Global Property Guide

Financial Information for Residential Property Buyers


Buying costs range from moderate to high in Trinidad and Tobago

March 26, 2018

How high are realtors' and lawyers' fees in Trinidad & Tobago? What about other property purchase costs?

Transaction Costs

Who Pays?
Stamp Duty 3.0% - 7.5% buyer
Legal Fees 0.5% - 1.5% (+ 15% VAT)
0.5% - 1.5% (+ 15% VAT)
buyer
seller
Real Estate Agent's Commission 3.0% - 5.0% seller
Costs paid by buyer 3.58% - 9.23%
Costs paid by seller 3.58% - 6.73%
ROUNDTRIP TRANSACTION COSTS 7.08% - 15.73%
See Footnotes
Source: Global Property Guide

How difficult is the property purchase process in Trinidad & Tobago?

A new law took effect in Tobago on 16 February 2007 known as the Foreign Investment (Tobago Land Acquisition) Order 2007. The Order states that foreigners must now obtain a license to acquire land for any purpose on the whole island of Tobago.

Permission to buy land does not confer residency. However, if you plan to come on holiday to enjoy your new property, a non-resident is usually allowed up to three months, with or without the need for a visa, which depends on the country of origin. Discretionary extensions can be applied for.

Foreign nationals wishing to invest in larger properties of over five acres must apply for a development license through the Tourism Development Company (TDC). The TDC will facilitate applications, and advise on fiscal incentives.

Buying a commercial property does not confer the right to work (earn an income) in Trinidad and Tobago. Work permits are needed for any work that lasts longer than 30 days.

When the price of the property has been agreed upon by the buyer and the seller, both parties enter into an Agreement of Sale and a 10% deposit to be held in escrow is required of the buyer. It is stated in the Sales Agreement that both parties have 90 days to complete everything that is needed to close the transaction.

The next step is to hire a lawyer to prepare documents for Conveyance and to do a title search on the property. It must be ascertained that the property is free from any encumbrance.

After the all costs, including the balance on the purchase price, have been paid, the stamped instruments must be registered. Under the Real Property Ordinance, registration is compulsory for the transfer to be effective. The lawyer will register the property in the Red House (the seat of the National Parliament). The registration must be brought to the Warden's Office where the property is located. Registration of all purchases made by foreigners with the Ministry of Finance is required.



Footnotes to Transaction Costs Table


The round trip transaction costs include all costs of buying and then re-selling a property - lawyers' fees, notaries' fees, registration fees, taxes, agents' fees, etc.

Currency:
Trinidad and Tobago uses Trinidad & Tobago Dollar (TTD), which is pegged to the US dollar at US$1:TTD6.2505. Property value is aproximately TTD 1,600,000 (US$250,000 = TTD 1,587,750).

Stamp Duty:
Stamp duty is required on several documents including deeds of conveyance. Stamp duty for residential properties range from 3% to 7.5%. For land and non-residential properties, stamp duty ranges from 2% to 7%.

STAMP DUTY ON RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY

PROPERTY VALUE, TTD (US$) RATE
Up to 850,000 (US$126,300) 0%
850,000 - 1,250,000 (US$185,736) 3%
1,250,000 - 1,750,000 (US$260,030) 5%
Over 1,750,000 (US$260,030) 7.5%
Remainder of the amount
Non-Residential Property
Up to 300,000 (US$44,577) 2%
300,000 - 400,000 (US$59,435) 5%
Over 400,000 (US$59,435) 7%

Legal Fees:
Each party pays for their own lawyer. Legal fees are typically at 0.5% to 1.5% plus 15% VAT. Legal fees may include various registration costs which are quite minimal such as registration fee of TTD50 (US$7) and title deed TTD100 (US15) plus TTD2 (US$0.30) per page.

Real Estate Agent's Fee:
Real estate agent's commission is negotiable, and is generally at around 3% to 5% of the property value.

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