Many homebuyers choose to buy/rent village houses, the main reason is because most of the village houses are located in the suburbs, far away from the commotion of the city. There are many positive aspects of living in the suburbs, like being able to feel the tranquility of nature, the low density population, the choice of keeping pets and so on. However, buying a village house is not the same as other general properties. The following frequently asked questions are for your reference:
Common Problems
1. The ownership of the village house is unclear, it must be determined whether the ownership of the village house is traded with the real owner, and whether the address of the village house is in line with the area planned by the government. Vendors may be asked to provide the lease or approval issued by the government. If the village house includes roofs, gardens and other buildings, it should be checked whether it is an unauthorised building and if it is included in the lease.
2. There are restrictions on the transfer of land or village houses, such as land premiums, etc. According to government laws, village houses must pay land premiums before they can be freely resold in the market. Check the lease or land grant documents carefully to determine if there are any restrictive provisions.
3. Development conditions of the breached lease, new grant or building licence of the village house. The buyer or their attorney should conduct a search at the Land Registry and ask the seller to submit all relevant documents before signing the sale and purchase agreement.
4. The completed village house is out of the lot area, or has minor violations and fails to apply for exemption. Whether the village house has all the valid documents issued by the government, such as the Letter of Satisfaction, Assignment, Building Deed, and Exemption Letter, etc; determine whether the land granting process of the property and the building structure is legal and safe, to ensure that it can be freely resold in the future.
5. The right to use the road is unclear or there is no road to enter the house. Enquiries can be made to the Lands Department through a property agent or surveyor.
6. Building a village house without approval from the authorities. Try to avoid buying uncompleted/off-the-plan village houses
7. The development of village houses is unfinished. Existing village houses can be inspected on the spot, the purchase of unfinished village houses should be avoided as much as possible, buying existing village houses is relatively secure.
8. Bank not making enough mortgage Most banks tend to be conservative in the valuation of village houses. Even if they can estimate the full price, they do not intend to undertake mortgages as high as 70% of the property price (generally, they can only undertake mortgages of up to 50-60% of the property price), so before purchasing the village house and signing the preliminary agreement, you should ask the bank to appraise the village house and get the maximum loan amount approved.
Other considerations
1. There are many trees and plants near the village houses, so there are more possibilities of getting into contact with big insects and snakes there than in the city; it is also more common for neighbours to keep dogs and cats, so families with children should be especially careful.
2. If the village house is located in a low-lying area or near a slope, more attention will be needed for the repair and maintenance of the nearby canals and sloping roofs, as there may be flooding and landslides during the rainy season.
3. Check whether the fresh water in the unit is supplied by the nearby water well or the street pipe from the Water Supplies Department. If it is well water, it may not be safe, even if boiled.
4. Because most village houses are located in the suburbs, the transportation may not be convenient. Buyers should put the time and cost of transportation into consideration for work and daily activities; remote village houses might not be able to normally receive mobile phone network, free TV signal and cable TV signal.
5. The procedures for buying and selling village houses are different from most buildings. Before buying a house, you must consult a lawyer for professional advice, you should choose a lawyer who has experience in dealing with village house sales to review the deed in detail to protect your rights and interests.
  Home buyers may also refer to the booklet <> published by the Lands Department, or contact the Lands Department for enquiries.
  Lands Department Address: 20/F, North Point Government Offices, 333 Java Road, North Point, Hong Kong
  Tel: 2525 6694
  Fax: 2868 4707