Have you heard one of those horror stories about access problems in Bali? If not, you haven’t been on the island long enough. It is one of the most important issues you need to check before you buy a property. We know countless stories, where someone bought a villa and shortly after moving in finds the access road blocked, and walking becomes the only way to get home. Why did that happen? Typically, the access road is not public but belongs to an individual or the community and in order to be allowed to use it, adjacent neighbors have to pay a contribution towards the cost of maintenance or towards the initial cost of putting the road in, paving it, acquiring it, etc. Whilst blocking one’s access is certainly not the friendliest way of welcoming a new resident, the issue could have been prevented if the notary or your lawyer had inquired about the nature of the access road before making you sign. If on your certificate the access road is marked as ‘Jalan’ (road) then it means it is public and there should be no issue. Still, you better check with the head of the ‘banjar’ or the village to make sure that there is no other hidden issue with you using that road. However, if on the certificate there is no written explanation regarding the nature of the access road, then you must be investigating it very carefully.
Talking to one’s future neighbors is certainly a good idea. You may learn a lot. For example, you are about to be living next to a cemetery. You or the locals may not be worried about ghosts, however, most ethnic Chinese will never even consider buying such a property. So be aware of narrowing your sales prospects should you ever decide to move on and put your property on the market. Also, you may have noticed a foul smell on certain days when visiting your dream villa, especially when the wind blows from a certain direction. It could be a nearby pig farm. Nothing uncommon in the countryside. But worth finding out before moving in. Otherwise, you may get involved in a tug of war with the pig raising family next door and be asked a handsome sum to solve the problem.
Noise pollution is another increasingly disturbing problem in Bali. It’s not only those motorbikes with their modified ‘knalpots’ (Indonesian for exhaust), but also the occasional racing car that mysteriously made its way from Italy to Bali. And then, it’s the pumping bass from the neighbor’s kids’ sound system that starts as early as 6 am in the morning and never seems to stop. Those soundwaves travel through incredibly thick walls. What to do? Well, check out your neighborhood thoroughly so that you are at least aware of these issues. I guess that the business of soundproofing homes has a bright future in Bali.
Last but not least, what about security in your neighborhood? The local ‘banjar’ or village usually has its own security personnel patrolling the area. They may be operating from a particular post or little Bale nearby. It’s a good idea to get the phone number of the head of security in case you need help. Also, find out whether there are neighbors that employ their own ‘Satpam’ (security) and whether you could contribute to the cost if you don’t want to employ your own security staff.