Sunday 13th August, 2006


Have your documents in order

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I remember a certain test report, and being chided by my father to improve my score or else live under Ma Arno’s mango tree. My child’s mind entertained two thoughts: Daddy simply couldn’t expect me to sleep under a mango tree and where do birds go when it gets dark?

Well, some birds go to hoot, but most birds go home! And that brings us back to the matter of acquiring the home mortgage. Now we’ll focus on the necessary documents.

Mortgage companies want all kinds: from copies of recent pay slips to utility bills, proof of age and a job letter. If you’re self-employed, you must produce evidence of income in the form of bank deposit records for several months or audited financial statements for two years.

If you have other loans they want statements from the relevant lenders. If you have life insurance they want to see your cash value statements. If you are entering a joint mortgage you will also need similar evidence from the joint partner.

You will need evidence of Town and Country approval and valuation reports for the property. In addition all rates and taxes must be paid to date.

There are some other requirements depending on whether your home is going to be built, whether it is previously owned, or whether it is an apartment or condominium type dwelling.

For the latter, they will need evidence of maintenance, typically in the form of a contract. In addition you will have to get property insurance, peculiar to multi-housing complexes. Note as well that Town and Country approval for such types of properties is critical.

If you are building from scratch: you must have good title to the land first and foremost.

Next, you will need a building plan completed by a draughtsman or an architect, together with blueprints for structural integrity. Getting the building plan and blueprints can take several months, and quite a few interviews, if you are doing a custom design.

Then you must get approval for the building plan.

Next, you must seek out estimates from builders and contractors. When you are satisfied with a particular proposal, it must be formally drawn up and signed by the builder or contractor.

Such a proposal should detail costs for various sub-headings in the construction and interior and exterior finishing, both in terms of the construction material and labour.

This detail assists both the inspectors (for bridging finance) and you the homeowner, especially with respect to bottlenecks and failures.

Once the loan is approved you will have to get property insurance to cover the lenders risk. Let me reiterate, you also need insurance to cover your own risk!

You will also have to get water and electricity on the property before construction begins.

Construction of the property is complete when there are the requisite drains and a sewer system in place to manage the disposal of waste and waste water. Finally, a visit from the statutory authority renders the Completion Certificate and you are free to move in.

But it doesn’t always go like clock work. In home acquisition and in life, each of us must have a Plan B. It’s a value to be like the bird, that pausing in her flight awhile, on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing that she hath wings.

I know, because my school report didn’t always place me first in class, and I could still hear my father’s chiding: Sit by the table and read till the cow come home! It is always about Home, isn’t it?

©2005-2006 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

Designed by: Randall Rajkumar-Maharaj · Updated daily by: Sheahan Farrell