±A - Join Our Community

JOIN OUR FRIENDLY COMMUNITY
Learn from the experiences of other expats and make new friends in our disccussion forums and Facebook groups

±A - Cigna

±A - Read Our Guide

READ OUR GUIDE TO MOVING ABROAD
The Expat Focus Guide to Moving Abroad contains everything you need to know when planning an international relocation available now, completely free

±A - Compare Quotes and Save

COMPARE QUOTES AND SAVE MONEY
Find the best health insurance provider or foreign currency transfer specialist by comparing free quotes

±A - Listen to the Podcast

LISTEN TO THE EXPAT FOCUS PODCAST
The Expat Focus podcast features interviews with expats living abroad and service providers meeting their needs subscribe today!

±A - Expert Financial

EXPERT FINANCIAL ADVICE & SERVICES
From our tax, investment and FX partners

±A - ExpatFocus Partners

Expat Focus Partners
Become a Partner. Click Here.

Articles

Jamaica > Articles

Jamaica

Don't Buy Property In Jamaica Until You've Read This

Friday August 14, 2015 (11:24:52)

Image © Jannes Pockele on Flickr

The island nation of Jamaica is the fifth largest in the Caribbean, covering an expanse of 10,990 square kilometers. The capital city of Kingston houses a population of about 937,700, and is especially popular for its vibrant nightlife and array of restaurants. A number of expats live and work here in different industries ranging from tourism to manufacturing.

According to the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings for 2015, it is quite easy to start a business and acquire credit in Jamaica, factors which no doubt have led to many foreigners arriving at its shores over the years.

Property hotspots in Jamaica

Buyers usually head to the island’s northern coast, where properties are in great demand. The most popular properties are the more well-established ones such as Negril, St. James and St. Ann, where several golf courses, resorts and beaches are located. Other good areas to invest in real estate include Westmoreland on the southern side of the island, Runaway Bay and Discovery Bay, which is close to Puerto Seco Beach. Countryside areas like Falmouth and the surrounding region are also popular among those who prefer a quieter lifestyle. These areas are only about 15 minutes away from the coast by car. Real estate investment is also picking up in Port Antonio in Portland, known for attractions such as Frenchman’s Cove Beach and the famous Blue Lagoon.

Buying property in Jamaica

Foreigners are eligible to buy property in Jamaica without any restrictions. The process begins when the buyer makes an offer. Once the seller accepts it, a land survey is carried out. A title search is also done to check if any other claims exist or if there are conflicting interests involved in the property. Upon clearing this step, the buyer can lodge a caveat that restricts the registration of any other interest against the particular property, until after the transfer process has been completed.

Land titles in Jamaica fall under two categories. Unregistered lands are given a common law title, which can also be upgraded to a registered title. Registered titles are legal and official. Buyers are required to obtain the original title document of the property from the Office of Land and Titles. This can be done with the assistance of a lawyer.

A sale agreement is then prepared, usually by the seller’s lawyer, and is signed by buyer and seller in the presence of a lawyer. The signed agreement makes the transaction official and binding. The buyer must also pay a deposit, equivalent to 10 – 20 percent of the selling price, and pay a share of the stamp duty. The payment is usually made in installments. If a buyer wishes to use foreign currency remittance for purchasing a property, prior approval from the Bank of Jamaica is necessary. The Exchange Control Department of the Bank of Jamaica must give consent before any purchase agreements can be conducted.

Upon signing the sale agreement, an application must be made at the Office of the Registrar of Titles. Government duties must also be paid at this stage. It is important to get documents on conveyance of land stamped within a month after signing, as otherwise penalties may be imposed.

The sale is deemed completed once the transfer of the deed takes place. If the buyer has taken out a mortgage, the process can continue for up to three months from the signing date. The entire process of registering a property can take up to 41 days.

Costs

In Jamaica, lawyers are involved in every aspect of a property sale and they generally charge legal fees amounting to 1.50 to 3 percent of the purchase price. Add to this 16.5 percent General Consumption Tax or GCT. In cases where stamp duty has to be paid, the buyer and seller share the cost. Stamp duty is approximately 4 percent of the purchase price. The registration fee, which can be paid at the National Land Agency, is around 0.50 percent of the market value of the property. The seller undertakes the transfer tax and this amounts to 5 percent of the property value. If a real estate agent is involved in the process, their fees can amount to 3 to 5 percent of the purchase price, along with 16.5 GCT.

Can we improve this article? Something wrong? Let us know!


 

  Printer Friendly Format
 


Expat Health Insurance Partners


Bupa Global

Bupa Global is one of the world’s largest international health insurers. We offer direct access to over 1.3m medical providers worldwide, and we settle directly with most so you don’t have to pay up front for your treatment. We provide access to leading specialists without the need to see your family doctor first and ensure that you have the same level of cover wherever you might be, home or away.

Cigna Global

Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.