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Buying a house in Jamaica - Questions & Answers

by Alfonso

Question about Buying A House In Jamaica

1.- How can anyone who lives in the USA can start the process for buying a house in Jamaica if you're planning to move to that beautiful island?

2.- What's the recommended Bank or financial institutions available?

3.- Which location can you advise me to look for a house: Kingston, Montego Bay or Ocho Rios?

Answers by Tracey Campbell - Remax Consultant (

  1. How can anyone who live in the USA can start the process for buying a house in Jamaica if you're planning to move to that beautiful island?


    Buying a house, land or commercial property in Jamaica, is a fairly simple process without any restrictions, whether you are a Jamaican or a Foreigner.

    The process begins when the buyer makes an offer for the property you want to purchase. Usually, a good Real Estate Agent would be able to assist in your search to ensure all your major criteria are met.

    Once the seller accepts, 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.

    It is best at this stage to retain the services of a lawyer licensed to practice in Jamaica to represent you throughout the process as their job is to ensure your interests are properly represented.

    A sale agreement is then prepared, usually by the seller’s lawyer, and is signed by the buyer and seller in the presence of a lawyer, JP, or Notary Public if the seller resides overseas.

    The signed agreement makes the transaction official and binding. The buyer must also pay a deposit, equivalent to 10 or 20% of the selling price, and pay a share of the stamp duty. The balance of 90% would then be due when property is ready to be transferred.

    The sale is 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 as banks require stipulations that may cause certain delays. The entire process of registering a property can take up to 45 days or even as much as 90 days.

    Please note that anyone doing business in Jamaica, including buying property, needs to have a trn (tax registration number). The Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN) can be obtained through the Tax Administration of Jamaica (TAJ) (website here) and must be obtained before an individual or entity may own land in Jamaica.

  2. What's the recommended Bank or financial institutions available?


    Institutions such as Jamaica National Bank, Victoria Mutual Building Society, National Commercial Bank, Sagicor Bank, and Bank of Nova Scotia are the leading institutions providing mortgages in Jamaica.

    The mortgage rates are advertised on each lender’s website.

    The minimum percentage of the loan amount you’ll need to provide as a down payment is advertised on each lender’s website.

    The maximum number of years for which the loan would be provided is also advertised on each lender’s website.

    An agent of the Bank would inform you of eligibility based on your income and expenditure and would help to determine the amount you would be approved for.

    In my experience as a Realtor, some Foreigners prefer to take out home equity on their home to purchase property in Jamaica as they have indicated the interest rate is less than securing a mortgage here in Jamaica, furthermore, some banks only give a percentage of purchase price and not the 100% to foreigners living abroad. You can read more about Jamaican banks here.

  3. Which location can you advise me to look for a house: Kingston, Montego Bay or Ocho Rios?

    ANSWER by Wellesley

    All three locations present some great opportunities. It's funny, I live in Montego Bay (Bogue Village) but always had thoughts about living in Ocho Rios.

    But again, it depends on what you are looking for.

    All things being equal though, in total, Kingston, has the most developed properties and best amenities for living (Transportation, Health Facilities, Schools, Airport, Shopping, Entertainment, etc.) but Montego Bay, the 'second city' is not too far behind.

    If you prefer the sweet blend of touristy life with less of the capital city's hustle and bustle, then Ocho Rios is your bet.

    You can learn more about the touristy side of the main cities in Jamaica here.

I hope this helps.

As usual, I welcome your comments here.

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