Tue | Mar 20, 2018

Oran Hall | Londoner wants to borrow to buy property in Jamaica

Published:Sunday | May 14, 2017 | 12:00 AM

QUESTION: I am looking at how to borrow to buy land in Jamaica, but am not sure if it's the same process for people living in London. I would like to buy a house, but haven't joined a contribution scheme. I don't have any deposit and would like to join a scheme. I work as a health visitor assistant in the United Kingdom full-time.

It seems like the process is very long. We don't have any justices of the peace in the UK. I can get someone in Jamaica to act on my behalf and a justice of peace in Jamaica to sign the documents. I have some of the documents, such as payslips, job letter and UK passport ready. I just need to start the application process. Can you give me some support?


FINANCIAL ADVISER: There are financial institutions, such as commercial banks and building societies, that will lend you money to buy property in Jamaica and they do not require that you to be a customer before applying for a mortgage loan.

They do require that you are able to make the required deposit on the property.

There are slight variations in the requirements of the various lending institutions and they generally have a pre-qualification process which allows them to determine how much you can afford.

They require that you submit a job letter, your last two, in some cases three, payslips from your current employer, identification, and Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN), or social security number in some cases. The documents you are required to sign at the various stages of the process should be certified by a notary public.

To begin the process, you should contact one of the mortgage-lending institutions either directly or through a representative. Once you have pre-qualified for the mortgage, you should work closely with the lending institution during the process, beginning with the application for the loan and ending with the disbursement of the money.

You should have a TRN to be able to make the purchase. If you do not, you can download the application form from www.jamaicatax.gov, complete and sign it, copy the first two pages of your passport and have a notary public sign them. You will also need to send a letter authorising the person of your choice to act for you in making the application and collecting your TRN.

You should decide exactly what you want before setting out to make this major investment. Decide the type of house you want, including its size and features and where you would like it to be. These will have a strong bearing on the price.

I suggest that you engage the services of a reputable real-estate agent or company. The website of the Realtors Association of Jamaica http://realtorsjamaica.org/ is a good place to go for this information. You will also need a reputable attorney-at-law or legal firm to handle the legal issues.

It is the responsibility of the realtor to match the property to your unique needs. It is reasonable to expect the realtor to show you what the property looks like. Technology can facilitate this easily.

Once you have satisfied yourself that you want to purchase a particular property and have secured the deposit and met the pre-qualification requirements of the lending institution, you should make an offer to the vendor either directly or through his representative.

If it is accepted, a land survey and title search should be done to identify what you are buying and to ensure that there are no other claims or conflicting interests registered against it. Your legal representative is best able to do this for you.

The next step is to sign the sale agreement, which is usually prepared by the vendor's attorney, and make the deposit. The vendor also signs that document, thus making the agreement binding on both parties. It should be submitted to the Office of the Registrar of Titles and government duties paid.

As purchaser, you will pay the following based on the value of the transaction: stamp duty, registration fee, attorney's fees and miscellaneous charges. All charges, excluding the stamp duty and registration fee, are negotiable and attract general consumption tax at the rate of 16.5 per cent. There will also be expenses related to the mortgage. The house will be yours when you have made the final payment and the title has been transferred to you.

- Oran A. Hall, principal author of 'The Handbook of Personal Financial Planning', offers personal financial planning advice and counsel. finviser.jm@gmail.com