BUYING REAL ESTATE IN DOMINICA?
After the buyer and seller have agreed on a purchase price:
The Buyer must:
- find out, typically through a lawyer, if the land is being used as security/collateral for a debt, and ensure that the Seller is able to transfer good title.
- Visit the Physical Planning Division to ascertain whether their intended use of the land is consistent with any land use restrictions, and to ensure that any required subdivision has been approved for the land.
- Obtain three (3) survey plans/drawings of the land that describe the absolute reference points, bearings and distances that make up its boundaries, and a Valuation Report.
The costs related to obtaining these are typically borne by the buyer.
The Seller provides:
- A “Letter of Intent to Sell” that:
– describes the property being sold
– expresses their intent to sell it to the buyer
– states the selling price
– any condition for sale.
This document is an essential requirement for your lender to begin processing your loan application.
- Proof of legal ownership of the property and/or legal authority to effect a transfer of ownership of the property to the buyer.
- Details of any encumbrances/caveats that have been placed on the land.
- A copy of the Notice of Approval from the Physical Planning Division relating to a subdivision or change of use, if applicable.
Lawyer and Fees:
- After receiving a copy of the valuation, agreed purchase price and details of legal ownership, the lawyer retained by the Buyer will provide the Buyer with a statement showing all the necessary fees – government and legal – to be paid. The typical fees payable by a Buyer total 10.95%:
|Government Stamp Duty||4%|
|Government Judicial Fees||2.5%|
|Government Assurance Fund||1%|
|VAT on Legal Fees||0.45%|
- The lawyer will receive the funds from the Buyer and hold them in escrow until the Seller comes in to sign the transfer document. Typically, the Seller will receive payment at that time and hand over the original title document to the Buyer’s lawyer. The lawyer will withhold the government fee payable by Sellers of 2.5%.
The agent’s fee is customarily deducted by the buyer’s lawyer and paid directly to the agent.
- The lawyer will ensure that all required documents are compiled and government fees paid then present everything to the Titles Registry for processing of the transfer of title to the Buyer.
Helpful note: the Registry does not guarantee a processing time because this depends on the workload, and in cases where the land being bought is part of larger title, the surveyor must visit the registry to demarcate the area of purchased land on the plan of the larger portion. In the latter case, the Registry needs this done before processing the transfer.
Aliens Land Holding Regulation
If the Buyer is considered an Alien according to the Aliens Land Holding Regulation no. 17 of 1995, that is:
– an individual who is not a citizen of Dominica or one of the OECS Member states;
– a company not incorporated in Dominica or one of the OECS Member states;
– a company incorporated in Dominica or one of the OECS Member states in which at least one half of its membership are not citizens of Dominica or one of the OECS Member states;
the payment of an Alien Land Holding Fee of 10% is required in addition to the fees listed under the Lawyer and Fees section above, and is calculated using the purchase price or the market value, whichever is greater.
If the Buyer is an Alien and wishes to purchase more than one (1) acre for residential purposes or more than three (3) acres for trade or business, the Buyer:
- Must obtain an Aliens Land Holding Licence. The application for this licence includes:
– Particulars of the ownership, location and current value of the property in question;
– The purpose for which the property is to be utilized;
– The survey plan of the land – prepared by a licensed surveyor;
– Receipt for payment of the Application Fee of EC$150.00;
– Any other information required by the Minister for Agriculture.
- Assuming Cabinet approves the application and the licence is granted, the Buyer then pays the Aliens Land Holding Fee of 10% mentioned above. This fee is in addition to the fees listed under the Lawyer and Fees section above.
To be clear, the Aliens Land Holding Licence is not required when an Alien is acquiring lands one (1) acre or less for residential purposes, or three (3) acres or less for trade or business. However, whether the Aliens Land Holding Licence is required or not, the Aliens Land Holding Fee is payable.
It is important to note that the Act also provides for “exempting certain development projects or aliens from the provisions of the Act, such as housing, industry, tourism, agriculture, fisheries, and forestry, or where it is in the public interest to do so.” – Invest Dominica Authority
Get In Touch
Need help with buying property in Dominica? Use the form below or click here to contact us or call our office on telephone: +1 (767) 617-4191 / (767) 440-7712.