Real Estate in Jamaica
Last updated on Jan 06, 2023
Summary: An expat looking to buy a home in Jamaica should start by researching the different areas of the country and deciding which one best suits their needs. They should then contact a local real estate agent to help them find a suitable property. Homes in Jamaica typically include amenities such as air conditioning, a pool, and a garden. Some may also include a garage, a patio, and a balcony. Foreigners are allowed to own property in Jamaica, but there are certain restrictions. For example, foreigners must obtain a permit from the Ministry of Land and Environment before they can purchase land. Additionally, foreigners are not allowed to own more than five acres of land.
How do I find a place to live in Jamaica?
We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:
"i find my neighborhood by looking around when we came out on holidays. we had a house built in Manchester," said one expat in Manchester.
"I made some friends here in Negril and found a place via referral from a friend. You can contact me at http://www.jamaicamax.com and I can help anyone find rental rooms or homes for sale in Jamaica," remarked one member in Negril.
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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Jamaica?
"I live in a scheme in Falmouth 2bd, 2bath, furnished & washing machine. Love it," explained one expat living in Jamaica.
"We live in a single family rental house located in a subdivision, called a scheme, here in Jamaica. We have not met a lot of expats yet, but the one couple that we did meet live in a house that they purchased," said one person in Falmouth.
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What is the average cost of housing in Jamaica?
If you are thinking about moving to Jamaica, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:
"For American style - outrageous - at least $2000. mo, some per week - like tourist prices, hard to rent long term - local hsg as little as $250.00, may or may not have elec, water, kitchen, bath, etc," said one person in Calabar.
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Should I buy or rent a home in Jamaica?
If you have not spent a lot of time in Jamaica, you should rent before even thinking about buying. We asked expats there about the buy vs. rent decision:
"Deciding whether to buy or rent a home in Jamaica depends on a variety of factors, such as your long-term plans, budget and lifestyle. Before making the decision to buy, it can be helpful to research the local real estate market, the types of properties available and the general cost of living in the country. You should also consider the financial commitment associated with buying a home and whether you are in a position to make such a commitment. If you are looking for a more cost-effective option, renting may be the better choice, as it gives you the opportunity to explore a variety of different areas before committing to buying a home. Ultimately, the decision to buy or rent a home in Jamaica will depend on your individual circumstances," said one expat in Jamaica.
What do I need to know when buying property in Jamaica?
When we asked expats what advice they would give a foreigner before buying a property in Jamaica, they said:
"1. Before buying property in Jamaica, it is important to research the laws governing real estate and property transactions in the country. 2. Familiarize yourself with the various types of property available and how to purchase it, such as through a real estate agent or by directly purchasing from an owner. 3. Decide whether you want to buy a single-family home, an apartment, a condo, land, or something else. 4. Research the title history and determine the current zoning for any property you are interested in buying. 5. Consider seeking advice from a local real estate attorney to properly navigate legal issues, such as for the due diligence process, title transfer, and contract reviews. 6. Budget for additional taxes and fees associated with the purchase of a property. 7. Obtain an inspection from a qualified professional to determine the condition and structural integrity of the building. 8. Have proof of funds available to demonstrate your ability to obtain financing if needed. 9. Be prepared to negotiate the price and other details of the purchase to come to an agreement," explained one person living in Jamaica.
"Buying a home here is a process, and you do not want to leave that home empty six months out of the year… It will be vandalized, burglarized, and taken over by squatters… Depending of course, where are you buy a house," said one expat in Montego Bay.
Are foreigners allowed to own property in Jamaica?
When we asked expats what advice they would give a foreigner before buying a property in Jamaica, they said...
"Yes, foreigners are allowed to purchase property in Jamaica. Foreigners are allowed to own freehold, leasehold and non-freehold property subject to compliance with the Foreign Investment Act that provides exemption from certain restrictions on foreign ownership. The Foreign Investment Act outlines the guidelines and restrictions for foreign investment in Jamaica, including the foreign ownership of real property. In order to purchase property in Jamaica, foreign investors must first obtain an investor’s permit, which will allow access to the various property markets," wrote one expat who made the move to Jamaica.
What appliances are typically included in a rental?
We asked foreigners in Jamaica what appliances are typically included in a rental, and, if there is anything else included or not included that a newcomer would not expect. Replies included:
"Most rental properties in Jamaica will come with kitchen and laundry appliances such as a refrigerator, oven, stove top, microwave, washing machine, and dryer. In addition, some rentals might also have items like air conditioners, ceiling fans, and televisions. Depending on the property, extra items such as furniture, dishware, and linens may also be provided," remarked one foreigner who made the move to Jamaica.
Additional Information about Searching for a Home in Jamaica:
We asked foreigners in Jamaica what appliances are typically included in a rental, and, if there is anything else included or not included that a newcomer would not expect. Replies included...
"Expats looking for a home in Jamaica can often start by researching available real estate listings online. They can also search for Jamaican real estate agents or brokers who are familiar with the local area. Additionally, expats may want to explore classified advertisement websites or forums to find available accommodation listings as well as advice from other expats. Visiting the country and scheduling in-person meetings with realtors can also help expats get a feel for the different neighborhoods and different types of dwellings available in Jamaica," explained one expat in Jamaica.
About the Author
Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.
Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.
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