FAQs About Buying Property in The Bahamas

Property Buyer's FAQs

We are happy to share with you the following frequently asked questions asked of us from prospective homes buyers who are looking to purchase property in The Bahamas. Choose a link from the list below, or scroll through them all to learn more.

Why Buy in The Bahamas?

The Bahamas Government has an investor-friendly outlook to encourage international investors to buy property in The Bahamas. International ownership of homes and properties under five acres in size is straightforward. A Certificate of Registration issued by the Bahamas Investment Board and The Central Bank of The Bahamas completes the purchase.

Is it possible for an international buyer to live in The Bahamas?

Yes, the Government has also adopted an accommodating position on granting residency permits to international investors and homeowners. International buyers can apply for Annual Residency upon purchasing a property valued at more than $250,000.  International buyers purchasing a property valued at $750,000 or more may apply for Permanent Residency. International buyers purchasing a property valued at more than $1.5 million will receive expedited consideration for Permanent Residency. An annual Home Owners Residence Card is available to all international homeowners and immediate family members to enter and remain in The Bahamas for the duration of the card's validity.

Will I be able to repatriate my proceeds of sale after I sell?

Yes, once you have obtained a Certificate of Registration for your investment at the time you purchased it, you will be able to repatriate the entire proceeds of sale (including profit) after the completion of the sale of your property.

Should I hire an local attorney to represent me when purchasing property?

Yes, we strongly recommend hiring a local attorney to represent your best interest in purchasing a property. The attorney will undertake a title search of the property, provide you with an opinion on the title and will rectify any outstanding title and lien issues. The attorney’s opinion on the title is similar to obtaining title insurance in that the attorney is liable for any defects subsequently found. The law firm’s indemnity insurance covers covers the attorney's opinion of title. Once your attorney proves the title to be good and marketable, your attorney will review and perfect the conveyance to ensure the proper title is passed onto you to complete the sale.

Is title insurance available?

Yes, there are some title insurance companies in the Bahamas offering title insurance.

What are the costs involved in buying or selling property?

  • Transfer Tax (VAT) 2.5% of the property value, for a property valued at $100,000 or less. 10% of the property value, for a property valued at more than $100,000. Typically, the Transfer Tax is shared equally between the buyer and the seller, unless otherwise agreed between themselves.
  • Legal Fees - Each party pays its respective legal fee and 12% VAT thereon. Typically, the legal fee for a party will not exceed 2.5% of the purchase price.
  • Real Estate Commission Brokerages charge 6% of the purchase price for developed land and 10% of the purchase price for undeveloped land. Typically, the seller pays the real estate commission, unless otherwise agreed between the buyer and seller.

What is the annual Property Tax?

The Government assesses and charges annual Property Tax (aka Real Property Tax), based on the following:

  • For owner-occupied residences on the part of the market value that does not exceed $250,000 - exempt
  • On the part of the market value that exceeds $500,000 and does not exceed $5,000,000 - 1%
  • On the part of the market value that exceeds $5,000,000 - ½% ($60,000 annually cap)

For Undeveloped Land:

  • First $7,000 of market value is assessed at $100.
  • On the part of the market value that exceeds $7,000 and does not exceed $75,000 - 1.5%
  • On the part of the market value that exceeds $75,000 and does not exceed $500,000 - 0.75%
  • On the part of the market value that exceeds $500,000 - 2%

In respect of any other property (i.e. commercial, multi-family investment, etc.):

  • First $500,000 of market value is assessed at 1%.
  • More than $500,000 of market value is assessed at 2%.

    Exemptions on specific properties do exist and so any owner seeking clarification should contact the Department of Inland Revenue.

    Citizens of The Bahamas are exempt from taxes on on undeveloped land throughout The Bahamas and properties owned in the Family Island.

    Are real estate agents licensed in the Bahamas?

    Under the provisions of the Real (Brokers & Salesmen) Act, 1995, the Bahamas Real Estate Association (BREA) licenses all Brokers and Salesmen in The Bahamas. Any person wishing to practice real estate lawfully must be licensed to provide such service and earn a commission or fee.

    In the 1990s, BREA and the National Association of Realtors signed a Bilateral Agreement which effectively acknowledges both countries' licensing and immigration laws while establishing a business protocol that allows a licensed association member in one country to refer business to a licensed association member in the other country. No international real estate agent can practice real estate in The Bahamas without a valid BREA license and the proper Bahamas immigration status.

    Do I need any special approvals to build or renovate a property?

    Yes, any person wanting to build on or renovate a property must first submit architectural plans (including structural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing) for review and approval by the Town Planning Board and then obtaining a Building Permit from the Ministry of Works.

    What taxes are paid in the Bahamas?

    There is no personal or corporate income tax, no capital gains tax and no inheritance tax assessed by the Bahamas Government. There is no sales tax on goods, but there is Value Added Tax (VAT) on goods and services.

    The Bahamas Government’s main source of revenue is duty charged on the landed cost (i.e. first cost plus shipping) of all items brought into the country. Importation duty ranges from 0% to as much as 220%. The average duty paid on most imported goods is 35%. VAT is then charged on the landed cost plus the importation duty.

    Can international investors work in the Bahamas?

    Obtaining residency in The Bahamas does not entitle you to work in the country. International buyers must first apply to the Ministry of Immigration to receive the appropriate work status.

    The following are some of the areas targeted for international investors:

    • Touristic resorts
    • Upscale residential development – condominiums, timeshare and second-homes
    • Information and data processing services
    • Assembly industries
    • High-tech services
    • Light manufacturing for export
    • Captive insurance
    • Agro-industries

    The following are areas reserved explicitly for Bahamians:

    • Wholesale and retail operations
    • Commission agencies engaged in import/export trade
    • Real estate and domestic property management agencies
    • Domestic newspaper and magazine publications
    • Domestic advertising and public relations firms
    • Security services
    • Domestic distribution of building supplies
    • Construction companies
    • Personal cosmetic/beauty establishments
    • Commercial fishing
    • Auto and appliance service operations
    • Public transportation
    • Landscaping

    The above lists are not exhaustive, and investors interested in areas not mentioned are encouraged to bring their interest to the attention of the Bahamas Investment Authority.

    Are there any internationally recognized schools in the Bahamas?

    Three schools offer the International Baccalaureate program:

    • Lyford Cay International School (Nassau – K-12)
    • St. Andrew’s International School (Nassau – K-12)
    • Lucayan International School (Freeport – K-12)

    There are several other successful and popular private schools in The Bahamas, primarily located on New Providence:

    • Kingsway Academy (K-12)
    • Queen’s College (K-12)
    • St. Augustine’s College (7-12)
    • Tambearly School (1-9)
    • Windsor School (K-12)

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