1) ERA Turks and Caicos Real Estate professionals market properties to attract real estate transactions. Whether we are working with our client (seller) or our customer (buyer) our goal is to ensure the transaction is as efficient as possible and in the best interests of both parties.
When a customer contacts an ERA Turks and Caicos Real Estate sales associate, time is spent researching properties that meet our customer’s requirements. When we first meet with our customers we take time to qualify what they are interested in purchasing by asking questions including: desired property type, time frame, property usage, location, purchase budget etc. We also educate the first-time buyer of some of the factors that are involved in the purchase of property in Turks and Caicos such as stamp duty (tax), time frame, financing etc.
If a mortgage is needed, it is most helpful for our customers to meet with a bank representative to determine what level of funding they require. It is advantageous to know from the start what the bank will lend so customers are not disappointed choosing a property that does not qualify. Our Team’s goal is to introduce a property that best suits a customer’s needs at the time. Often, we work with customers for a period of months prior to their presenting an offer. Pre-qualification from the bank enables real estate agents to present the offer with confidence.
Narrow the search
2) As realtors, we arrange viewings of appropriate properties for our customers and have them view a number of properties over a period of time; noting price, location, size of home/condo, and possible size of land if they are building, condition of property etc. Once the customer chooses a property we are at a critical stage of the process – negotiation.
3) The agent works with the customer to fill out the Preliminary Agreement. Offers presented with fewer conditions are often looked at more seriously by a vendor; we do pass this fact on to our customers. The Preliminary Agreement is just that – a document that serves as a negotiation tool between the purchaser and the vendor stating price offered, deposit, reservation bond, closing date and conditions. Condition of financing must have a date e.g. “offer is subject to financial approval within 14 working days of acceptance of offer”. If the condition is not met within the specified time period, the vendor may choose to not continue the transaction. If a mortgage is required and the customer is pre-qualified, this helps tremendously at this point of the transaction.
If the customer has a Reservation Bond on the offer, the property must come off the market until conditions are met or the sale completes. A Reservation Bond ensures both parties that if the vendor/owner accepts the Reservation Bond they agree to take the property off the market, therefore the vendor cannot accept further offers until the process is complete. This can be costly to the vendor if a better offer were to be presented to the selling agent. NOTE: The purchaser will lose their Reservation Bond to the vendor if they fail to complete within the time presented.
Along with the offer you will be required to provide personal identification – i.e. passport, driver’s license, home address and phone number.
4) The Preliminary Agreement is presented to the vendor for their review and a) acceptance, b) rejection c) counter offer on price and/or conditions. This process can take a few days as negotiations go back and forth between agent’s customer and vendor. Once price and terms are accepted both parties sign off and/or initial changes made through negotiation.
Acceptance of Offer
5) The Reservation Bond is passed to the vendor’s Broker or to their attorney. Copies of the Preliminary Agreement are given to the purchaser, their attorney and the bank. As well, the vendor and their attorney also have a copy of the Preliminary Agreement
6) The Agents or Brokers submit a copy of the Preliminary Agreement, conditions, copy of inventory, copy of register and instruction to the purchasers and vendors attorneys.
7) The purchaser contacts their bank or mortgage company to confirm their qualification for mortgage. At this time, if we are dealing with a foreign purchaser, it is most important that they receive ALL applications and requirements of loan. If the purchaser has all paperwork required by the bank they can review the package and present the bank with all documents at once; this expedites the process for the customer, vendor, attorneys and real estate companies. Time is always of the essence in real estate transactions.
At this stage the bank must compile all the application documents they need from the customer. The bank also requires an evaluation on all properties prior to loan approval. The real estate agents will work with the bank to ensure this is done in a timely fashion – making themselves available to open the property or to give information required by the appraiser i.e. land registry.
Due diligence by the purchaser can be carried out at any time either on their own or with their attorney
8) Once financing has been approved, the attorneys draw up the contract of Sale and Purchase for signature of the vendor and purchaser. This document “seals the deal” but often takes time as well. If the vendor or purchaser has not left a Power of Attorney with their attorney these documents are couriered to, first the purchaser, who then couriers it back to their attorney, who then passes it on to the vendors attorney, who in turn sends it to his/her client. Depending on location of customers/clients this can up to several weeks to be complete.
9) Once the contract is duly executed, closing is imminent. This requires a Letter of Intent from the bank’s attorneys that the bank will pay the vendor’s attorney upon registration. This letter is passed to the purchaser’s attorney.
10) Transfer documents are filled out along with any other documents needed at this time; these are then couriered to the vendor for their notarized signature. The purchaser does not have to sign the transfer documents although some attorneys require them to do so; again, this can take some time. The documents must be presented to Land Registry within 30 days of date and signature or the purchaser may be fined.
11) The Attorneys meet for closing, exchanging transfer papers and funds (or Letter from Bank)
12) The purchaser’s attorney files the transfer with Land Registry. The bank files the charge with Land Registry.
13) At this time the purchaser is considered the new owner of the property and will receive keys if a house or condo; if it is land, the new owners can proceed to obtain Planning permission to build. The vendor however does not have their money; they must wait a) 14 or 21 days required on contract or b) the bank has registered their charge against the property on behalf of the purchaser.
14) The purchaser’s attorney receives transfer documents and new copy of Land Registry with the purchaser’s registered name. The purchaser’s attorney requests release of funds from bank attorney (or vendor’s attorney) – the vendor is paid; the real estate companies receive their commissions. Attorneys usually take retainers up front but at this time they are paid the remainder of their fees and costs.
The real estate sector, banks and attorneys work for our customers and clients; our customer service is most important. We strive to make this process a little easier for our customer and clients; we make every effort to do so and will do whatever we can to help achieve this important goal.