Road to Negril

Part 2 - Buying Property (for non-Jamaicans)

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Think you might like to buy some property in paradise? You are not alone. Many foreigners own properties in Jamaica and they are generally good investments in that they hold their value. If you do your research, wait for it, and are willing to negotiate you can get a great deal too.

Deciding to buy property in any foreign country is not an easy thing. Everything is different. The laws are different, the terminology is different, and the process is different. In some ways it is easy, in others it is confusing and confounding. But it is worth the effort. My first bit of advice is to form a network of people you can rely on for information and help.

Here is what my wife and I did – we are citizens of the USA and first time foreign property buyers. Maybe you can pick up a few tips.

Real Estate Agent

Being from the USA my first step was to contact a respected real estate agent in Jamaica. It was not difficult to find a few that worked the Jamaican market and there are even “name brand” recognizable agencies. Real estate agents are extremely helpful in answering the many questions you will have about buying property.

It helps to know where you want to look (Jamaica is a big island), the type of lifestyle you plan to enjoy, and have a general idea of what you are willing to spend. We had decided that Negril was the location so this writing is about searching in the Negril area (western end of Jamaica). It was just a matter of finding the right property. We wanted something we could lock and walk away from for extended periods of time and return on a whim to enjoy the island. And we didn’t want to spend a fortune on a golf course setting or some other typical retirement/resort type of place. Although this sounded impossible, the real estate agent set out to see what could be found.

Working with a real estate agent was where we experienced the first aspect of buying a property in Jamaica that we did not know about. Real estate agents didn’t seem to work together. It is not that they don’t like each other and feud or anything like that. It is a resource problem. There was no multiple listing type of service. An agent knows what his company has been contracted to sell and that is it. The agent might know about some other properties but only if they saw a sign and knew to keep an eye out for a client or have a good network of contacts.

Finding a top-level real estate agent is just like anything else in Jamaica, ask around. Here is a great place to start that search:

We set up a visit to the island, staying at an all-inclusive resort, but with plans to meet with the agent for a few days and visit the properties his firm represented and others. Unfortunately we did not hit on anything that worked and the real estate agent promised to contact us should anything else come up that matched our interests. Wandering about Negril we didn’t see anything obvious and this was where we’d made a mistake. We missed the most obvious tool of all – the local newspaper. Fortunately the newspaper is also available online and that can be searched from anywhere you have Internet access. Continue reading...


Part 1 - Finding a place in paradise