Mortgage Options for the New Homeowner

It’s never been easier for Jamaicans to qualify for mortgage loans than it is now.

Just recently, the Government of Jamaica has “eased the tax burden on real estate transactions”, causing a frenzy of new financing options to come forth from private banking institutions. These options vary between institutions as it relates to promotions and rates, however their goal is to work with you on your home ownership journey.

Choosing the appropriate lending institution will come down to your budget and preference/existing relationships with the banks you currently operate at.

Before you make a decision, make note the following things;

  • If you are a first time buyer you may qualify for a special mortgage
  • Take the ‘safest’ mortgage that is available. This is especially important if you are planning to live in your house for 5 years or longer 
  • Ask your lending agent to provide you with refinancing information. Rates can change in the future and you might be able to secure more favorable opt

Current Local Mortgage Rates    (*Rates as at May 31, 2019)

SmartHomes is here to help you on yourjourney and help get you one step closer to your dream home. We have an abundance of experience in financing and have individual relationships with various lending institutions. If you need assistance, or are confused as to which direction to take, feel free to reach out to us. One of our representatives will be happy to guide you along the way.

5 First Time Home Owners – Tips

  • Start saving for the down payment – Its typical for prospective home owners to put down 20% in anticipation of their first home payment, however many institutions allow for down payments of less than 10%. Note that if this is done it may result in higher overall costs.
  • Seek guidance for a professional financial organization for mortgage options – Lending organizations are here to help you achieve your home ownership goals. Here in Jamaica, there are many options for you to choose from. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON MORTGAGE RATES AND OPTIONS FOR THE NEW HOME OWNER = > Link to article #4.
  • Obtain a preapproval letter – As the time gets closer to your first home purchase, you will need to obtain a pre-approval letter from your preferred lending institution. At this point, your lender will take an in depth look at your finances to get a better understanding if you can afford the purchase. When the time comes to purchase your home you will appear to be a serious prospect to the development company.
  • Choose the appropriate house and neighborhood – Chances are that when you make your first home purchase, you will be living there for more than 5 years. This being said, it is important to do your due diligence on the surrounding community. Ensure you spend adequate time researching local schools, hospitals, activities, and crime statistics.

Benefits of residential Solar/PV systems

Type of Systems

Grid Tie – Is a simple installation of panels where there is no storage present. This system allows the user to reduce their electricity cost by making direct use of energy generated. Unfortunately with this method, it will not be able to produce power during an electrical outage and will be unable to store energy for any duration of time.

Off Grid – This is the best option for persons who live in remote locations and have difficulty accessing the traditional power grid. This involves setting up a comprehensive system of panels, batteries, inverters, charge controllers, and service panels that will allow complete grid disconnection. You will not receive a bill for you electricity usage and is generally connected across.

Grid Tie with Storage – This system is great if you are already connected to the grid but would like to reduce your energy costs while making use of the stored energy your panels have generated. If there is a power outage, you will be able to draw current from what you have saved.

Typical Cost of Systems

Solar-PV is the least expensive way to provide electricity to your home, but exactly how much does this system cost?

Typical power consumption for a 2 bedroom house is ~120 KWH/month. Each solar panel has the ability to generate ~.68 KWH/day (contingent on weather conditions) or ~20.4 KWH/ month. In order to generate enough current to provide for the entire house you would need;

  • 6 panels
  • 4 batteries
  • 1 Inverter
  • 1 controller

A system this size provided by SmartHomes will cost ~1.2m JMD.

Should I use Solar PV panels for my home?

Setting up a PV solar system does inherently come with some upfront costs, namely, batteries, panels, and other hardware needed in the installation and transference process (contingent on the system you choose).

At the end of the day, the decision to invest in solar energy is up to the home owner; however before making the decision, one should take a few things into consideration.

  • Savings – If enough energy can be generated from the panels and subsequently stored, your power utility bill could be little to nothing.
  • Clean & renewable – Although modern day PV panels operate around ~20% efficiency, the solar energy that is harvested is 100% renewable.
  • Excess Revenue – Extra energy that is generated from panels can be sold back to the grid.

Taking the leap and installing solar panels is well worth it in the long run. Not only will you be able to see a significant reduction in your energy bills, but you will have the peace of mind knowing that you and your family operate on clean energy.

Electric Vehicles: The Wave of the Future?

Countries such as Norway, Iceland, and Sweden have taken the lead in the international marketplace as it relates to electric vehicle (EV) adoption. At the forefront of this revolution, Norway boasts a 49% acceptance and usage rate amongst its citizens.

Other countries such as the USA have been attempting to replicate these results, however at ~ 1% adoption they still have among way to go.

The reality is that the transportation sector makes up the principle amount of emissions released into the atmosphere.  To this note, government law makers are implementing policies in order to progress the development and adoption of this industry.

Government of Jamaica

Why make the switch to an Electric Vehicle?


  • EV owners are able to reduce their fuel bills by more than 66% by running their vehicles on electricity vs automotive gas
  • EVs are constructed with much less moving components. This will subsequently lead to less maintenance costs over the lifetime usage of the vehicle.


  • Less pollution – EV vehicles release 0 emissions. Not only with this benefit the environment as a whole, but the air in our cities will be cleaner to breath if EV adoption rates increased.
  • Environmentally friendly materials – Many of the EV’s in production today are making use of recycled materials to incorporate into the productions process.
  • Renewable energy – As an EV owner, you will be able to decide where your energy comes from. In many cases PV solar panels are built into EV charging stations.

The Aqueduct of Vineyards and Its Restoration

The Bushy Park Aqueduct was constructed in the mid 1700s and was a  significant part of the Bushy Park Sugar Estate factory works. The bricks used in the process were held in place by crushed limestone, molasses, animal dung, and dry grass. The aqueduct facilitated the transportation of water from the Spring Garden River to the estate and was used to power the waterwheel for cane grinding operations.

Collectively the aqueduct is 559 meters long however sections have been removed to accommodate the construction of the railway line, the parochial road and the Old Harbour Bypass (now a part of Highway 2000).

Naturally, the aqueduct has deteriorated over the years.

Given the historical significance and the fact that this is one of the last few aqueducts remaining in Jamaica, CEAC Outsourcing has committed to spearheading the restoration in association with the Jamaica National Herritage Trust (JNHT).

Preservation activities are expected to take 3 months overall, and will be done before the majority of the civil works for the Aqueduct of Vineyards Bushy Park housing development are completed.