1. Proximity to a temple
There are literally thousands of temples in Bali. There are local laws stating that you cannot build within a certain range of the temple. The reality is however, many buildings and houses are built near temples. As a foreigner you need to be careful and check with the local government (banjar) if building on the land will be a potential issue before you buy the land.
2. Check ownership of trees/crops
Just because you own the land in Bali, you might not necessarily own the plants or trees that are growing on it. This is especially the case of coconut or mango trees as they are harvested by farmers.
3. Check the IMB (building permit)
To build a house or any building in Indonesia, you need to get a building permit or IMB. This is often placed prominently at the front of the property. You might find that many locally owned houses in Bali don’t have IMBs, but you can still organize the permit during the property transaction.
4. Check the water and electricity
Check whether the house has water connected to the town water system (PDAM) or if it uses a well or bore on the land. If the land uses a well, check that supplies enough water for your needs, particularly if you are planning later to build a swimming pool.
For electricity, make sure it has adequate wattage to run the appliances you want. Bali is having problems keeping up with increased demands for its electrical supply, so getting an increase in watts is not always easy or even possible.
5. Find a reliable notary
Notaries handle property transactions in Indonesia. It is important to try to find someone who is reliable and honest. They also need to be located in the same regency as the property you are purchasing. If you have a notary that is located in a different part of Bali, you can still use them to check that the notary handling the transaction is doing everything above board.
6. Check ownership of the access road
Many people have been caught out in Bali because they don’t have public access to their own land. It is important to check who actually owns the access road before you buy the land. Even though the road looks as though it is a public one, it could be owned by a private individual and they can block access to your land unless you pay a substantial fee.
7. Talk to other foreign property owners in your village
Some villages in Bali are more friendly to foreigners than others. Some villages will demand large fees to be paid, even if you have a building permit and will do anything to stop you from building until the ‘fees’ have been paid. Bali’s villages are very community focused, so it is a good idea to try and become involved as much as possible in the village, to avoid these kinds of problems.