02 Oct 2019Blog

Buying & Owning Real Estate in Barbados

by Monique

Do you dream of owning a house, an apartment or plot of land in Barbados? Are you interested in buying & owning real estate in Barbados? Where do you start and what should you know?

First off, there are no restrictions on who can buy property in Barbados. Seriously, no visa or special status is required for you to own a piece of this rock. Central bank do however require that you register any foreign currency being brought into Barbados but that is a standard practice which your attorney can advise you on.

Speaking of your attorney, once an offer is made and accepted by the vendor, it’s time to appoint your local attorney. Yes, to proceed with a property purchase in Barbados, a local attorney-at-law must represent your interest. Once appointed, the vendor’s attorney will send sales contracts to your attorney. At this point a 10% payment/deposit is required within two to four weeks and must be paid to the vendor’s attorney.

It usually takes three to six months to reach conveyance, as attorney’s go back and forth supplying and requesting documents that satisfy the acquisition of the property. After both parties have completed their checklists, the balance of (the buyer’s) your payment is due to the vendor’s attorney.

What are your transaction costs (buyer)?

Attorney fees: range from 1 % to 2.5 % and are subject to VAT.
Land tax: You may be required to pay a portion of the land tax bill depending on when the sale occurs.
Fees associated with a mortgage (if applicable): For example, QS costs if a survey is required, attorney fees for the mortgage lender, stamp duty, downpayment of % on loan amount.

Bravo! You are now an owner of a property in Barbados! As an owner of real estate in Barbados, what should you expect in terms of running costs? Here’s a list of monthly and annual expenses. The amount per service provider usually differs depending on size of your property and usage:

  1. Land tax (annual):
    • Improved Value (Residential)
      • First $150,000 BBD ($75,000 USD) is exempt
      • 0.1% on the excess greater than $150,000 BBD ($75,000 USD) but not exceeding $450,000 BBD ($225,000 USD)
      • 0.7% on the excess greater than $450,000 BBD ($225,000 USD) but not exceeding $850,000 BBD ($425,000 USD)
      • 1.0% on the excess greater than $850,000 BBD ($425,000 USD)
    • Unimproved (vacant) Residential Land
      • 0.8% of the site value if lot gross area is less than 4,000 sq.ft.
      • 1.0% on all other vacant lots
    • Improved Value for All Other Property
      • 0.95% on the improved value of each parcel of land on which there is a building other than a residence
  2. Insurance (annual):
    • Property Insurance: recommended and required by some mortgage providers
    • Contents Insurance: recommended
  3. Telephone (monthly): Flow or Digicel
  4. Internet (monthly): Flow or Digicel
  5. Electricity (monthly): Barbados Light & Power
  6. Water (monthly): Barbados Water Authority
  7. Cable TV (monthly): Flow, MCTV, Direct TV
  8. Pest control (monthly): Serenity, Rentokil, Parsons etc.
  9. Condo fees or POA fees (monthly) (if applicable)
  10. Pool maintenance (monthly)(if applicable)
  11. Garden maintenance (monthly) (if applicable)
  12. Appliance maintenance (bi-annually): Air conditioning