Not everyone wants to buy an existing home and some would prefer to buy a piece of land and build their own place. Here’s some things to consider when looking for that perfect piece of land for your new island home.
Buying a piece of vacant land isn’t all that complicated and not much different than buying in the US. Eleuthera is a long island so there are many places to choose from. Each area and settlement are a bit different in what they offer and many people I have met over there years have regretted their impulse purchase which was usually based on price alone.
Spend some time here
My first thought would be to come to Eleuthera and spend some time here. By that I don’t mean a week but weeks or many weeks throughout the year. Travel and explore the different areas and get to know them and what’s offered in the vicinity. I have known people that have purchased land in one area and then had to constantly travel to another for the goods and services that they wanted thusly regretting their choice. Spend some time here to make the best decision.
Decide on an area
So once you’ve settled on an area, the next step is looking for the right piece of land. Do you want ocean front on either side? The Atlantic will be much more expense than the Caribbean but you tend to have sandy beaches and a constant breeze. The Caribbean has calmer water and if you are on a cliff, you have the views and a level of hurricane protection. Wherever you look, remember to consider the impacts from hurricanes and your level of tolerance concerning those. Our house sits on a Cay that has been hit by many hurricanes over the years.
Maybe you’re interested in being part of a community or maybe you want more solitude and again, at 110 miles long Eleuthera has many options to choose from.
Now that you have decided on the area and place it becomes a matter of checking what’s available. There are realtor’s on the island that can help you and you can always start your search on the internet beforehand. Once you decide on a property, make your offer and it’s accepted you will then have a lot of different legalities to go through. They are not really hard and it’s all paperwork to provide you with clear title to the property. The process is similar to what you would do in the US. Similar is the key word.
Power, Water, Telephone
These three items should be on your radar when looking for land.
Do you want electricity or will you be living on solar panels off the grid?
How far is the nearest power line?
Is town water close by or do you plan on using a cistern for water?
Will you need a telephone and cable line? Are these available where the land is or how close are they?
Surveying the property
You will need to make sure the property has been surveyed to be sure on the exact boundaries. There are many stories of people that bought land, assumed the boundaries were correct, only to find out years later that their living room was on the neighbor’s land.
You will need to have a Bahamian lawyer do all your legal work.
Here’s a great site that can provide you with information about taxes and other topics pertaining to property purchases.
“Government Taxes on Property Conveyances
• 2.5 % government stamp duty on all real estate transactions valued under $100,000
• A total tax of 10% on all real estate transactions valued at $100,000 and over. This includes the 2.5 % government stamp duty.
• VAT registrants will be able to claim as a credit or net off the 7.5 % VAT on commercial property sales valued at over $100,000
Subject to change at any time.The stamp duty is generally shared equally between buyer and seller – unless otherwise agreed upon.
This is intended as a guide only. Please consult your lawyer if you are interested in buying Bahamas real estate.”
There’s a good few things to look over but none that can’t be dealt with fairly easily and above relates to taxes when you purchase not on the yearly property taxes you may owe. Yes there are property taxes on Eleuthera for foreign home owners.
All foreign purchases must be registered with the Bahamas Investment Authority. Your lawyer will take care of this and if you are purchasing the land for only a vacation home in the future it’s a relatively easy affair.
Once the process is complete you will receive a conveyance that states that you are the new owner of the property. Be patient here as getting this document can sometimes take a bit. But once your fees are paid you can consider yourself the property owner of a Bahamian piece of land and get ready to build your tropical dream home.
It’s not hard but at times it can be a bit aggravating as there are many steps that you have to go through but in the end if you’ve taken your time and chosen wisely, you’ll be rewarded!