Procedures of selling a property in T&T (continued)
Which documents do I need to have to be able to sell my property in Trinidad and Tobago?
Of course it speaks for itself that you need to have a proper Deed (whether Freehold or Leasehold) and the property has to be free of all encumbrances such as outstanding taxes, water rates, debts, etc. A Mortgage is not considered as a encumbrances, as long as you inform the Mortgage Company of your plans and do not sell the property below the outstanding Mortgage. When you get a buyer for your property, you have to notify your Mortgage Company and submit a copy of the Agreement of Sales signed by the buyer and yourself at the time the deposit was made.
Make sure this is done by an Attorney-at-Law or a qualified Real Estate Agency. If there is more than one owner to your property, make sure everyone agrees to sell (have signed statements if necessary). In case there are more owners to the property, and one or more owners are not alive anymore, make sure that letters of Administration and Probate have been filed and granted. Also according the type of Deed which can be a R.P.O. (Real Property Ordinance) or a Common Law Deed, an Ascent (removal of the deceased person(s) name from the Deed) has to be done and a Death Certificate has to be provided and submitted to the purchaser's Attorney. The Ascent can be done simultaneously by the Buyer's Attorney.
The original receipt of the last paid Land (and building) Taxes. Needles to say that this always has to be up to date. Land and building taxes are owed from the First of January of every New Year.
Cadastral Sheet - or in more known terms "The Surveyor Map" - which outlines the boundaries, size and measurements of the land. You will need this in order to apply for the WASA Clearance Certificate (read more in clause 5), and it speaks for itself that you have to be able to show a potential buyer what and where they are buying. In case you are selling a parcel of land in a New Development you have to submit
2 original Cadastrals of the parcel to be sold and proof of the Town & Country Approvals.
In order to be able to apply for the WASA Clearance Certificate you first of all need to get a Certificate of Assessment which has to be obtained at the relevant Board of Inland Revenue (Wardens Office) or Town Hall, and depending on the district it might be free or cost TT$10. or TT$20. to get this Certificate.
The WASA Clearance Certificate. As soon as an Agreement of Sale is signed and a deposit is made, you know for sure you have a buyer for your property and it is recommended to apply for the WASA Clearance Certificate immediately after the signing. You need to get the WASA Clearance Certificate whether it is house and land, or land alone. You also have to apply even if you have no WASA connection or you never paid any Water Rates. Even if there are no WASA lines at all, you still have to apply. A property Transfer can not be done until the Seller has the WASA Clearance Certificate on the relevant property. As mentioned above, it is advised to apply immediately after you received the required deposit and the Agreement of Sale is signed. Only then you know for sure you have a serious buyer for your property. The reason for applying after the signing is because the cost for the
WASA Clearance Certificate application has to be paid for by the Seller and a Clearance Certificate is only valid for 3 months, so if you apply in advance you might waste your money. The cost for applications on Domestic properties is TT$460.00. and for Commercial and Agricultural properties TT$862.50. When your application is in and you paid the required fees you can expect to pick the Clearance Certificate up within 3 weeks. I advise however to regularly keep checking WASA by phone until they tell you it's ready.
What price I can ask for my Property?
There is no set value for any property in any given area. The value of a property can vary quite a bit and depends on many different factors such as the area it's located, topography, condition, age, size, demand for properties and even the economy. For example; a 3 bedroom home in West Moorings on a lot of land might be valued at TT$3 million, while exactly the same property on the same size of land in the
Deep South of Trinidad might be valued at TT$500,000.
Therefore I always recommend to do an Official Valuation on your property so you know the market value. Besides that, as mentioned on page 1, from January 1st, 2014 every property that sells in Trinidad and Tobago must have a Valuation done on it for the Registrar General to determine the Stamp Duty. Depending on which is the higher one, the value mentioned in the Report or the actual purchase price, if they are not the same, the Registrar General determines the cost of the Stamp Duty (if any) based on the highest one of the two. The Valuation has to be done by an RICS Registered Valuer or Valuation Company and Unless otherwise agreed, organized by the Purchaser and at his/her expense. It is of course up to you to decide how much you want to ask for your property, after all it's your property, but taking into consideration that the Registrar General wants to have a valuation done on every property that sells, I think it is important to set your price as close as possible to the actual market value. This for the simple reason that if you overprice your property, you will not only price yourself out of the market, but you will also waste a lot of time and possibly money on advertising.
If you do not (yet) want to do a valuation, the best advise I can give you is to find out if there is a comparable property in the vicinity of your property which sold recently. The price it sold for should give you a good indication of the market value. Keep in mind though that you have to look at the price it actually sold for, NOT the asking price, because as we know asking price and selling price can differ quite a bit.