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Steps in purchasing a home on the private market

Determine your budget

The first step is to determine your budget. How much will you be able to afford in monthly payments? If you are a couple purchasing your first property then its 35% of your joint monthly income.

Credit Score and Mortgage Availability

The next step is to determine your credit status by visiting the loans officer at your bank and credit union. Additionally, you can explore options with other financial institutions for example the Trinidad and Tobago Mortgage Finance Co. Ltd (TTMF). TTMF currently offers a 2% Mortgage programme. Moreover, if the income of the head of the household is $10,000 or less, you may qualify for an interest rate of 2% to purchase any property valued up to $850,000.

Real Estate Agent

Now that you know what you can afford, it is time to go house hunting! At this stage you should determine whether you will be going with a real estate agent or not. If you however, decide to go the real estate agent way, then it is suggested that you choose a reputable real estate agent.

Select Property

You are now at the point of selecting your property. There are some things that should be considered in making this decision:-

  • Is it in your price range?
  • Is it a safe neighbourhood for bringing up children?
  • Is the location a positive one as it relates to work and school commute?
  • Are there any squatter settlements nearby?
  • Is it a quick sale or will there be delays?

Having made your selection and having made a firm offer to purchase, there are some legal documents that must be signed and down payments to be made. As a result you should:-

  • Get an attorney-at- law to peruse the document before signing;
  • Ensure that the period for closing the transaction is sufficient to obtain the mortgage payment;
  • Ensure that the documents required by the mortgage institution are readily available;
  • Have a property inspection done with a qualified person to determine the structural soundness of the property.

When completely satisfied you should sign and make a deposit. This can be handled by your Broker or by an attorney-at.- law.


You are almost there! However, before the mortgage institution can process the mortgage, you would need to produce two important documents:

  • A value appraisal – The mortgage institution would require an independent value appraisal carried out on the property.
  • A title search – The mortgage institution would require a title search to be done on the property which ensures that the property is free of any encumbrances.

If everything is in order, the bank would finalize the legal documents of the mortgage on the property and issue a cheque to the seller or real estate agent. Be advised that there would be closing fees for the finalisation of the mortgage.

Conducting a Registered land Title Search

What is it?

Registered Land Title documents are instruments that serve as evidence of property ownership that have been lodged with the Land Registry, Registrar General’s Department of the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs. Some reasons for conducting a search of registered land title documents include:

  • To determine ownership of property
  • To discover the extent and boundaries of a property
  • To purchase an unoccupied property and may wish to approach the owner
  • Lease or rent a property and need to contact the landlord

Conducting a registered land title search? What you will need

  1. If you are conducting a search for a specific registered document that falls under Common Law you must have the Deed number and the property’s address, and the lot number.
  2. If you are conducting a search for a specific registered document that falls under Real Property Ordinance (RPO) Law you must have the volume and folio number of the Certificate of Title.
  3. You can also conduct a general search of registered documents using the full name of the property owner.

What will it cost?

Fees will be based on the type of search conducted:

TT$5.00 for a specific title search using a deed number or volume and folio numbers

TT$10.00 for a general title search using the full name of the owner

Where can I conduct a title search?

Searches are conducted at the offices of the Land Registry

In Trinidad:

Land Registry
Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs
Registration House
72-74 South Quay
Port of Spain

In Tobago:

Land Registry
Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs
Registrar General Department
Jerningham Avenue