Written by Cecily Lees – Safe Haven Real Estate

Most properties in Dominica have registered title which makes the process of buying easier. That
does not mean there are not pitfalls. Here are a few tips to follow to avoid those pitfalls when
buying that dream property:

Before putting your offer in writing, check that the person who purports to be the owner is indeed
the owner and the sole owner, as joint ownership requires the agreement of all parties.
Ask for a copy of the title documents and from that you will see whether there are any caveats
(these usually pertain to mortgages). If there is no title document, the land is unregistered and you
should consult a lawyer before going further.
If buying a plot from a larger portion of land, check that the owner has obtained planning permission
to sell the smaller piece, i.e. to subdivide. If not you may not get planning permission to build your house.
Buying a house
If you are buying a house and have any concerns about the quality of construction, obtain a structural
survey. Unless this is specified, when your attorney tells you that he will obtain a survey, he is referring only
to a survey of the land.

Alien Land Holding
If you are buying more than three acres for business or one acre for residential purposes you will need an Alien Land
Holding Licence. If the parcel you wish to buy is large, it is very unlikely that you will get a licence if you only intend to
put a residence on the property. Since closing will be conditional upon you getting permission to buy, your offer must
reflect this.
A deposit should not be given to the vendor. You may run into problems, for example, if there is a caveat on the
title, because the seller has a mortgage from the bank; on completion there may not be enough funds to satisfy the
bank. Assuming everything is in order, you can now put your offer in writing.

Categories: Dominica

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