How to Buy in the BVIrevivedev2018-12-30T16:03:10+00:00
We understand that merely the thought of buying property on a small Caribbean island might result in a few sleepless nights so we will be sure to hold your hand through the entire process. It’s not complicated but there are a few hoops to jump through.
Offer and Deposit
We will ask you to submit a written offer along with a 10% deposit which will sit in an escrow account and will be returned to you if you don’t enter into an Agreement for Sale with the Seller. If you do enter into such an Agreement, the deposit becomes subject to the terms of the Agreement.
Non Belonger’s Land Holding Licence
If you are not from the British Virgin Islands, you will need to apply to the BVI Government for a “Non Belonger’s Land Holding Licence”. The Licence gives you permission to own the specific property you are interested in. You’ll need a police certificate to show you are not a criminal, bank statements to show you can afford it and some references. You can buy the property in your own name or as a company. The process is pretty much the same.
If you are buying a Lot, you will need to describe in your Licence application what it is you intend to build (for example, a 3 bedroom villa with a pool) and approximately how much you intend to spend. We have some very competent Architects, Contractors and Construction Managers in the BVI and we will introduce you to them at an early stage so that you have a good sense of what is possible and how much it will cost. You can always make amendments later on if your plans change.
We will recommend a BVI lawyer to advise you and help with the Agreement for Sale, your application for the Licence and closing. The Licence costs a few hundred dollars. Legal fees are typically 2% of the first $50k and 1 to 1.5% of everything over that.
You’ll need an appraisal to accompany the Licence application and that costs approx. 0.1% of the purchase price. Stamp duty, paid by the buyer at closing, is 12% of the higher of the sale price or appraised value. So along with the legal fees, appraisal and surveys (if purchasing a Villa), you can estimate that closing costs will be in the region of 14% in total.
Typically closing occurs within 30 days of the Governor of the BVI signing your Licence. Currently the entire process is taking around 6 months. We are, of course, in the Caribbean and the pace of life is a little slower so don’t panic if it takes a little longer. After all, isn’t that the whole point of wanting to spend more time in the islands? If you are purchasing land, that time can be used engaging with Architects and starting work on the plans for your dream home.
We are ready to help with your next BVI property purchase, contact us today to find out more.