Buying Land in Jamaica? 10 Things You Need to Know

September 12, 2021
buying land in jamaica

Are you looking to buy a piece of land in Jamaica to build a place or your dream home? 

Or maybe just invest in some land that you can turn into a great tenant-friendly apartment building to rent? 

Whatever your reason may be, it is important to know the risks involved before actually buying land. 

If you are not careful, buying land could become very expensive and daunting. 

Here are some things to look for before purchasing land in Jamaica.

1. Make sure there are no easements or covenants on the property prior to purchasing it

An easement is basically a right two parties have over another’s property which restricts how an owner may use their own property. 

For example, if someone has easement that allows them access to travel over your land, you are legally obligated to keep that passage available. 

If the easement is not listed on the title for the property, it cannot be enforced against you unless you have knowledge of it before purchasing. 

This can lead to all sorts of problems down the road.

A covenant is a little different. 

Covenants are usually set out in writing by a property owner or developer and restrict what owners within certain subdivisions can do with their property. 

It may limit things like yard size required by Jamaica Parish Council rules, no pets allowed, types of fences permitted, and so on. 

Again, if covenants are not noted on the original title for the land purchased this could become an issue later on.

If you find either of these things on your property, it might be best to walk away from the deal.

2. Make sure there are no visible utilities buried in the yard

If you are planning to build your dream house in Jamaica, this is especially important. 

You will most likely have to have any utility lines near your new house moved anyway as you never know when something gets broken during the process. 

Having no utilities on site can save tons of headaches down the road, and money too! 

Not only that, but having them buried helps avoid potential termite infestations which could lead to heavy repair costs.

3. Climate and weather may pose a threat to your future purchase

Make sure to check with the National Land Agency of Jamaica to see if it’s legal to build on the land before actually making any purchase. 

While it may not seem like a big deal now, future temperature changes and weather patterns could be cause for concern if you’re already living there. 

For example, you may build your home on land that is prone to flashfloods or landslides.

What might seem like a nice climate today could end up as an uninhabitable wasteland as the years go on.

4. Investigate reports of sinkholes and earthquakes in the area before buying

Sure, they might not happen often, but when they do, it is devastating to say the least. 

The thing is, earthquakes do happen in Jamaica, just not as often as in other places in the Caribbean.

The last thing anyone wants is to make such a large purchase only to have their dream home crumble beneath them because of an earthquake or landslide due to unstable land integrity.

This is something that probably would have been included with property info anyways had you investigated thoroughly enough.

Always investigate.

5. Are any endangered species in the direct area

If you plan on building your dream home, this can put a serious damper in the process. 

Not only will it take a lot of time and money to move around or relocate any endangered species, but there is a chance that they could end up destroying your property.

While Jamaica has laws relating to endangered species, check online for what rules apply to your specific location before making the final purchase.

6. Are there any pending changes depending on further research

While land may seem cheap now, it might be worth waiting until after some future date occurs.

For example, if you were to investigate today, you might find out that the government has plans to build a new road in the area. 

This would be cause for concern if you were to buy up property in that area thinking it was an inexpensive way to build your dream home. 

Make sure whatever land you are looking into is worth buying, not just cheap.

If the land is way too cheap, there’s always a catch.

7. Will you be able to get building permits

This depends heavily on the rules of the Parish Council of where in Jamaica the land is located. 

Some places will grant any homeowner building permits with little trouble while others may make it almost impossible to get one. 

If obtaining a permit is necessary, make sure you know all the requirements before reaching out to parish officials. 

They do not like dealing with people who have no idea what they are doing.

8. Talk with neighbors about future plans

Some areas in Jamaica are known for changes which happen over and over again.

For example, an area might become very popular and increase in prices or it might just get old and no one will ever want to live there. 

When buying up property, try to see what other houses were built recently and take note of the changes that have occurred around them. 

This way you get a good idea about future plans for your own piece of property.

9. Find out how close the nearest fire station is located

If you are planning on building your dream home with a big yard for anything that needs constant care, this will be important information when deciding where to purchase land.

No one wants to buy their dream home only to lose everything in a raging inferno simply because they were too far away from a fire station. 

When buying up property, make sure you know the risks involved and how they will be mitigated .

10. Has any part of the land been used in such a way that contamination could be possible

You don’t want to buy your dream home only to find toxic waste underneath it.

Or find out it has many graves on it.

This can ruin everything that was once great about your purchase. If there are any abandoned plaza, houses, or factories around where you are purchasing land, investigate further to see if water sources have been contaminated. 

Make sure you know what is below the surface before making any purchase.

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