It’s easy to fall in love with Marrakech villas – particularly when the prices are up to 50% below their 2007 peak – you can buy a beautiful second home for as little as €150,000.
It’s a popular city for expats, who have built friendly communities to support each other abroad.
From renovated historic riads to spacious apartments, and everything in between – here’s all you need to know about buying property in Marrakech.
Besides the promise of cheap property, it’s important to know why Marrakech is so appealing as a place to spend at least part of the year.
Firstly, it’s less than four hours away from London on a plane – a breeze of a trip.
Secondly, it has the perfect combination of culture, services, and sunshine. And it’s a very affordable place to live – right now, you can get roughly 12.5 Moroccan Dirham to the British Pound. This makes it the perfect location to indulge yourself on a regular basis.
Thirdly, its location on the tip of North Africa means that it is reasonably warm for most of the year, with plenty of days of sunshine and little rainfall.
Finally, English is widely spoken in Marrakech, although Arabic is the official language. You shouldn’t have much difficulty communicating in general, even if you only speak English – or French, as it is the unofficial ‘backup’ language of Morocco.
Do I need to be a resident to buy a villa?
There are no residency requirements that will prevent you from buying Marrakech villas. However, as a non-resident, you can only stay 90 days at a time on a tourist visa.
If you think that isn’t going to be enough for you, you’ll need to contact the Moroccan Customs and Excise Administration (click ‘English’ at the top of the page if you don’t speak French).
The Administration should be able to advise you on how to go about applying for long-term residency. Alternatively, you can read the UK Government’s guide to Moroccan residency.
Getting a Moroccan mortgage
As a foreign national, you may take out a Moroccan mortgage of up to 50% of the total purchase price of the property.
Moroccan banks that can help you secure the loan include BMCI, BMCE and Arab Bank.
Once you’ve got an agreement in principle from your chosen bank, it’s time to go looking at Marrakech villas.
Picking the right place
The main thing you’ll need to decide is whether to be inside or outside the main town. There are a number of beautiful riads near the city’s medina – traditional Moroccan homes built around a central courtyard.
You’ll be close to the cultural heart of town, including the Jemaa Al Fnar square, a legendary marketplace where you can find snake charmers, medicine men, and henna artists.
Or only a few minutes drive from the centre of town, you will find huge, luxurious Marrakech villas.
These often have their own security gates, swimming pools, gardens, and rooftop terraces. Some villas will have their own facilities, while others will share these with neighbours.
It’s worth looking at agent listings for an idea of what you can get for your money.
You’ll be surprised at the size and quality of the Marrakech villas on sale – especially at the prices being asked. Once you think that you’ve found the perfect place, it’s time to close the deal.
This is the point at which it would be a wise move to hire a translator. A good interpreter will help to ensure that your property purchase goes through as smoothly as possible.
The UK Government maintains a list of Moroccan lawyers, translators and interpreters who may be able to help you.
Putting in offers for Marrakech villas
When you’re ready, you can put in an offer for your dream villa.
The realtor will take your offer to the owner, and if they agree then your lawyer should help you move forward with the next steps of the sale.
Remember – always take the time to visit the villa and do a proper inspection. Don’t just rely on online pictures and the word of a seemingly-friendly agent.
You never know if there’s something about a property that doesn’t suit your needs until you see it in person. And scams have been known to occur – which is where a good interpreter and lawyer can help to protect you.
What happens next?
The legal system of Morocco is based on the French system, but influenced by a combination of Muslim and Jewish traditions. To navigate this, you’ll need the help of a competent professional lawyer.
If your offer is accepted, your lawyer should keep you up to date with the progress of the sale. They should tell you exactly what to do at every step of the way.
Remember – you’re paying them to work for you. So don’t be scared to ask them any questions you might have during the sales process.
Are there any other costs?
When purchasing Marrakech villas, buyers will have to cover several costs on top of the price of the property.
Registration duty comes to 6% of the property’s value, and legal fees will be around 1% to 5% of its value. There are several other smaller fees to consider, including stamp duty, land registry fees, and notary fees.
All these fees can add up to a significant amount, but Marrakech villas remain relatively affordable. So even after adding on 10% or more to the purchase price, the overall sum you will pay won’t be enormous.
Your new home in Marrakech
When moving, you may want to bring certain items with you. But with a world-class furniture market in the town, make sure you don’t bring too much. You’ll want plenty of space for your discoveries from the medina!
However, if the traditional style is not quite to your taste, there are also plenty of modern shops, as well as several supermarkets and contemporary malls.
If you’re still looking for your new property, take a look at our listings of beautiful Marrakech villas. We know you’ll fall in love with these beautiful homes.
Please contact us for more information about any of our properties.