PROCEDURES OF SELLING A PROPERTY IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
When you want to sell your property yourself, there are a number of documents you need to have in place and certain things you need to know.
Firstly it is not necessary for you to seek the services of an Attorney, as the Title Searches and Conveyance (Transfer) is done by the Attorney of the buyer (or Mortgage Company).
Initially the Attorney of the buyer, or your Real Estate Agent will prepare an Agreement of Sale in which basically is stated who is selling and who is buying for what price and under which conditions.
Please note that,
even though there are many very professional, reliable and honest Real Estate Agents and Companies, it is advised to use a Real Estate company which is a Member of the Association of Real Estate Agents (AREA), because Registered Agents have to adhere by a strict code of Ethics.
When the Agreement of Sale is ready all parties will meet by either the Buyer's Attorney, or your Real Estate Agent where the signing will take place. The Agreement of Sale should be accompanied by a deposit which usually is 10% of the purchase price, but on very large sums this can be negotiated.
The Deposit should be held in Escrow* (*a special account on which client's funds are held for safe keeping) by the Attorney of the buyer or your Real Estate Agent, until the closing of the sale which usually will be on or before 90 days after signing of the Agreement of Sale.
In those 90 Days the Attorney of the buyer will do Title Searches on your property to make sure there are no encumbrances. All Legal Fees involved will be at the expense of the Buyers.
If everything is in order, the Attorney will prepare the Conveyance (transfer) and all parties will meet again by the Buyers' Attorney on or before the 90 days to close the sale.
In case the Attorney finds an encumbrance or other problem on your property you have to fix this problem. If it is a Legal problem, it can be done either through your own Attorney, or if it does not cause a conflict of interest, it can be done by the Attorney of the Buyers. This will be of course at your expense.
Once the problem is rectified, the sale can close.
The next phase would be for the Attorney to send the Memorandum of Transfer or the New Deed to the Registrar General to be registered.
PLEASE TAKE NOTE: Since 2014 it is mandatory that every Deed which is sent to the Registrar General to be Registered, has to be accompanied by a recent Valuation Report not older than 6 months. The Valuation has to be done by a Valuer or Valuation Company which is a Member of-, or RICS Registered (Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors). This is usually organized by, and at the expense of the Purchaser.
In case the problem can not be rectified by you or your Attorney, the Buyers need to get their full Deposit back from the Attorney or Agent who is holding the Deposit in Escrow and the sale is off.
If for whatever reason the Buyers can not close on time or they change their mind on buying, they will loose their Deposit which will be handed over to you, and they also have to pay the Attorney's fees.
I do not live in Trinidad and Tobago, How can I sell my Property?
If you are residing outside of Trinidad and Tobago and it is not possible for you to be personally present for the signing of the Agreement of Sale and/or the closing of the Sale, that is not a problem.
The Agreement of Sale can be done by e-mail and at the time of closing the Conveyance documents will be sent to you via a Courier service such as FedEx or DHL. When you receive the documents you take them to a Notary Public near you. There the Notary Public will prepare the documents according to the instructions given by the Attorney of the buyer. Then you will sign the Conveyance in front of the Notary Public after which the Notary Public notarises them and you send everything back to the Attorney by Courier service (I recommend to make copies first).
All the cost involved is of course at your own expense, because officially you have to be present in Trinidad and Tobago to close the sale.
It is strongly recommended however that you try your best to be personally present in Trinidad and Tobago to close the sale to avoid unnecessary problems which lead to loss of time and wasting money.
For Example if the Notary Public makes an error, everything has to be done over again at your expense.
The next page deals with the documents you need to have and asking price.
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