- What is Conveyancing?Conveyancing refers to the process of legally transferring the ownership of property from one person to another.
- Can property be acquired jointly?
There are two ways to acquire property jointly, either as joint tenants or tenants in common.
Where property is conveyed to co-owners as joint tenants, when one joint tenant dies, the deceased surviving joint tenants(s). A joint tenant cannot leave his interest in the property by will to anyone. The joint tenancy is preferred form of co-ownership when conveying property to a husband and wife.
By contrast, under a tenancy in common, the co-owners have specific shares in the property, for example, one fifth, four fifths etc., though there is no physical division of the property. A tenant in common may leave his share in the property to anyone by will or in the absence of a will, his share will pass to his estate on death and not to the other co-owner(s). The tenancy in common is the preferred form of co-ownership where the parties are in business or are not closely related.
- Do I have to pay a deposit?
The agreement for the sale of the land or property will almost always contain a provision requiring the purchaser to pay to the vendor a deposit, usually 10% of the purchase price, payable on exchange of the agreement for sale. The deposit is normally held by the vendor's attorney-at-law as stakeholder, that is, it will be held on behalf of both the vendor and the purchaser and the vendor's attorney-at-law as stakeholderm that is, it will be held on behalf of both the vendor and the purchaser and the vendor's attorney cannot pass the deposit to either party without the consent of the other before completion or on default of either party. If the purchaser is unable to complete the purchase by the date fixed for completion of the sale and purchase, the vendor can forfeit the deposit. For that reason, the purchaser should only sign the agreement for sale if the purchaser has the balance of the purchase price or a commitment from a financial institution to lend the purchaser the balance of the purchase price.
- How long does it take to complete a conveyance?
Conveyancing matters are heavily dependent on the pace at which attorneys on both sides of the matter work to secure efficient transfer of title between the parties. The usual time given by a vendor to a purchaser to complete a land purchase is three months from the date of the vendor's execution of the agreement for sale.
This is regarded as the average time it takes to complete a sale and purchase of land in Barbados. This presumes that all necessary title and planning documents are in place.
- Do I have to pay taxes?
The vendor of land is liable to pay property transfer taxes under the Property Transfer Tax Act Cap. 84A at the rate of 2.5% and stamp duty pursuant to the Stamp Duty Act Cap. 91 at the rate of 1% on the sale price of the land. Where there is a property on the land property tranfer tax is payable on the amount that exceeds $150,000.00.
- Do I need insurance?
The purchase of a house is significant investment. Insurance should be one of your first considerations to protect your investment in the event of damage to or the destruction of your property. If you are borrowing money to purchase the house,the tender will require you to take out homeowners/property insurance over the house. Generally, the purchaser will need to get the homeowners/property insurance inplace by the time the purchaser has signed the agreement for sale and is ready to pay the deposit, since the agreement for sale will generally provide that the property is at the sole insurable risk of the purchaser from the date of the agreement for sale. The lender may also require the purchaser to take out life insurance as collateral security for the loan. In any event, life insurace is considered important where you have children or a spouse who will need the proceeds from the life insurance policy on the purchaser's death to repay the mortgage.
- What fees and expenses do I have to pay?
The minimum legal fees for conveyancing matters are regulated by the Legal Profession (Attorneys'-at-Law) (Remuneration for Non-Contentious Business) Rules, 1997 (the "NCB Rules"). An attorney may charge above the minimum fees prescribed on the basis of time spent and the responsibilty undertaken. The NCB Rules provide for separate fees for different components of the conveyancing transaction. The fee for each component is added to arrive the attorney;s fee for the sale and purchase transaction. The fees following are preparing and completting conveyances and morgages of unregistered land.