Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Buying Jamaican Real Estate - Precontract Matters

Buying Real Estate in Jamaica.

Some of the preliminary issues that a buyer should consider are:

  • Price: The property is usually advertised in the newspaper classifieds or listed with a real estate agent at an asking price set by the Vendor. Negotiations can take place through the realtor or your attorney to seek a reduction in price.
  • Property: Sometimes the contract contains some strong conditions binding the Purchaser to buy the property as is and/or absolving the Vendor of his standard obligations. Thus a purchaser prior to signing a contract should be mindful to address certain points.
        1. Tenants may be living in the property and the contract may be subject to the tenancy.
        2. Thorough home inspections as conducted in the United States are not usually a condition of the contract so buyers must be willing to take this upon themselves or bear the risk of buying real estate with expensive patent defects.
        3. If you are obtaining mortgage financing you will have to have the property surveyed and valued. The survey will address issues such as breaches of restrictive covenants and discrepancies between the buildings and/or boundaries and the registered plan. These costs are for the Purchaser.
  • Title: Some people conduct title searches after execution of the contract but I prefer to do it before. The title shows the name of the registered proprietor, the description of the property, mortgages and other legal interests. Searches can also be conducted to determine:
        1. any equitable interests such as charges which are not shown on the face of the title.
        2. whether any fraudulent activities have been associated with the relevant title.
        3. if the registered proprietor is a company. Searches should be made at the relevant registry to determine whether the company is still listed and the principals thereof.
In addition, if a prospective buyer is hoping to get a mortgage financing he should visit a reputable financial institution to see if he could pre-qualify.

After satisfying himself about the above issues the Purchaser will then go on to matters of contract.

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