Buying a home in Jamaica is the goal of many Jamaicans and Returning Residents.
A big beautiful house on the hill or in a protected gated community, it’s the dream.
The thing is, paying rent for years just feels like dropping your money down a deep well. It feels pointless but it’s what most of us have to deal with at some point.
The reason for this is housing in Jamaica is pretty expensive.
A pretty decent house in a good and safe area can starts at a minimum of 15-25 Million JMD.
It’s also not surprising that the National Housing Trust (NHT) dispersed 4.37 percent more main mortgage loans in the 2018/2019 financial year, as opposed to the previous one.
On a budget, more young people are utilizing the resources they require to construct (or purchase) a property in Jamaica.
But, if you’re a first-time buyer in Jamaica, it’s vital to understand the organizations involved in the purchase of a house, especially if you don’t live in the area.
The NHT and the parish council are the two organizations with whom you’ll spend the most time throughout the procedure.
Here’s what we’ll look to discuss:
- What distinguishes you as a first-time homebuyer in Jamaica
- How to get the most out of your NHT loan
- How to get permit approval from your local parish council
Let’s Look At Who Is Considered A First Time Homeowner In Jamaica
A first-time homeowner in Jamaica is one who is buying a primary residence for the first time. This is your home, and you aren’t planning on renting it out anytime soon.
It also means you will not be using it for commercial business purposes. In fact, in some areas using your house commercial purposes like a shop or something of that nature is forbidden.
3 Steps To Buy A House In Jamaica Through NHT
Jamaica’s first-time homebuyers turn to the NHT for assistance.
You’re already paying monthly NHT contributions from your salary, so why not make use of what the agency has to offer?
Your NHT loan is not intended to be used for income-producing property. It’s simply for the purpose of creating your first primary residence. So, keep this in mind while you’re trying to figure out how to get a house from the NHT.
The fact is that the NHT is an excellent mortgage provider for your first house since their loans are the most cost-effective on the market.
You may use your mortgage to buy land, purchase a home, make improvements, or even build your first house.
Sure, there are a lot of limitations with the loan, but it’s a good place to start as a young professional interested in homeownership.
Here are some tips if you’re thinking about purchasing a home through the NHT for the first time.
Step 1: Contact a customer service representative (CSR)
Check with a customer service representative (CSR) at the NHT 6 months to a year before you want to borrow or begin construction to see if you qualify, what is required, and how much you can afford.
For further information, go to their website. Some of the minimal requirements are as follows:
- Age range must be between 18 and 65 years.
- You must be a current contributor to the NHT. You must have been actively contributing for at least two years and reside in Jamaica to be considered a contributor.
Step 2: Make sure to provide accurate information
Get as much information about the qualification procedure and the documents that are required.
As an NHT contributor, yours will be unique. When talking with the CSR, therefore, ask as many questions as possible.
With the CSR, go over the procedure to ensure that you have a clear understanding of what you must do and when. In case you have any issues, get the officer’s contact information as well.
Step 3: Budget your time before visiting the NHT office
If you want to do this consultation in person, there may be a delay. Set aside about two hours for this procedure.
There is no need for an appointment.
If you call, keep in mind that the conversation may last around 10-30 minutes. Make a list of questions ahead of time and mark them as they’re answered.
Make notes on any new inquiries you may have asked and the answers to them. For further clarity, make follow-up calls as needed.
In this video from Jaydah Talks, she goes more in detail how she got here NHT loan and along with some great tips.
Can I Use NHT To Build A House In Jamaica?
Yes, you can obtain an NHT mortgage to buy or develop a property as a first-time homeowner in Jamaica.
If you’re constructing your first house, know that the design process will take some time.
Working on the blueprint, getting it approved, and then working with the contractor to give your home the look you want is part of the design procedure.
It’s better to get the design and execution plan correct in the early phase.
You want the process to be compatible with your lifestyle, commitments, and money. Some essential things to consider include:
- Whether your fixtures and finishes are readily available and how much it would cost to install them based on your blueprint.
- What would it take to maintain the property and the associated expenses?
- Working with the appropriate individuals.
- You’ll want to make sure that the funding provided by NHT is adequate to complete a livable portion, especially if construction costs are greater than the loan sum.
The first part of your NHT construction loan should be used to finish a space with at least 500 square feet and a roof, doors, external access, bathroom facilities, necessary plumbing, electrical wiring, and a kitchen area.
Tips for Getting Permit Approval From The Parish Council When Buying A House In Jamaica
If you’re doing building, you’ll need a permit from your parish council.
In fact, before applying for an NHT construction loan, you should get the permit. The parish council’s issuing of the building permit is their seal of approval on what you intend to construct.
It is necessary if you wish to construct, upgrade, add to, or rebuild any building in the parish. Getting a permit typically takes around 8 to 12 weeks.
For example, you might consider extending the structure or reusing the space. To extend the building or repurpose rooms, you’ll need a parish council license.
Here are some pointers to help you complete your permit application as quickly as possible.
Consult an Attorney
Before you buy the property, contact an attorney about the title.
Your consultation with this professional will focus on any building limitations imposed by the title, such as use of land and minimum distance between structures within lot boundaries.
You don’t want to violate the title inadvertently, for fear that construction may be delayed significantly!
So follow the rules.
Also, seek legal assistance from a lawyer who is familiar with the procedure of purchasing a property in Jamaica.
Don’t go to your friend who’s a tax attorney.
Instead, get a lawyer that specializes in the laws surrounding house acquisition (or construction) in Jamaica.
Consult the Parish Council
Before you begin the process of submitting an application, consult with the parish council at least 2 months ahead of time.
So that you can obtain their document submission checklist and fee schedule. The fees are determined by the parish in which you’re constructing.
Schedule a meeting with a Parish Council Representative for your area
Schedule an appointment and bring with you copies of the plans to calculate the application fee.
Also make sure to obtain a quotation and the preferred form of payment in writing.
To avoid any confusion, you might want to engage the services of a third party (an architect, draughtsman, or construction manager) who has experience with this procedure.
Submit the Application
When you have the required paperwork and have paid the application fee, submit an application.
You can hire a third party, such as an architect, draughtsman, or construction manager (TP) for this as well.
Make sure to routinely check on your permit application once every 2 weeks. Keep your reference number handy so you may use it when checking the status.
Collect the permit
As soon as the paperwork and approved designs are completed, pick them up.
Keep track of the signed drawings by putting a copy in a safe, dry, and secure location. Create an electronic replica of the plans for safekeeping.
When you understand what to do each step of the way, buying a house in Jamaica becomes a lot easier.
We’ve addressed some of the early stages in this guide.
The following are some key lessons:
- When it comes to both the NHT and the parish council, make sure to follow their guidelines.
- Before applying for an NHT construction loan, you must first acquire a building permit.
- Taking responsibility for your actions early on ensures that you are aware of what is required of you at each step of the procedure. Listen carefully, make notes, and follow through with the appropriate steps.