Martinique is an Eastern Caribbean island that is part of the French Republic, and therefore part of the European Union. Because of this, it operates under French laws, and there are several restrictions against non-EU citizens from buying real estate in this place.
Attorneys and Real Estate Agents
A Notaire, or notary public, is a necessary person for foreigners to buy real estate in Martinique. This person may have to draw up contracts, will definitely have to correspond with the necessary local bureaus. As this person is a legal representative for the government and impartial to the buyer or seller, it is an option for foreign buyers to hire a private attorney, in order to understand the local laws and make sure everything is done in best interest (but this is not necessary).
Real estate agents can be helpful in the process of buying real estate in Martinique, but are not necessary.
Rules, Regulations and Restrictions
There are several restrictions against foreigners buying property in Martinique. As it is part of France, people who are not French or not part of the European Union must apply for permission to reside in France, and have this cleared. This process includes a background, economic, citizenship, health and income checks, and this must be registered with the Martinique government. This takes an average of three months to complete.
Foreigners can then buy land of up to one hectare (2.47 acres). If the property is larger than this, the government might have to review this transaction, to make sure that the land will not be used for any other purpose. Though this bureau will rarely block anyone out of buying a larger amount of land, it is a formality and obligation for them to be notified.
First, the buyer should settle on a piece of property, and make an offer to its seller. Upon acceptance of this offer, the Notaire or real estate agent should put together a Compris de Vente (a sales contract), which must be signed by the buyer and seller. The buyer should then put down a deposit, which is generally 10% of the final purchase price.
After the contract is signed, the buyer must arrange the funds to pay for the rest of the property’s cost. It is recommended, but not necessary, to have this property inspected to make sure there are no environmental damages.
Once everything clears, the final sales contract should then be signed at the Notaire’s office. This contract must be notarized, and the remainder of the money must then be transferred to the seller. The buyer also must pay all legal and registration fees at this point, as well as show the Notaire a copy of their birth certificate, translated into French. The buyer also must show proof of building insurance. The title can then be transferred into the name of the seller, which will be handled by the Notaire.