with high demand is of course possible but can be very expensive, while upcoming neighborhoods that are just starting to develop may offer cheaper land prices, allowing you to find newly built houses for less than half the price. 

In addition to houses, apartments can also be a great investment option for good rental yields, especially if your budget for a newly built and well-located house in areas with high demand is too low. Buying an apartment can offer a more affordable option and still provide good and steady rental income.

Overall, it’s important to carefully consider all the options to make the best investment decision.

No, in Rwanda there is no stamp duty. So aside from the few transfer and notary fees, you don’t have to plan for any additional costs. 

There are several local banks in Rwanda that offer mortgage services to both locals and foreigners.

To apply for a mortgage, a bank requires a certain level of security, and the length of the mortgage also affects the conditions. Typically, interest rates range from 14% to 18% regardless of which bank you choose to work with. To initiate the mortgage application process, the bank needs to approve the property through an evaluation. Some of the properties or new developments listed on our website as “for sale” have already been pre-approved, which can significantly expedite the process. The evaluation typically costs between $200 and $500, depending on the bank. As the housing market in Rwanda is dynamic, we always recommend being as prepared as possible when starting your property search, including having your financing in order, so that you can be in a competitive position with other potential buyers.

The mortgage application process itself is straightforward. You will need to submit several documents to the bank, and they typically process your request within 10 to 15 days. 

At Vibe Real Estate, we have a trusted financing partner in I&M Bank Rwanda, and we have had positive experiences working with them in the past. If you are interested in a mortgage, please let us know, and we would be happy to assist you by connecting you with the right point of contact to get you approved as quickly as possible.

Question about Selling Properties in Rwanda

When selling a property, two important taxes come into play:

  1. Corporate Income Tax (CIT): There’s a separate CIT of 28% on business profits.

  2. Fixed Tax: Additionally, there’s a fixed tax of 2.5% of the final sales price that the seller needs to pay before the title can be transferred to a new owner.

Listing your property with us is a simple process. Our experienced team will guide you through the process, discuss your requirements, and ensure that your property is effectively marketed to potential buyers. Here are the four steps to advertise your property with us:

  1. Reach Out

The fastest way to contact us is via email at info@vibe.rw or by messaging us on WhatsApp at +250 788 999 273. We strive to respond promptly to every inquiry we receive.

  1. Provide Relevant Property Information

When reaching out to us, please share important details about your property, including:

  • Location of the property
  • UPI, plot size, and living space
  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Information about the interior, finishing, and available amenities
  • Your asking price and any flexibility on the price for effective customer communication
  • Any additional information you believe should be included in the listing to attract potential buyers

The more information we have about your property, the better we can create a high-quality listing that increases your chances of attracting potential buyers.

  1. Professional Pictures and Marketing Material Creation

After signing our listing agreement, which acknowledges our success-based fee, our photographer will contact you to schedule an appointment for professional photoshoots of your property. These photos are for internal marketing purposes, but if you’re interested in using them for external advertising or if you prefer not to hire a photographer, you can purchase the unbranded and license-free pictures for a fee of USD 120 (excluding VAT). Once we receive the edited pictures, we typically publish a new listing within 48 hours.

  1. Finding and Introducing a Buyer

Once we have created and published the listing of your property on our website and various other marketing channels, you will receive confirmation and updates as soon as we have serious leads for your property. We will schedule appointments for property visits with the point of contact you provided.

If a buyer is interested in moving forward with a purchase, we will assist you throughout the process until the sales agreement is signed, keys are handed over, and the transaction is completed. Finally, you will pay us the agreed-upon agency fee.

We strive to make the selling process as seamless as possible, and our dedicated team is here to support you at every step along the way.

Similar with buying a property, most professional real estate agencies in Rwanda operate on a success-based fee structure, which means that there is no up-front payment required. If an agent or agency cannot find the right property for you, you don’t have to pay anything.

At Vibe Real Estate, we follow the same approach and charge a success-based fee of 5% (excl. VAT).

This fee is based on our holistic approach, where we assist our clients throughout the entire process, from start to finish, until everything is signed and the keys are handed over. The sale of a property itself is only a small part of the service we provide to property owners who want to sell their properties with us.

Several factors contribute to determining the selling price of a property, such as its location, size, condition, amenities, and prevailing market trends.

If required, our experienced team of professionals can offer you a competitive and realistic selling price recommendation based on our extensive knowledge and expertise. We understand the market dynamics and will provide you with valuable insights to help you make informed decisions about pricing your property.

The duration of the selling process can vary depending on several factors such as the location, property type, price, and market demand. While we strive to expedite the sale of your property, it is important to understand that the timeframe can be influenced by market conditions and buyer interest. Our team will work diligently to market your property and find the right buyer in the shortest possible time.

The value of an older home compared to a new home depends on a variety of factors.

Some people consider older homes to have more character or e.g. more unique features than a new home. For e.g. older houses may be located in an established neighborhood, bigger plots with mature trees and landscaping. Apart from the better quality that usually comes with it, a new home in Kigali may offer more modern amenities, such as energy-efficient appliances, smart home technology, and open floor plans that are popular with today’s homebuyers. A new home may also have a more contemporary design and be more customizable to the buyer’s preferences. In Kigali, the demand for modern houses and architecture is higher compared to older properties which also affects the sales prices of the properties significantly. 

Ultimately, the value of a home depends on a range of factors, including its location, size, age, condition, and features. Therefore, it’s important to evaluate each home individually when it comes to selling a property. 

Yes, a home can depreciate in value. Depreciation refers to a decrease in the value of an asset over time, and this can happen to homes for a variety of reasons. The most common reason is simply the aging of the property and the wear and tear that comes with it.

Additionally, changes in the local housing market such as a new “competitor” in the surrounding neighborhood such as e.g. a newly-built residential estate offering competitive options at lower price can also have a negative impact on a home’s value.

Generally, we always suggest working with a trusted partner when it comes to selling a property in Kigali who knows the market well and that can help managing expectations and deciding on a sales price that is based on profound market data and extensive experience in the business.

While it is not mandatory, making certain preparations and improvements to enhance the appeal of your property can positively impact its marketability and sale price. Our team can provide recommendations on simple home staging techniques and suggest any necessary repairs or renovations that could maximize the value of your property.

Question about renting properties in Rwanda

At Vibe Real Estate, we have a comprehensive database of available rental properties in Kigali here  and browse through our listings to view properties that meet your requirements. Additionally, you can also contact us directly and share your specific preferences with our team so one of our experienced agents can guide you through the process and provide personalized recommendations based on your needs.

We understand that the rental real estate market in Kigali is dynamic, and new options become available frequently. So, even if you don’t find what you’re looking for on our website, our agents can still assist you by presenting additional options that may not be listed yet. We are committed to helping you find the perfect property in Kigali.

The cost of renting a property in Kigali varies depending on factors such as the location, property type, size, and amenities. In the locations that we primarily focus on in Kigali, rental prices typically start at around USD 1,000. However, it’s important to note that rental prices can fluctuate based on market conditions and the specific features of the property.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information on rental prices and available properties within your budget, we recommend reaching out to our agents. They have extensive knowledge of the current market trends and can provide you with specific details and options that align with your preferences and budget. We are dedicated to helping you find a rental property in Kigali that suits your needs and fits within your financial requirements.

To rent a property in Kigali, you typically need to provide the following documents and meet certain requirements:

  • A copy of your identification document (e.g., passport or national ID)
  • Proof of income or employment verification
  • Security deposit (usually equivalent to one or two months’ rent)
  • Rental agreement or lease contract
  • Additional requirements may vary depending on the landlord or property management company.

Please note that specific landlords or properties may have additional requirements, so it’s essential to consult with our agents who will guide you through the application process and provide the necessary information to ensure a smooth rental experience.

The duration of a lease agreement in Kigali can vary. In many cases, residential leases have a minimum term of six months. However, there may be flexibility depending on the landlord and the specific property. Our agents can provide information on available lease durations and help you find options that align with your desired rental period.

The inclusion of utilities in the rental price depends on the specific property and landlord.

Some rental properties may include certain utilities such as water, electricity or maintenance fees, while others require tenants to pay for utilities separately. Our agents can provide you with details on which utilities are included or excluded for each property you are interested in.

Generally, tenants will be given a renewal notice within a specified time frame before the lease expiration. This notice will outline the terms and conditions for renewal. We always recommend to communicate your intentions regarding lease renewal to the landlord or property management in a timely manner to ensure a smooth transition.

In the event of maintenance issues or repairs needed during your tenancy, you should promptly report the issue to the landlord or property management company. Usually, they will arrange for necessary repairs or maintenance according to the terms outlined in the lease agreement. It’s important to document any issues and communicate with the landlord or property management in writing for record-keeping purposes.

Renter’s insurance is not typically a legal requirement in Kigali, but can be recommended. Renter’s insurance provides protection for your personal belongings in case of theft, damage, or other covered events. Depending on the rental agreement and the property you are interested in renting, it is a good idea to consult with an insurance provider to understand the options available and determine the coverage that best suits your needs. If required, of course we’d be happy to connect you with an insurance company that we have made good experiences with in the past.

Compare listings

Compare
Open WhatsApp
1
Hello, this is Vibe Real Estate. How can we assist you?