Many visitors to the Bahamas dream of owning a slice of paradise. So it's no surprise that the region is a much sought-after destination for both vacation and retirement homes. If you're considering owning in the Bahamas here are a few steps to follow that will ensure your purchase goes smoothly.
Step 1: Do Your Research
The five days you spent in the Bahamas on vacation last Summer felt like heaven but probably was not enough time to give you all the information you need. If you're buying property for an investment you will want to make sure that the property is adequately managed. However, if you're looking to acquire retirement or vacation homes in the Bahamas, you may be more interested to find out what health services and other amenities are available. Whatever the case, the first step is to take a look beyond the postcard existence and research into the infrastructure such as roads, water, electricity, telephone and internet, as well as ask important questions about crime, safety and emergency response.
Due diligence at this stage is critical. So, you will want to spend some time getting to know the property's management team and the development company, as well. Remember, the most trustworthy companies in this space will take the time to address all of your questions and will be fully transparent when it comes to their corporate policy.
Step 2: Secure Your Financing
Even before you begin your property search in earnest, you should decide how you plan to pay for your property. Some areas require that the buyers have all their funds needed to purchase a property outright, while in some locations, it is possible to get a mortgage. The mortgage process in the Caribbean may vary slightly from institutions in the U.S. However, you will still need to document evidence of your ability to repay and your creditworthiness. Some properties, like those managed by Legacy Global, offer complete no-interest financing — for qualified individuals.
Step 3: Work with a Real Estate Development Company
You may not be aware, but there are reputable companies based in the US who are in the best position to help you reach your dream of owning in the Bahamas. Often these companies can cut through the red tape and simplify the process of owning property abroad. Companies like Legacy Global Development are a great help for determining the best property to fit your needs, and connecting you with other resources. Remember, your real estate development agent is well-connected in the community and thus able to recommend the other professionals and services you'll need to complete your Bahama home purchase. At Legacy Global, we not only work diligently to help you get your dream property but we'll help you navigate the little-known shortcuts for bypassing red tape which can often frustrate and delay the process.
"We promise that you will enjoy the process of buying and owning international real estate. That's our Legacy Promise and we stand behind it." -Chris Williams, CEO of Legacy Global Development
Step 4: Learn About Life in the Bahamas
If you are planning to make the Bahamas your new home, it's important to understand the differences in healthcare, laws, cost of living, and the banking system. While the Bahamas are "westernized" in many respects, there are enough key differences to make a difference in day-to-day living. Visit websites like the Expat Exchange to connect with fellow expatriates, ask questions, and get advice on budgeting. You'll also want to visit the properties you are interested in, paying special attention to the various activities on the island that interest you, and noting how far they are from the development.
Step 5: Hire an Attorney
Once you've decided on a property, you'll need to make an offer. In the states, this is a relatively simple matter. However, in a foreign country, it is important to observe all of the laws surrounding a purchase of the property. These laws impact the sale and purchase of property by overseas residents and vary throughout the Caribbean. Having an experienced attorney to help you interpret these laws, is imperative. It is a great idea to get a referral from another expat who's already gone through the process of owning in the Bahamas and perhaps already lives on the island.
Be sure to ask your attorney about pending and expected costs. In addition to attorney's fees, there will be real estate and commission fees, valuation and survey fees, fees related to land transfer and taxes. Inquire about which fees will need to be paid upfront, and which can be deferred. Find out from your attorney if you need a residency permit or if you will have to pay any non-national fees prior to purchasing land. Your lawyer can also advise you on the cultural differences including bureaucracy and timeline expectations.
Schedule a Discovery Stay to see our homes and learn more about life in the Bahamas before you make an investment.