Registering Property Methodology

Figure 1 - What are the time, cost and number of procedures required to transfer property between 2 local companies?

Doing Business records the full sequence of procedures necessary for a business (the buyer) to purchase a property from another business (the seller) and to transfer the property title to the buyer’s name so that the buyer can use the property for expanding its business, use the property as collateral in taking new loans or, if necessary, sell the property to another business. The process starts with obtaining the necessary documents, such as a copy of the seller’s title if necessary, and conducting due diligence if required. The transaction is considered complete when it is opposable to third parties and when the buyer can use the property, use it as collateral for a bank loan or resell it (figure 1). The ranking of economies on the ease of registering property is determined by sorting their distance to frontier scores for registering property. These scores are the simple average of the distance to frontier scores for each of the component indicators (figure 2).

Figure 2 - Registering property transfer of property between 2 local companies

Every procedure required by law or necessary in practice is included, whether it is the responsibility of the seller or the buyer or must be completed by a third party on their behalf. Local property lawyers, notaries and property registries provide information on procedures as well as the time and cost to complete each of them. The registering property indicators do not measure the accessibility of property registration systems, the legal security offered by formal registration, the use of informal property registration systems or the equity of land policies.

To make the data comparable across economies, several assumptions about the parties to the transaction, the property and the procedures are used.

Assumptions about the parties

The parties (buyer and seller):

  • Are limited liability companies.
  • Are located in the periurban area of the economy’s largest business city. For 11 economies the data are also collected for the second largest business city (see cities list).
  • Are 100% domestically and privately owned.
  • Have 50 employees each, all of whom are nationals.
  • Perform general commercial activities.

Assumptions about the property

The property:

  • Has a value of 50 times income per capita. The sale price equals the value.
  • Is fully owned by the seller.
  • Has no mortgages attached and has been under the same ownership for the past 10 years.
  • Is registered in the land registry or cadastre, or both, and is free of title disputes.
  • Is located in a periurban commercial zone, and no rezoning is required.
  • Consists of land and a building. The land area is 557.4 square meters (6,000 square feet). A 2-story warehouse of 929 square meters (10,000 square feet) is located on the land. The warehouse is 10 years old, is in good condition and complies with all safety standards, building codes and other legal requirements. It has no heating system. The property of land and building will be transferred in its entirety.
  • Will not be subject to renovations or additional building following the purchase.
  • Has no trees, natural water sources, natural reserves or historical monuments of any kind.
  • Will not be used for special purposes, and no special permits, such as for residential use, industrial plants, waste storage or certain types of agricultural activities, are required.
  • Has no occupants, and no other party holds a legal interest in it.


A procedure is defined as any interaction of the buyer or the seller, their agents (if an agent is legally or in practice required) or the property with external parties, including government agencies, inspectors, notaries and lawyers. Interactions between company officers and employees are not considered. All procedures that are legally or in practice required for registering property are recorded, even if they may be avoided in exceptional cases (table 1). It is assumed that the buyer follows the fastest legal option available and used by the majority of property owners. Although the buyer may use lawyers or other professionals where necessary in the registration process, it is assumed that the buyer does not employ an outside facilitator in the registration process unless legally or in practice required to do so.

Table 1 - What do the registering property indicators measure?


Time is recorded in calendar days. The measure captures the median duration that property lawyers, notaries or registry officials indicate is necessary to complete a procedure. It is assumed that the minimum time required for each procedure is 1 day, except for procedures that can be fully completed online, for which the time required is recorded as half a day. Although procedures may take place simultaneously, they cannot start on the same day, again with the exception of procedures that can be fully completed online. It is assumed that the buyer does not waste time and commits to completing each remaining procedure without delay. If a procedure can be accelerated for an additional cost, the fastest legal procedure available and used by the majority of property owners is chosen. If procedures can be undertaken simultaneously, it is assumed that they are. It is assumed that the parties involved are aware of all requirements and their sequence from the beginning. Time spent on gathering information is not considered.


Cost is recorded as a percentage of the property value, assumed to be equivalent to 50 times income per capita. Only official costs required by law are recorded, including fees, transfer taxes, stamp duties and any other payment to the property registry, notaries, public agencies or lawyers. Other taxes, such as capital gains tax or value added tax, are excluded from the cost measure. Both costs borne by the buyer and those borne by the seller are included. If cost estimates differ among sources, the median reported value is used.