BAHAMAS REAL ESTATE GUIDE FOR BUYERS
Government Taxes on Property Conveyances:
2.5 % Government Stamp Tax on all Real Estate transactions valued at $100,000 or less
10% Government Stamp Tax on all Real Estate Transactions valued at $100,000 or more
The standard practice in the Bahamas is for the Tax to be shared equally between Buyer and Seller unless otherwise agreed Upon.
A 12% Value Added Tax (VAT) is levied on Real Estate Services, including Appraisals, Legal Work, Commissions, Common Area Maintenance (CAM) and Insurance. Laws and Policies are subject to change.
Stamp Duty on Mortgages is payable at a rate of 1% on the amount borrowed. The Bahamas Bar Association follows a minimum scale fee for conveyances and mortgage transactions at 2.5% of the sales price in addition to out-of-pocket expenses.
Bahamas Real Estate Commissions:
Developed Property: 6%
Undeveloped Property (Vacant Land): 10%
* Please note that all commission rates are also subject to VAT. See under Value Added Tax Section.
8 STEPS TO BUYING A HOME
There is a great pride in owning a property. Deciding to purchase a home is one of the biggest and most exciting decisions you can make! There is never a wrong time to buy the right home. Start the process today with this easy-to-follow guide.
Step 1: Deciding to Buy
This is an important decision whether you are a first time home buyer or looking for your perfect vacation home. It is important to identify the reasons for buying as this will affect many aspects of your property search. A home purchase can provide many financial benefits such as equity build up, value appreciation, automatic savings plan. The decision to purchase is one of the most emotional once most people will make in their lifetime and this is especially the case if you are a first time home buyer. This can feel overwhelming, which is why it is very important to be guided by an expert in field who can make this process smooth. KRA agents will guide you through the entire process, every step of the way in a stress-free manner.
Step 2: Hiring Your Agent
Choose a real estate professional who will be your trusted guide every step of the way.
Why do you need to hire an agent? This is what a good real estate agent will do:
- Guide you throughout the entire process;
- Share their knowledge about the Bahamas real estate, the steps involved in purchasing a property, legal aspects, government restrictions and requirements when purchasing, market news and other useful information you may need;
- Provide meticulous attention to your objectives and identify the most suitable property that best fits your budget and criteria;
- Assist and guide you to ensure all the paperwork is complete and deadlines are met;
- Be your trusted representative and offer solutions for any problem that may arise.
KRA Realty is your one stop shop that does it all.
Step 3: Securing Financing
Before you identify the property you wish to purchase, it is crucial to understand your purchasing power. If you require financing, your real estate agent can introduce you to a few financing consultants you can choose from, who will work with you and your real estate agent to make sure the financial aspect of your home purchase is stress free.
What will the financing consultant do for you?
- Review your current financials;
- Discuss the options available to you during the home purchasing process;
- Guide you to an appropriate price point;
- Work with you closely and provide the best possible mortgage conditions.
- Keep you informed and updated of the entire financial process throughout your purchase.
Step 4: Property Search
Once you have determined you budget you can start exploring the available options, you can start a search for your perfect home. Where do you start?
The technology has given us access to almost all the information we may need including the properties available for sale, steps in the purchasing process, mortgage we can get etc., which gives confidence to some buyers to start their property search by themselves. However, without a guide this process can become overwhelming and confusing. Choosing the right real estate agent to guide you through the process of buying a new home will give you the opportunity to enjoy this often stressful process. You will have your agent to represent you and your interests; you will receive valuable advice from a professional every step of the way.
Your KRA agent will start with a consultation and learn about your criteria, investment goals and timeframes for purchasing. They will further tailor a highly personalized property search offering important insights, details and action plan that align with your particular needs. Please note this personal service tailored to your needs you can enjoy with no extra cost since buyer’s agent’s commission will come from he seller and is included in the listing price.
Before you begin to look for a home, you should be clear about the reasons you are buying. Good marketing conditions, a life change, a desire to invest, a location change can all affect the path you might take in finding the right property for you. In addition, it’s a good idea to think carefully about the features you desire in your new home. Separate the absolute must-haves from the things you can live without, and share these lists with your advisor.
Some questions you might ask yourself include:
- What amenities are crucial for you and your family?
- What features are not negotiable in your new property?
- How much space do you need and why?
- What is more important: location or size?
- Would you be interested in a fixer-upper?
- How important is home value appreciation?
- Are there preferred neighborhoods?
You will learn as you look at homes, your priorities will probably adjust along the way.
Step 5: Making an Offer
Once you’ve found a home you love, the next step is deciding what it is really worth and how much you should pay for it. It’s important to remember that a home is an investment. Your agent can give you information on other properties in the neighborhood to help you ensure you make an informed decision when it comes to price. Talk to your agent to explain and guide you through the offer process and remember he/she represents your best interest and will give you a valuable advise.
Some things to consider when deciding on the best price point are:
- Discuss the listing price with your agent;
- Market Analysis – Your agent will give you an idea of comparable home values in the neighborhood to help you decide if the price point is on par;
- Improvements – Your agent can give you a list of improvements made to the home and help you determine its market value;
- Repairs – Just like with improvements, have your list of repairs ready to take into account when making your offer.
Step 6: Performing Due Diligence
Your agent will provide you with the list of improvements made and necessary repairs needed within your home. Knowing what work has been done or needs to be done to your home is very important in the buying process. While updates can increase your home value, damages can take money out of your pocket. Your main concern is the possibility of structural damage, which can come from water, shifting ground or poor construction.
Step 7: Closing
Once you’ve determined a price point you’re comfortable with and you have made an offer, you’re in the “home” stretch! But, in order to ensure that you don’t put the property purchase at risk, you have a couple responsibilities that you’ll need to keep in mind:
- Staying in control of your credit and finances – Do not make any large purchases during this time. It’s important to keep your financials steady throughout the buying process. Talk to your financial consultant for guidance.
- Keeping in touch with your agent and financial consultant – It’s important to stay in constant communication with your KRA agent and financial guide during this process. Be sure to return all phone calls and complete paperwork promptly. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your team is there to help you!
Step 8: Protecting Your Investment
Congratulations, and welcome home! The home-buying process is complete, which means it’s time for your maintenance plan! It’s now your responsibility, and in your best financial interest, to protect your investment for years to come. Performing routine maintenance on your home’s systems is always more affordable than having to fix big problems later. Be sure to watch for signs of leaks, damage and wear.
And remember, just because the sale is complete, your relationship with your KRA agent doesn’t need to end! After you buy, your agent can still help you – providing information on the real estate market, finding contractors and repair services, and even tracking your home’s current value.
If you are thinking about buying a property in the Bahamas, maybe still have some concerns or need more information, you are a click away from finding all your answers: CONTACT US