Tips on how to buy a home in the Caribbean.
With all 26 countries in the Caribbean surrounded by stunning clear blue waters, powder-fine sand and beautiful forests, calling any one of the islands here your home is a dream worth working hard for.
Since all nations here exude a laidback lifestyle, staying here temporarily or permanently is a must if you hate the fast-paced way of living in a busy city.
The good news is you don’t have to wait too long to own a second home in the Caribbean. Several countries in this region have implemented programs that make it easy for expats to buy properties here. The initial and overall investment is reasonable as well; you don’t need to save or borrow a substantial amount of money to buy a house, villa, condo, or apartment in the Caribbean.
The Fast Track to Owning a Property in the Caribbean
The Citizenship by Investment Programs (CIPs) in the Caribbean are the best route to take if you want to own a second home in this region.
Under these programs, you can own a property in one of the five most beautiful countries in this region. These are:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Kitts and Nevis
Buying a property included in the CIP is not too expensive, especially when you compare it with the rates in other countries that have similar programs. Additionally, aside from owning a second home in the Caribbean, you will get a second passport.
This means that when you buy a government-approved property in any of the aforementioned Caribbean countries, you can apply to become a citizen. Your dependents are eligible for second citizenship as well.
By taking the CIP route to buy a residential property in the Caribbean, you can legally and formally call your chosen country your second home.
Establishing Your Second Home in the Caribbean
If you are planning to buy a property in the Caribbean soon, here are some tips that will help you navigate the process smoothly:
1. Decide in which country you want to buy your second home
Since there are many countries in the Caribbean that you can potentially call your second home, finding the ideal one will take some time. Because of this, narrowing down your choices should be the first thing you do.
If you have already been to the Caribbean and have a preference for a particular country, find out how you can own a second home there. Check if you can buy and own property legally as well since you are a foreigner.
However, if you want to be practical and get the most out of your investment and you are open to staying in any country in the Caribbean, consider limiting your options to the five nations that offer CIP. You will get a second passport without having to renounce your current citizenship. You will own an excellent property in this region as well.
The five countries offering CIP are some of the loveliest not only in the Caribbean but also in the world. As such, you will have a home in a picture-perfect paradise, enjoy the best of island living, and have one of the most powerful passports in the world all at the same time.
2. Start shopping for your second home
Once you have chosen which Caribbean country to own a second home in, begin looking at properties that you can invest in.
Visit property listing sites and browse through homes that are ready for occupancy or near completion. If you are availing of the CIP, make sure you look at properties that are government-approved.
Get in touch with real estate companies that have property listings in your target country. By doing so, you will get more details about your possible future home.
Make sure you talk to licensed agents or consultants from trustworthy real estate agencies. This means checking the background and reputation of each firm. You can do this by looking up the company online and reading customer reviews and comments about them.
3. Conduct extensive research
Looking at photos and getting as much information as you can about different properties are essential steps for establishing your second home in a Caribbean island paradise. However, you need to do more to ensure you will live in a perfect abode, in the best place. This means going beyond face value and digging more into your potential residence.
Start by finding out if quality health and support services are available. If you have kids, consider their educational needs in case staying long-term in the country is in your future plans. Make sure you know the foreign exchange rate as well.
Additionally, find out how developed the infrastructure is. These include roads, electricity, and communications infrastructure.
Also, look into the benefits you can gain when you live in your chosen country. The majority of the nations here do not impose capital and estate taxes on foreigners. Your income from your home country and other areas outside the Caribbean may not be taxed either.
4. Visit your future second home
If you have money and time to spare, it will be worth your while to take a trip to your selected Caribbean country. By doing so, you can check out everything again or for the first time yourself, to see if having a home here is the right decision.
Visiting the country will also allow you to view and inspect the property you will invest in personally. You will get to see the neighborhood, the facilities, and anything else that you love or are curious about in your potential new home.
Additionally, you can talk to your real estate and immigration consultants, if you are working with them, to iron out your plans. It is also the perfect opportunity for you to ask them any questions or share with them any misgivings you may have that they can help dispel.
5. Prepare your finances
To avoid or minimize the usual money-related issues that come with buying a property, know how much you need to invest in this venture beforehand. Aside from the actual home, you will have to pay for other charges such as real estate commission fees and the service fees of your attorney and licensed citizenship consultant.
Make sure you are ready to transfer all payments ahead of time. If you are planning to take out a loan, apply for one as early as possible so that you will avoid delays in paying the fees. You will be sure you will meet the deadlines as well.
When making your budget or computation for the total investment you have to make for owning a second home in the Caribbean, make allowances for both expected and unexpected additional or associated fees.
Making any one of the picturesque countries in the Caribbean your second home is not impossible. By doing your part and getting help from experts, you can fulfill this dream.
– Kal Kennard is a Partner at Citizens International, a white-glove specialist firm offering private client services necessary for citizenship investment into the Caribbean, North America and Europe. Based in the Caribbean for the past 15 years, she is an experienced consultant who works directly with many professional partners and advises clients worldwide.