After looking at various sources, I found this helpful piece about the steps one should take when seeking to purchase a house or land in Zimbabwe. It it still recommended that you do your own due diligence to ensure you follow the prevailing laws governing real estate in Zimbabwe.
Depending on the kind of land you wish to buy, the first port of call is council, then the deeds office and surveyor general to ask for the following documents and information:
1. Subdivision permit - This is issued after layout plans have been approved.
2. Development Permit - This is issued after engineering designs have been approved by council engineers.
3. Dispensation Certificate - This is issued after a title survey has been approved by surveyor general
4. Certificate of Compliance - This is issued by council
5. Title deeds of the property - Title deeds give the legal name of the property which can be verified by the registrar of deeds. This includes the person who owns the property or an offer letter from the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works National Housing (this can be verified by the Department of Stateland or Department of Physical Planning).
6. If he/she holds an offer letter from ministry of lands, he/she needs to get a change of use permit from say agriculture to residential/housing, then the layout has to be approved by the dept of physical Planning.
7. In Harare and Bulawayo, only two local authorities are allowed to give subdivision permits (at this point in time) without passing through the ministry of local government, that is, city of Harare and city of Bulawayo only.
If he/she fails to produce any of these when you request for them then It’s highly likely that the project or development is not compliant and you might be in for some unnecessary delays. Even if he/she tries to persuade you that they will be done with all the paperwork in the near future, it is advisable to walk away. Buying property is not a complicated process if all the paperwork is present.
Investment in real estate can be one of the best investments one can ever make in life, therefore it is wise to be observant and analytical. Don’t leave any stone unturned. Conduct multi-source verification to ensure your investments are secure and above board.
Avoid the involvement of parties whose participation is not supported by notarized or legal documents.
Visit and call the government and local authorities offices.
Visit the their websites. Most councils are now online, even Deeds office has a online portal for inquiries about deeds(but you have to know the name of the property as it is on the title deed.