21 Tips for Selling, Buying or Building Property in the Caribbean

Start as you mean to go on for a happy outcome! Whether you’re selling, buying or building property in the Caribbean, getting it right will depend on doing it right. The following tips are provided as a guide on some of the things you should and should not do as you embark on your sale, purchase or construction of property in the Caribbean.


Sale Tips

House with For Sale Sign

  1. A poorly presented property will deter potential buyers, so de-clutter and ‘stage’ your home for sale. Flowers and a scented candle or two will often give your home a ‘good feel’.
  1. The sign reads ‘Land for Sale’, but all potential buyers can see is an area that resembles a jungle. A cleared lot will enable buyers to envisage the best position for building that dream home.
  1. The sale price of your property should be determined by a qualified valuer (aka valuator in the Caribbean) as opposed to an emotional or sentimental valuation.
  1. Annual property taxes should be paid up to the end of the current tax year that applies, as most Caribbean islands will not allow titles to be transferred to new owners if taxes are outstanding.
  1. Having to apply for a lost Title Deed in the Caribbean can be a lengthy and costly process, so make sure you know the whereabouts of your Title Deed before your property is listed for sale.
  1. Sellers of property in Jamaica are required to have Taxpayer Registration Numbers (TRNs), which is a unique 9-digit number that is similar to National Insurance or ID number.
  1. The transfer of title to property in St. Lucia cannot proceed if you owe personal income tax.


Purchase Tips

House in Test Tube

  1. If you are not a cash buyer, first establish whether or not you will qualify for a mortgage from a Caribbean lending institution before commencing with your property search.
  1. The location chosen for your property should be determined by the purpose for which you are buying it.
  1. Sending your purchase funds to the Caribbean will usually see you getting a better rate of exchange than those given by High Street banks or building societies.
  1. A check should always be carried out by a surveyor to ensure that there are no encroachments affecting the property that you intend to buy.
  1. The legal process for buying property in the Caribbean is different to buying property in the UK so always retain the services of an attorney to deal with the legal formalities on your behalf.
  1. Some Caribbean islands require non-nationals to have an Alien Landholding Licence before they can purchase property. These include, but are not limited to, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago and St. Lucia.
  1. Ingoing funds from overseas residents buying land or homes in Barbados should be registered with Central Bank, as otherwise you will be prevented from bringing out the full net proceeds in one transaction from subsequent sale.


Building Tips

Construction

  1. How suitable is the land for building a home in the Caribbean? Seek advice on this.
  1. Always have a contract in place between yourself and the builder before any construction work commences.
  1. It is advisable to retain the services of a suitably project manager when building a home in the Caribbean.
  1. If you are asked by a contractor to hand over the full costs to build your dream home in the Caribbean run a mile and don’t look back.
  1. Some contractors will have accounts with different suppliers that allow them to buy materials and fixtures and fittings at better prices than if bought by you. It’s worth discussing with your contractor.
  1. There will be many choices to be made by you when building a home in the Caribbean. For example, type of roof, windows, doors, walls, kitchen units, tiles and the list goes on. Discuss ALL with your contractor before construction commences and make sure that your choices are noted in writing by them and you.
  1. Building a style of home to suit YOU can be a wonderful experience, but remember that every change made by you to the original drawings and fixtures and fittings will attract additional costs.


Spare Tip

If you’re looking for a wonderfully memorable Caribbean property experience, then let Tropical Connections help you achieve it!

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