Barbados - where it’s all happening right now!
Land Area: 
166 sq. miles
Barbados Dollar
Most easternly of the Caribbean Islands

Barbados claims to have the most straightforward buying and selling procedures in the Caribbean. There are no punitive purchase taxes and Property Transfer Tax on selling is 2.5% plus 1% Stamp Duty. This can be reduced if ownership is in the name of a single asset property-holding company as shares not title are being conveyed. Offshore property companies must be registered under the Companies Act of Barbados.

Mortgages are available to both local and non-residents and returning Barbados nationals are given preferential terms even although they live overseas. Lenders don’t discriminate against borrowers who rent their property although the rental income is not recognized in the application process. Locals can borrow up to 100% of the purchase price in some instances, but 95% max LTV (Loan to Value) is more widely used as the benchmark. Non-residents can borrow up to 65% LTV against detached properties and 60% for condos.

The Barbados real estate product is diverse and can range from multi-million dollar properties on the Platinum West Coast to modest little wooden chattel houses all over the island. There are also impressive beachfront condos on both the West Coast and the South Coast, the two most populated areas on the island. The West Coast is the most prestigious area with prices up to 75% higher than similar properties on the South Coast. Location is everything in Barbados real estate as most overseas buyers tend to buy close to the more populated coastlines, but for value for money moving inland can be very attractive. The island has many attractive villas in rural settings and some charming old plantation houses. When renovated and modernized they look magnificent, but they are lifestyle homes with high maintenance and not the ideal investment for owners looking to rent. All the best rental options are close to the beach as that’s what most visitors come to Barbados to enjoy.

Lawyers must be engaged in the buying and selling process and their fees vary from 2-3%, but this is a general guideline as a scale of fees is in operation so lawyers have an element of discretion on what to charge. They will also apply an additional fee where a mortgage is involved. Buyers are expected to pay a 10% deposit on signing a Sale Agreement and while completion should take place within three months it is not unusual for it to take longer, especially when a mortgage is required, as three sets of lawyers will be involved. Borrowers should engage the services of a reputable Mortgage Broker, as the mortgage process can be cumbersome for the layperson as lenders are selective and cautious.

With its ritzy and high end reputation Barbados offers a lot for the property investor and the retiree. The island’s economy is fuelled by tourism, which produces regular visitors and consistent rentals while the quality of living is of a high standard although the current government continues to struggle to live up to the lofty objectives it laid out in its election manifesto.

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