building vs buying a dream home in bali

Category : Adventure | Posted On Mar 26, 2024

Bali has long been a magnet for expats and investors seeking a slice of paradise. Known for its lush landscapes, vibrant culture, and welcoming locals, the Island of Gods offers a unique living experience that blends modern amenities with traditional Balinese charm. 

However, one critical decision faced by those looking to make Bali their home is whether they should build or buy. While constructing a home in Bali is often perceived as affordable, is it truly more cost-effective than purchasing an existing property? 

The Basics of Building in Bali

Building a home in Bali presents an alluring opportunity to create a living space that perfectly aligns with one's vision. However, this journey is laden with complexities, particularly for foreigners. Here's an overview of the building process in this tropical paradise.

Understanding Land Ownership Laws

Foreigners face unique challenges in Bali due to Indonesian law, which restricts direct land ownership by non-Indonesian citizens. However, several legal mechanisms, such as leasehold agreements and long-term rental contracts, enable foreigners to control land. Navigating these options requires careful legal counsel to ensure compliance and security.

Choosing the Right Location

Bali offers a diverse range of offerings, from bustling beachfront to serene rice fields. The location of your build can significantly influence the cost and regulations involved. Factors such as access to amenities, zoning laws, and the local community's sentiment toward foreign builders should be considered.

Design and Architecture

Balinese architecture is renowned for its aesthetic appeal and harmonious blend with nature. Working with a local architect can ensure that your home meets your expectations and respects Balinese architectural traditions and environmental considerations.

Obtaining Permits and Approvals

Building in Bali requires navigating a complex web of bureaucratic procedures. Securing building permits (PGB/SLF, formerly IMB) is crucial and can be a time-consuming process. It's essential to adhere to local regulations, including height restrictions, building materials, and environmental impact assessments.

Construction and Quality Control

Once the planning stage is complete, construction begins. Working with reputable builders and maintaining regular quality checks is vital. The tropical climate of Bali necessitates specific construction methods and materials to ensure the longevity and safety of the structure.

Cost Factors in Building a House in Bali

When considering building a house in Bali, understanding the various cost factors involved is essential. These include land prices, construction costs, and the cost of design and architecture.

1. Land Prices: The cost of land in Bali varies significantly by region. For example:

  • In Canggu, a popular area known for its beaches, restaurants, and nightlife, the average yearly land leasehold price is around IDR 25 million ($1,600)/100 square meters (are).

  • Uluwatu, known for its stunning cliff views and beaches, offers more affordable land prices. The average price is IDR 15 million ($1,000)/are/year.

  • In Ubud, known for its cultural significance and natural beauty, the average yearly land leasehold costs around IDR 5.2 million ($330)/are.

  • Seminyak, a more upscale area, has higher land costs, with an average yearly leasehold price of IDR 37 million ($2,400)/are.

2. Construction Costs: The costs of materials and labor for construction in Bali can vary widely. The quality of materials chosen also plays a significant role in the overall cost. Generally, the cost of building a villa ranges from IDR 7.5 million ($473) to IDR 23 million ($1,449) per square meter. The choice between traditional Balinese and modern designs with different material and labor requirements can influence these costs.

3. Design and Architecture: Choosing between traditional Balinese architecture and modern designs can significantly impact the cost. Traditional designs often require specific materials and skilled craftsmanship, while modern designs might involve different technology and materials.

Buying/owning option

Building a home in Bali offers the chance to create a custom space, but it involves significant time and planning. For those not ready for such a commitment, buying an existing villa is a viable and appealing alternative. This option eliminates the complexities of construction and legal nuances around land ownership for foreigners. It also allows for a quicker transition into enjoying the Balinese lifestyle.

  1. Immediate Availability: Unlike the building process, which can take considerable time from planning to completion, buying an existing property offers immediate availability. This means you can start enjoying your Bali home much sooner.

  2. Variety of Choices: When purchasing a property, you have a wide range of choices regarding location, style, and size. Whether you prefer a beachfront villa, a quiet retreat in the hills of Ubud, or a modern home in the bustling areas of Seminyak or Canggu, there's something to suit every preference.

  3. Ease of Transaction: Buying a property is generally simpler than building. It involves fewer steps, and you can leverage the expertise of real estate agents to navigate the process. This includes handling legalities, which can be particularly challenging for foreigners.

  4. Investment Opportunities: Purchasing a villa in Bali can be a sound investment. Bali's property market has shown resilience and growth, particularly in areas popular with tourists. Villas in prime locations can also be rented out, providing a steady income stream.

At Kibarer Property, we pride ourselves on offering a wide range of villas for sale across Bali. Our portfolio is tailored to suit various tastes and budgets, ensuring we have something for everyone. Whether you're in search of a luxurious beachfront villa or a quaint home in the tranquil countryside, our collection likely includes the perfect property for you. 


The decision between building and buying a house in Bali hinges on several factors, primarily revolving around cost-effectiveness, personal needs, and readiness to embark on the project. Building a house in Bali allows for a customized living space but comes with its own set of challenges, including navigating land ownership laws for foreigners, obtaining permits, and managing construction costs. The cost of land varies significantly across regions, with places like Seminyak and Canggu being more expensive than Uluwatu or Ubud. The construction costs also depend on the choice of materials and design​​​​.

On the other hand, buying a house in Bali, especially through agencies like Kibarer Property, offers a quicker and possibly less stressful route to owning property in Bali. Kibarer Property provides various villas across the island, catering to different preferences and budgets. This option might be more suitable for those unprepared for the commitment and challenges of building a house from scratch.

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