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Overseas Pakistani, the time is perfect to dip their toes in the vast real estate market of Pakistan. The rising trend of investment in the real estate market by the overseas Pakistanis is fuelled by the Government’s ample funding in this regard. The modern era of technology is also to be thanked. With social media penetrating every aspect of our lives, the public is not left in the dark about anything. This has given the overseas Pakistanis a unique opportunity to find out everything about the property they are investing in while sitting comfortably on their couches. Through the power of YouTube, Pictures, and reviews it’s easy to do a virtual tour of the property that has piqued their interest. Even though a lot of facilities are present these days, still a job this important requires that you be on the top of your game while buying a property, making use of research, analysis and a strong insight to help prevent any deception. Let’s talk about how you can make the best investments.
FUNDAMENTAL TIPS FOR OVERSEAS PAKISTANIS REGARDING INVESTMENT
First, we will discuss some tips for overseas Pakistanis to help in investment.
CONSIDER THE SAFETY OF THE PROJECT
How can one be certain that the project they are investing in is the real deal and it’s secure to invest here? The general rule here is that any property supervised by municipal authorities or a regulated administration body is a safe investment opportunity. Capital Development Authority (CDA), Karachi Development Authority (KDA) and Lahore Development Authority (LDA) are examples of the former, while Defence Housing Authority (DHA) and Pakistan Armed Forces (PAF) fall under the latter category. Checking for approval status by government authorities is crucial before investing. An unapproved project should immediately raise a red flag because usually, the unapproved projects are housing schemes that have been rejected by the authorities. A Government approved and the well-known project is, therefore, your best chance for sure-fire success.
EXAMINE THE PERFORMANCE HISTORY OF THE BUILDER
A builder or developer who is well known in the real estate market and has a multitude of thriving projects under their belt can be easily trusted. Some examples would be Rufi builders, Saima Group and Pakistan Navy, each with multiple successful projects to their credit. Investing in one of the schemes they offer is a wise move. They would usually provide you with a tentative timeline of how fast things will progress. A survey of the market will give you an idea about the speed and punctuality with which they are working on current projects, and this would usually be the case for any future projects they undertake. You should always do thorough research and never believe what you were promised, and rather make your decision based on what you observed, whether it’s while buying a property or merely renting one. Electricity, gas, and water are the fundamentals you should look for. A solid infrastructure, roads, commute options, and security are also important things to consider.
BE CAUTIOUS OF FRAUDS AND DECEPTIVE PRACTICES
A background check should be done by a legal service. Scrutinize all the details about the property developer with a critical mindset. Let’s talk about what you should be aware of before investing:
- The layout plan/building plan should be approved
All credible projects have a government-approved layout plan, which is available for review by potential buyers before they invest.
- There should be a record of property’s previous ownership
An authentic developer should have official records of the property’s previous ownership, and it is essential that you demand these documents.
- There should be documented proof of the property’s ownership by the seller
With a significant amount of time and money involved, investing in real estate is always a huge decision for any buyer. Before investing, demand for official, verified documents that prove that the seller is, in fact, the legal owner of the property being sold.
- There should be no pending dues on the property
Dues such as electricity, utility bills and property taxes should be paid before you invest in a property. Refrain from dealing with a seller who wants to burden you with these financial responsibilities.
- Original copy of the registry should be demanded
Special emphasis is needed on this issue, even though we have previously discussed the value of proper documentation. It is crucial that you ask for the title document and/or the allotment letter. You should make copies, and ideally, you should scan these documents and immediately save them.
INVESTMENT FACILITIES FOR OVERSEAS PAKISTANIS IN PAKISTAN
Overseas Pakistani Foundation (OPF) has been established by the government of Pakistan to facilitate overseas Pakistanis in their investment.
OVERSEAS PAKISTANI FOUNDATION MEMBERSHIP
The details to apply for OPF membership have been discussed on the official website of Overseas Pakistani Foundation.
On the official website of Overseas Pakistani Foundation, it is stated that any Pakistani holding a valid work visa issued by the Protectorate of Emigrants, Bureau of Emigrations & Overseas Employment (BE&OE) and Overseas Employment Corporation (OEC), and living abroad since 23rd March 1979 are registered with Overseas Pakistani Foundation and are eligible to attain its services. By paying PKR 2000, any Pakistani who is not already registered with the OPF can get a membership. The membership is valid until the subject remains abroad.
WHY SHOULD THE EXPATS INVEST IN PAKISTAN?
The detailed investment policies and Acts are present on the official OPF website.
The rapid economic growth undergoing in Pakistan is a primal reason the expats should invest in Pakistan. Pakistan’s investment market is suitable with a variety of fruitful opportunities for overseas Pakistani, including but not limited to power & energy, IT and telecom, agriculture, retail, tourism, textile, mining, automotive, financial and pharmaceutical sectors. The Investment Facilitation Centre of OPF has laid detailed policies and acts.
IMPERATIVE LEGAL GUIDELINES FOR BUSINESS INVESTMENTS BY OVERSEAS PAKISTANIS
There are now many relaxations for overseas Pakistanis investing in property. Complete financial and legal guidelines for overseas Pakistanis are outlined by the OPF for those who are interested in investing:
- A legal channel should be used for financial transactions with a business partner.
- Visit the building site you intend to invest in, and before investing verify all necessary documents.
- A written document enlisting the rights and responsibilities of all shareholders/investment and business partners must be drafted and the document should be signed by all the concerned parties.
- It is essential to get registered with the government’s business regulatory services like the Federal Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) or Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) next.
- General Power of Attorney shouldn’t be awarded to anyone, as they hold the power to sell the property without informing the owners. However, Special Power of Attorney may be ascribed if needed.
- Blank papers should not be signed.
- All essential identification documents, including the national identity card (CNIC or NICOP), should be kept safe, and a copy is never to be handed to anyone.
HOW ARE OVERSEAS PAKISTANIS FACILITATED TO BUY PROPERTIES IN PAKISTAN?
As the OPF has instituted several housing schemes in different areas of Pakistan, it has become easier for overseas Pakistanis to invest in property. OPF claims that plots are allocated to the overseas Pakistanis in these schemes. These schemes are situated in Islamabad, Gujrat, Lahore, Dadu, Peshawar, Mirpur (AJK) and Larkana.
GUIDELINE PROVIDED BY OVERSEAS PAKISTANI FOUNDATION FOR BUYING PROPERTY
- The housing project must be verified by a local regulatory authority like Lahore Development Authority (LDA), Malir Development Authority (MDA), Faisalabad Development Authority (FDA), Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) and Capital Development Authority (CDA), Malir Development Authority(MDA), Karachi Development Authority(KDA), in case you want to purchase property in a private housing scheme.
- Ask the administrator of the housing scheme whether the property will be transferred to your name or will you just be given an allotment. It is preferable to get the land transferred to your name.
- The registry title of the seller is to be verified by the local authorities if you are buying property from an individual seller.
- Make sure that the mutation is entered inland record after you have purchased the property through registered sales deed, as it authenticates you as the legal owner and otherwise the sales deed doesn’t serve the purpose.
- It is advised by the OPF to build a boundary wall with a gate for the protection of your property, as an open plot is more susceptible to illegal possession.
A notice should be published in your local newspaper before buying the property.
TAKE YOUR PICK BETWEEN PLOTS AND HOUSES
Before you invest, make up a plan in your mind about the type of property you want. Do you want to invest long term in a house for your future generations or do you want to have a house where you could live 5 years down the lane? There are different reasons to buy property. The profits and returns you would like to see in the future, the risk you are prepared to take and the plans you have for the property all have an impact on the property you purchase. A tactic used by many people to gain profits is to invest in land, so that in the long term when the prices go up, they can get financial gains. The following are a few of the options to look into when searching for a residential plot in Karachi. There are also a number of plots up for sale in Lahore. Multan also has popular investment opportunities. Gwadar also has plots up for grabs due to the ongoing development by CPEC. DHA City Karachi has residential plots up for sale if you are looking for a particular area in a city. Located 56km away from the main city, it is one of the most suitable investment choices for overseas Pakistanis. If looking for a top-notch investment opportunity in Lahore, Lake City along the Raiwind road is a suitable choice. Search trends indicate that DHA-Karachi is at the top of the list if you are looking to buy a house in Karachi. With a regulated administration, it is an upscale residential area. In Lahore, DHA-Lahore is at the top of the list for most favorable areas to buy houses. In Islamabad, DHA-Islamabad takes the trophy for being the most popular place to invest in houses.
WHAT ARE SOME HOUSING SCHEMES FOR OVERSEAS PROPERTY INVESTMENT IN KARACHI?
A multitude of options exists for overseas Pakistanis to invest in Pakistan, some of which are discussed below.
DHA phase IX, more commonly known as Defence Housing Authority City Karachi (DCK), as per their claim, is the first ever sustainable, smart and the green city of the country. ”
Situated on the suburbs of mega city Karachi, the project is on the Super Highway, almost at a distance of 56 km from the main city. The project directed by DHA Karachi is an under-developing mega housing society that stretches for over 20,000 acres of land. The project has been designed to accommodate over 1 million population of the city. DHA City aims to tackle the constantly increasing challenges related to housing in Karachi. In this regard, they’ve designed a sustainable strategy for the circulation of power and water, waste management, and transportation.
GULSHAN E MAYMAR
Gulshan-e-Maymar is a reputed housing project located in the outskirts of Karachi near to main Superhighway. The design of the project has a lot of resemblance with the federal capital. Therefore, it is often referred to as Mini Islamabad. The project is enriched by the neatly trimmed parks, wide and clean roads, modern clubs, and rest houses. Maymar was come into being in 1980. Mr. Hafiz Sadiq Hussain and Syed Mazhar Ali launched this project as a model community in the outskirt of the Karachi city spread over the area of 139-acre. The project saw a massive extension over the years and extended to over 1000 acres by the year 2000. The people were quite impressed by the well-planned project. In 2007, the founders of Maymar decided to sell out their equity to a well-known group of real estate builders. This group further transformed society into a master-planned society. Currently, Gulshan-e-Maymar has consisted of 12 sectors, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, ZA, Z and TA.
BAHRIA TOWN KARACHI :
Bahria Town Karachi is one of the most highly secured societies of the city. It’s a walled community which has established a whole new benchmark for all the upcoming societies in Pakistan. The residential portion of the Bahria Town has been stretched out to almost 44000 acres. Bahria town offers top-class amenities with high standards of living. The project is situated 25 at a drive of 25 minutes from Jinnah International Airport, and 9 km from Super Highway. The six-lane expressway connects Bahria Town to Malir Cantt. We can say Bahria Town is actually a city, within the city. Bahria town is essentially classified in 31 precincts.
TAX FILING FOR OVERSEAS PAKISTANIS
In 2019, there is good news for overseas Pakistanis, as Tax filing has been made easy for them. The government is giving leniency to the overseas Pakistanis who are non-filers of the tax return. Until now, the government demanded that all investors file tax returns before they are eligible to buy a property. In recent developments, overseas Pakistanis are excluded from the tax net of Pakistan, they do however have to pay property tax once they purchase a property. This measure will generate maximum funds and alleviate the financial grievances of the country. All these measures are taken by the government to improve the financial status of the country. Properties above PKR 5 million are not required to be filed for income tax returns. To summarize, this is a good opportunity for overseas Pakistanis to invest and they will get maximum accommodation.