Being a well-known journalist and having experience of many years in the field of real estate investment consultancy, Mr Waheed Ur Rehman Mian, Managing Partner M-R Solicitors, advises all those wanting to dive into the real estate sector in Pakistan.
It is a burning question related to the property investment in Pakistan by overseas Pakistanis, particularly from those residing in the UK. Historically, the overseas Pakistanis invest largely in the real estate there, but after a few months of investment, complaints of their property being seized illegally surface, and around 95% chances are that the reason as explained by Mr Waheed Ur Rehman Mian – Managing Partner M-R solicitors, has explained, is the lack of due diligence.
Most of the time a property is bought by the Overseas Pakistanis based on a referral of a friend or a relative, claiming it to be a “Golden Opportunity”.
Due to their trust in their acquaintances, they often invest in their names as it is easier for them being in the country and sometimes the power of attorney is also in their names.
If we look into the real estate investment in Gwadar specifically, the Gwadar Development Authority provides a way for you to do due diligence from home.
In the UK, it is normal to hire a solicitor for conveyancing to buy a property. You do not handle the transaction yourself, but your legal aid will do all sorts of surveys and check, and only when they are satisfied will you hand over the money to your legal help who will transfer the amount to the counterpart of the seller.
Although it is not an option in Pakistan, there are still many Pakistani lawyers and advisors who can get the job done for you and help you verify the property details in Pakistan for you.
The main advantage of hiring a legal expert for doing the due diligence for you is that, if by any chance the advisor misses any point and does some sort of mistake and due to that mistake, you experience a financial loss, then you have an option to recover all your loss with the help of an Insurance Company. But on the other hand, if you will perform the due diligence and due to your own mistake, you lose some money, you have no way of recovering that.
But if any other problem arises in Pakistan, then you have the option of Litigation, the ways are also discussed here.
For Gwadar, the Gwadar website is the starting point of all your investigations. Many real estate developers based in the UK, have some projects going on in Gwadar. To check the authenticity of a developer advertising their property in Gwadar, the first thing to be checked is whether they are the owners of that property or do they even have a right to sell that property?
You can find all your answers on the GDA website, where you can verify all the documentation related to the developer. NOCs are the first step of the verification of any property project. if the project does not even have a NOC, then there is no need to look further, and you should reject it straight away.
If there is a NOC, then you can verify it on the GDA website for free. There you can verify the existence of that property, the land area, and the selling rights too.
In case of the property being in other cities like Karachi or Lahore etc, you can still verify the NOCs from the respective authorities like KDA or LDA, etc.
Often there is a marketing strategy that most developers use, and it is the location trick. The most important thing to look for during a real estate investment is the location of that property.
The future of any property project is highly dependent on the location where it is situated. Nowadays, all developers claim their property to be located at a prime location in the city.
To verify the location of any property, you have the tool of digital maps, i.e., Google Maps, or Apple Maps through which you can verify if the property is even at the advertised location or not.
There is a trend of file selling going on in Pakistan for many years and unfortunately, it is still at large. To avoid this, there is no concept of property files, rather the Plot system has been adopted there. When you buy a plot, a plot number will be allotted to you and you can check whether that plot has been registered in your name or not, through the GDA website.
Once a map for any housing society is approved by the GDA, then the number of plots in that society, along with their status of them being residential or commercial with their size, is also registered in the GDA directory.
Marina Enclave Gwadar is advertising that same map that has been registered in the GDA. Once you purchase a plot in Marina Enclave Gwadar, you will be given a timeline, in which your ownership for that plot will be registered in the GDA. You can then verify whether that plot has been registered in your name or not, just like you can verify from the land registry in the UK.
These are some points that will be helpful in the real estate investment in Pakistan, especially Gwadar.
In case you bought your property in Gwadar before this development, then if you have any proof of buying that property, it does not matter if that developer still exists or not, then you can contact GDA, and your plot will be given to you.
Other than this, the present Pakistani government has an online complaint portal, by the name of Pakistan Citizen Portal where you can submit all your complaints and they will be brought to the notice of the respective authorities.
Exclusively for Punjab, there is an Overseas Punjab Commission to help the overseas Pakistanis in all their issues.
Special courts are running in Punjab, only for the overseas Pakistanis. Now there is an overseas special court to be started in Islamabad as well, which is sure to give a decision within 6 months of the trial.
The present Government has made things very easy for overseas Pakistanis, especially in the real estate sector, where you can do all your due diligence online, without needing to go there physically, and verify all the information from Google or the GDA website in case of Gwadar.
These are all the ways for Overseas Pakistanis to have a secure real estate investment in Pakistan, specifically Gwadar.