If you are able to pay in cash when purchasing land or property you are one of the fortunate few, resulting in a simple and fast process for completion of the sale. Unfortunately, most of us are unable to exercise that option. However, it is still possible to become proud owners of real property with the help of finance from lenders, in fact that is the usual option for most of us.
Antigua and Barbuda is still largely a common law jurisdiction and most sale agreements are governed by the same general principles. In some countries a sales agreement has to be prepared by an Attorney-At-law, however in Antigua and Barbuda a real estate agent can also prepare this document.
Representing you, the Purchaser:-
A Lawyer or a Real Estate Agent must be proactive to assist you to protect your investment by conducting title searches by Block and Parcel number or by Index searches.
A sales agreement is needed to secure the purchase whereby each party does what is necessary to fulfill their respective obligations.
- Must reflect the intentions of both the Seller and Purchaser.
- Should accurately identify the subject matter.
- Selling price must be stated.
- A deposit of 10% of the selling price must be paid upon signing of the sales agreement.
- Closing date must be specified.
- Signatures of both the Seller and Purchaser should be witnessed by adults of sound mind who are not parties to the agreement.
- Seller must have the legal right to contract and transfer title. The Sellers’s name must be recorded on the Land Register at the Land registry Department in order to enter into any sales agreement.
- Seller must present unencumbered title, if there are encumbrances, they should be noted in the sales agreement.
- Seller must present boundary verification certificate which should be signed by the Chief Land Survey Officer. This certificate is valid for ten years, in the event the property or land sale is not within this period the closing would be interrupted until a new boundary verification certificate is issued.
- Full payment of property tax up to the date title is transferred by the Seller. This payment can also be deducted and paid to the Internal Revenue Department (IRD) by the Attorney-At-law from the sale price upon closing.
According to the Registered Land Amendment Act 2007, it is mandatory that the Chief Surveyor’s certification appears in the transfer. Lands privately owned for at least 10 years must have the Chief Surveyor’s certificate confirming that the boundaries have been authenticated. A transfer filed without this certificate cannot be registered. This is to ensure that the boundaries of Registered Lands remain accurate.
Once you the Seller and Purchaser have fulfilled your obligations a date, time and place is set for the closing. On that date, the relevant documents and purchase price are exchanged. An Attorney-At-Law licensed to practice within the jurisdiction prepares the Instrument of Transfer.
It is a rewarding moment for you the purchaser when the sale goes through. However, your most gratifying moment is holding your title deed in your hands with the knowledge that one of your dreams has been realized.