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  • Ja Property Associates

BUYING JAMAICAN PROPERTY (LEGAL PROCEDURES- SIMPLIFIED)


1. Offer / Acceptance

The realtor or seller’s agent usually requires that potential purchasers complete an Offer to Purchase. The forms (attach standard form here) requires details of Buyer(s), TRN, Offer price, deposit, etc.

Once the seller accepts an offer, the Realtor or seller’s agent, sends this to their Attorney-at-Law (who has carriage of sale) who will contact the Purchaser’s Attorney-at-Law.


2. Agreement for Sale

The Agreement for Sale is then prepared, normally by the vendor´s lawyer.

Attorney sends by RTGS or prepares cheque for Deposit and Half of Attorney Costs for preparing Agreement for Sale (usually between ($80-$100K)

Agreement signed by Both Parties, each in the presence of an Attorney / Justice of Peace or Notary Public (usually by persons residing overseas).

The transaction becomes official and binding upon signing the agreement.

After signing the sale agreement, Sale Agreement along with copy of Title are sent to Stamp office for assessment.


Transfer of Ownership

Once the documents are duly stamped, Instrument of Transfer and Transfer Tax (proof of payment) is usually submitted to the Office of the Registrar of Titles, and registration fees paid.


An important reminder: documents on conveyance of land must be stamped within 30 days of signing, to avoid substantial penalties.

The transfer of the deed signals the completion of the sale. If the purchase is in cash, the time it takes to complete will depend largely on the participating entities. On the other hand, if a mortgage is involved, the completion can last up to three months or more from the date of signing.

The whole process of registering a property can take around 120 days to complete.


TRANSACTION COSTS TABLE

The complete transaction costs include all costs of buying a property - lawyers´ fees, notaries´ fees, registration fees, taxes, agents´ fees, etc.


Legal fees: In Jamaica, Lawyers attend to almost every aspect of a property transaction. Legal fees are generally around 2.5% to 3% of the purchase price, plus 16.5% General Consumption Tax (GCT).


Stamp duty: Stamp duty is equally shared between the buyer and the seller. Currently, stamp duty is $5000 ($2500 paid by each party)


Registration fee: Registration fee is around 0.50% of the property value. It is payable at the National Land Agency.


Transfer tax: Transfer tax of 2% of property price is paid by the seller.


Real Estate Agent´s Fee Real estate agent´s fee is generally 3% to 5%, plus 16.5% GCT, and is negotiable. Traditionally, the seller pays the agent´s fee.


Mortgage Costs and Miscellaneous Fees: Mortgage costs include stamping, registering, Commitment Fees, documentation fees are some costs associated with mortgage transactions. These vary with each institutions and are calculated based on the value of the property.

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