You reside abroad and own a property in Jamaica. You may, or may not have intentions of returning here to live. Nevertheless, you wish to sell this property. Many overseas residents become frustrated with, what seems to be, idiotic bureaucracy when they are selling their properties in Jamaica. If this is your perception, it does not have to become your experience. Here are three steps to take that will save you time and money when you decide to sell your property here.
Step 1. Locate and Update the Certificate of Title
Does the property have a registered certificate of title? If so, you should be in possession of a “duplicate” copy. If you have a “common law” title or if your registered title was lost, destroyed or stolen, contact a lawyer immediately. A lawyer can apply for a new registered title for you – a process which takes at least six months to complete. Without a registered title you are not yet ready to sell.
Are you the sole owner of the property, or is the property jointly owned? If you are the sole owner, there is no complication with the ownership. However, if an owner is deceased, you have to update this information on the title before the property is ready to be sold. Again, let your lawyer sort out this matter before you try to sell.
Step 2. Hire Professional Services
If you try to sell your property without the services of a good lawyer or an efficient Realtor you are courting disaster form the outset. Hire a lawyer in Jamaica to do the conveyance on your behalf. The lawyer will do a title search, collect all monies from the purchaser’s attorney and pay over the proceeds to you when the sale is completed.
Choose one prominent Realtor to list, advertise and show your property. There is no need to ask three or four real estate agents to list your property. Through the Multiple Listing Service, a Realtor has a network of hundreds of other agents. Giving the listing to several independent agents will not get you such a wide connection.
Step 3 Maintain your Property
When was the last time you visited your property? Is someone maintaining it, paying the property tax and collecting the rent? Many non-residents leave their properties unattended only to discover, years later, that squatters have moved in. In other cases, tenants, delinquent with rent payment, refuse to move out. Hire a property management company to care for the property in your absence. It will be well worth the cost when the time comes to sell, as your property will maintain its value. Oh, don’t forget to visit the property whenever you are on the Island to ensure that the property manager is doing the job.
If you follow all of the steps in the forgoing paragraphs you are ready to sell your property without being trapped by costly pitfalls. Assist your Realtor by advertising the property yourself. For best results,use social media to advertise your property to friends and contacts. Use free internet sites such as Kijiji and Craigslist. Above all, tell you friends at work, church, the gym and social clubs. Word-of-mouth advertising in the Jamaican community is the fastest way to spread news about a good thing.
Sydney Davis is the Managing Director of Sydney Davis and Associates. He is a member of the Realtors Association of Jamaica and licensed by the Real Estate Board of Jamaica as a dealer, and property manager. Our office is located at 80 Constant Spring Road, Kingston 10, Jamaica.