The Lowdown on Real Estate in Jakarta


By Carrie Crozier

You’ve seen testimonials and client reviews for EMC Relocations and are very likely aware of the core philosophy of their business to provide a boutique service that meets the client’s unique needs. No cookie-cutter real estate here!

But beyond that, what does real estate in Jakarta look like? Is it the same as in some other major cities? I think you’ll be surprised at the answer!

Agent selection. So you’ve arrived, or are planning to arrive very soon, and the first step is to seek out real estate agents and engage around 2 – 4 so you can get the widest range of home selection… Right?!

Well actually, no! The reason you might do that in other cities is because often different sellers or property owners will sign on with one real estate company and offer them exclusive rights. That is very uncommon here. Almost all properties are completely open to any real estate agent and the idea of exclusive rental or selling rights is very rare.

If you engage multiple real estate agents, what is more likely to happen is that you get shown the same homes multiple times. A waste of your time, your agents time and the owners time!

Of course, there will always be a chance that an agent isn’t right for you. It’s recommended to give each relationship a chance and then if it’s not working for you, simply let them know that you plan to move on.

Next assumption – there must be so many available homes! You are driving down a street in Kemang, for example, and you see what appears to be many available homes, where some even have rental signs posted outside the gates. But later, when you speak to your real estate agent, they tell you there aren’t any available places in that area. What is going on? Are they hiding homes from you?

Very unlikely! Homes in Jakarta are built with specific markets in mind. Some homes are designed specifically for western expats who are looking for things like large, spacious rooms, high ceilings, big kitchens, separate living areas for helpers, garden areas, pools, etc. These requirements are very different to what locals are looking for and often, expat and local housing is mixed throughout the streets in the areas you are searching for.

It is also a fact that not all areas in Jakarta are expat suburbs. What may look like a highly-populated residential area may not actually contain ANY expat-suitable housing. A good real estate agent can help you navigate this and, after listening to your needs and requirements, should direct you to the appropriate (and limited!) suburbs for your search.

Here are other variables to consider that will affect where you should choose to look for a home and that also serve to narrow the field of suitable expat homes:

  • Proximity to mosques: The 5 times daily call to prayer can be a charming part of life for non-Muslims living in Jakarta – but it may not be something you want to hear every morning around 4 am. It’s important to know how close the location is and how likely it is you will hear the calls from inside.
  • Flood zones: Anyone who has lived through the wet season in Jakarta knows how quickly some areas flash-flood during the frequent and intense rainstorms. They also know the areas that are unlikely to flood – and so will a good real estate agent!
  • Age of the home: Like anywhere, the older the home, the more likely there are to be maintenance issues. Older homes can be full of character as well, which can add to their appeal. An expert real estate agent will help you find a safe balance between charm and constant problems.
  • Credible landlords: With many expats coming to Jakarta on contracts of 2 – 5 years, your real estate agent has likely dealt with many of the landlords in the homes they show you several times. They can help navigate between who is credible and trustworthy, steering you away from homes where this may not be the case.
  • Distance to school/office: This is a key question you will always be asked because traffic in Jakarta is no joke! Locally referred to as “macet”, heavy traffic is a fact of life and your time spent in a vehicle can be greatly reduced by making location choices with these daily commutes in mind.

Lastly, let’s talk budget. In some countries, you may keep your top budget limit close to your chest, whether your budget is personal or company driven, in order to get the best deal. Currently in Jakarta, the real estate market is very tight, with many expats having returned post-covid, and so rental demand is higher than ever.

So, be honest about your budget. Your real estate agent should be very used to working within corporate budgets. They will not want to waste your time by showing you something over budget. On the flip side, they will likely know exactly what kind of homes you can expect to find in your budget and you can save a lot of time having this discussion upfront.

Open communication with your agent and an understanding about some of these key real estate principles in Jakarta will help you be able to relax and enjoy the process of finding your new Jakarta home. Happy hunting!

Are you currently working with an agent in Jakarta but don’t feel they’re following the processes outlined above? Contact EMC now to get started on your journey right away, the right way!


A Canadian wife and mother who loves to travel and try new everything: food, experiences,
books – I’ll try anything once! Our Canadian family has been living as expats for over 10 years
but this new Indonesian experience is our first with our American-born children.

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