Buyer Resources

For Buyers

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Buyer's Guide

Buying property is one of the most significant decisions one makes in a lifetime. We realize the importance of being well informed prior to making any commitments. The following information is provided for your understanding of investing in The Bahamas. We are always willing to assist you, and when you are ready feel free to contact us.

Stamp Duties & Taxes

The Government Stamp Tax on Property Conveyances A graduated tax is payable on the conveyance of all real property in The Bahamas based on the value as follows:

  • Up to and including $20,000 - 2%
  • From $20,000.01 to $50,000 - 4%
  • From $50,000.01 to $100,000 - 6%
  • From $100,000.01 to $250,000 - 8%
  • Over 250,000.01 and over - 10%

The usual practice in the Bahamas is for the tax to be shared equally between buyer and seller unless otherwise agreed upon.

Real Property Tax

Owner-occupied Property

Owner-occupied property means property occupied by a person who being the owner in fee simple or a mortgagee in possession occupies and resides in such property exclusively as a dwelling house.

>The rate of tax is calculated as follows:

  • The first $250,000 is exempt from payment of taxes.
  • Next $250,000 taxes are paid at the rate of ¾%.
  • The Balance taxes are paid at the rate of 1%.
  • Note that the maximum annual tax shall not exceed $35,000.
  • There is no exemption under this section for property used solely for commercial purposes.

Vacant Land

  • The first $3,000 the property owner would pay $30.00.
  • On the next $97,000.00 taxes are paid at the rate of 1%.
  • On the Balance taxes are paid at the rate of 1 ½%.

Any Other Property (commercial)

  • On the first $500,000 taxes are paid at a rate of 1%.
  • On the Balance taxes are paid at a rate of 2%.

Schedule of Fees

  • Application for registration - $25.00
  • Application for permit - $25.00
  • Certificate of registration:

    • the value of the property is $50,000 or less - $50.00
    • the value of the property is over $50,000 but under $101,000 - $75.00
    • the value of the property is $101,000 and over - $100.00
    • Home owner resident card - $500.00

    Current Legislation

    The International Persons Landholding Act, 1993

    The repeal on the 1st January, 1994 of The Immovable Property (Acquisition by Foreign Persons) Act drew a sigh of relief from many attorneys and real estate agents. For years, these professionals had complained that the Act made the acquisition of land in The Bahamas by foreign persons cumbersome and that it acted as a deterrent to legitimate investment.

    Registration

    The International Persons Landholding Act 1993 encourages foreigners or companies owned by them to purchase a second home in The Bahamas as this area was thought to have the most significant potential. If a foreigner acquires a single family dwelling or vacant land to be used in the construction of such a dwelling then he no longer need obtain a permit from the Government (specifically the Investments Board) prior to the purchase. He need only register the acquisition subsequently with the Investments Board.

    Permanent residents of The Bahamas and foreigners who inherit property in the Bahamas are now treated more kindly. In neither case are they to obtain a permit before acquiring land butmust merely register subsequently.

    Incentives for Foreign Buyers

    In line with its policy of actively encouraging foreign investment, the government has included in this Act a provision that a foreigner no longer pays a double rate of stamp duty. He now pays the same single rate as a Bahamian. Furthermore, a foreigner who owns a home in the Bahamas may now obtain an annual homeowner resident card upon application and payment of a fee to the Director of Immigration. The Card authorizes the entry of the holder and his immediate family. Their stay in the Bahamas is authorized provided there are no restrictions for policy reasons or under the Immigration Act.

    Residency

    Permanent Residency

    Those who wish to settle in The Bahamas by investing in property, retiring here, or opening a business usually apply for this status. Accelerated consideration for Permanent Residency can be obtained with a minimum property investment of $500,000. Applicants must be of good character, show evidence of financial support, and say in writing that they wish to live permanently in The Bahamas. Wives and dependent children (under age 18) usually resident in a household can be endorsed on the certificate when the original application is made or later, subject to conditions, which may be made by the Immigration Board.

    Persons with this status prior to the Immigration Act (1975) continue to hold the status automatically. Spouses of Bahamians can receive a Certificate of Permanent Residence with the right to engage in gainful employment at any time for females and after five years of marriage for males. Spousal permits may be obtained in the meantime at a cost of $250. Permanent residency can be revoked for cause including divorce. Cost of Permanent Residence is $10,000 before issuance, with endorsements free.

    Annual Residency

    A head of household pays $1,000 plus $25 per dependent. Applicants for annual residency status must show evidence of financial support.

    Male spouses of Bahamians pay a one time fee of $250 with no charges for dependents, and with proper documentation, may work here on a spousal permit.

    Registration

    The International Persons Landholding Act 1993 encourages foreigners or companies owned by them to purchase a second home in The Bahamas as this area was thought to have the most significant potential. If a foreigner acquires a single-family dwelling or vacant land to be used in the construction of such a dwelling then he no longer need obtain a permit from the Government (specifically the Investments Board) prior to the purchase. He need only register the acquisition subsequently with the Investments Board.

    Permanent residents of The Bahamas and foreigners who inherit property in the Bahamas are not required to obtain a permit before acquiring land but they must register subsequently.

    Permit

    The foreigner will require a permit however if (1) the property is undeveloped land and of five acres in size or larger, or (2) the property is not a private residence, or it is not intended for development as such.

    A registration certificate or permit must be included along with title documents to be recorded in the Registrar General's Office otherwise the recording will be null and void.

    Mortgages

    The new act provides that licensed banks, trust and insurance companies who acquire an interest in or take possession of property under a Court Order must register that acquisition or fact of possession. Acquisition by way of foreclosure under a mortgage or of land acquired by an authorized foreign state will not require a permit but must be registered.

    Leases

    Foreigners are not required to obtain permits, register leases or letting agreements unless they are for trade or business purposes and the term can exceed 21 years.

    More information coming soon.