Steps to buying a home in Jamaica

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    Whether you are living in Jamaica or overseas, and you are planning to purchase a house here in Jamaica; and whether you are employed or self-employed, it is recommended that you get ‘pre-approved’ prior to starting your house hunting, or before you make a down payment. So what is pre-approval? Getting a mortgage pre-approval is an essential first step in the home-buying process, because real estate agents and sellers want proof of the buyer’s ability to secure a mortgage and to bid on a property.

    In addition, you, the buyer, need to establish the level of your buying power; and what your potential closing costs and monthly payments will be. How do I go about being pre-approved? The pre-approval process is quite simple, it entails providing your income details and to outline any existing debts you may have. Persons residing overseas will require a credit report, which should include their credit score. It should also be noted that you can join with other persons to purchase a property; and that similar documents will be required for the other party or parties.

    The Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) also has a joint mortgage programme with the National Housing Trust (NHT). Through this programme, JNBS and NHT combined will lend up to 90 per cent of the purchase price, or the market value, whichever is lower in the case of house purchase, or 75 per cent financing in the case of purchasing land.

    The JNBS will apply to the NHT on your behalf; and, the Trust will confirm your eligibility. You need not go to them and then come to Jamaica National, as the two entities operate a ‘one-stop shop’ mortgage processing facility

    Once JNBS is in receipt of the pre-approval documents, an assessment will be carried out; and subsequently, the pre-approval letter is issued. The information confirmed in your letter is the amount you are pre-approved for, the interest rate, the term and the monthly payment. You can now present this letter to your realtor or vendor to start your negotiations.

    three-month period

    The letter is usually valid for up to three months. If at the end of the three-month period, you have not found a property you wish to purchase, you then have the option to reapply for a new pre-approval letter.

    JNBS has more than 140 years of experience in mortgage financing and remains committed to ‘help you find your way’. If you have any queries or questions, you can contact Cassandra Francis at

    Cassandra Francis is a mobile mortgage officer. Keep sending your questions and comments and let’s continue to explore A Matter of Land, until next time, traverse well.

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