REAL ESTATE IN THE BVI

If you’ve always dreamed of living in the Caribbean or are considering a second home or investment property in paradise, then read on for some exciting options in the British Virgin Islands.

The first question might be, “Where to buy?” Our islands have different personalities, and each community offers its own unique advantages. So spend time here first. Stay in our hotels or rent a villa or two in the areas you’re considering. Before you take the plunge, make sure it’s right for you.

Having decided which island is right for you, next you will need to decide how close to the water you want to be. The dream is often beachfront. As idyllic as that might sound, the practical realities are that beachfront homes tend to be buggier with a little less breeze; and the salt air will mean more maintenance. For others, it’s certainly waterfront with the opportunity to moor their yacht close by. Yet the breezes to be had from a hillside home will certainly be welcome year-round but particularly in the summer when things tend to heat up. The vistas also really open up the higher up into the hills you go.
Before making your decision, consider carefully what the main use of your property will be. Are you planning to relocate permanently to the BVI?  Or will you use the home as a vacation getaway? Coldwell Banker Real Estate BVI has been helping clients like you with just these sorts of decisions for over 10 years. We have a fantastic selection of home sites, villas and condos throughout the BVI, both on the water and up in the hills.

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RENTING A HOUSE IN THE BVI

Owning a property in the BVI is a dream come true for many.  However, some property owners are travelling or absent for much of the time, and maintaining an empty property can be costly and time-consuming. One option is to rent out the property, which will ensure that an income is generated and the property will be occupied and cared for.
There is steady demand for stand-alone houses from the many professionals (lawyers, accountants, doctors, etc.) that come to the BVI on two-year-plus contracts. If you are thinking of renting out your home, the following should be considered:
◆ Standard long-term rentals are for a period of 12 months and often have the option to renew.
◆ Is the property suitable for young children, families with older children or singles/couples? Would you allow pets?
◆ Who will pay for the pool, garden and generator maintenance? You can pay for these yourself (and include the costs in the rental sum) or you can ask the tenant to cover directly. Both options work well, but if you have loyal and long-standing service providers who you want to remain in situ, you may want to pay them directly.
◆ Are any repairs or upgrades to fixtures and fittings and appliances needed?
◆ Will you lease the property fully furnished, and if not, what items would you want to remove in advance of occupancy?
◆  Does the property have water in the cisterns and Wi-Fi and cable supply?
◆  Ongoing property management. Who will collect the rent, oversee repairs and be the point of contact for the tenant?
By working with an established and experienced Realtor, you can get advice on the rental value of your home, how best to identify and secure the right tenants and ongoing property management delivery.

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Can I Buy Property in the BVI?

The short and the long answer is yes. Land, resale homes and even custom building your own home is possible here. All people born elsewhere including British citizens are considered Non-Belongers and must apply for a Non-Belonger Land Holding Licence.

How Do I Buy Property in the BVI?

Find the property you wish to purchase. Submit an earnest deposit, normally 10 percent of purchase price, along with a sales offer to purchase the property from the vendor. The property must be advertised in both the local papers and online advertising media for four consecutive weeks in order to allow BVI Belonger Residents to match the offer and take-over the property purchase.

Non-Belonger Land Holding Licence

Purchaser and vendor then agree upon a legally binding Sale and Purchase Agreement. The purchaser must prepare and file for an Alien or Non-Belonger Land Holding Licence, which includes providing proof of good character including a police record, financial resources, a recent valuation of the property, use to be made of the property including rental history if applicable, along with some other miscellaneous items. It is highly recommended using a reputable local attorney’s assistance to prepare the Non-Belonger Licence application as well as help verify property title, etc. The Licence will only be good for the one property you are purchasing (limit of one property per Non-Belonger). If you are building a new house, you must specify the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and whether there will be a pool. (No detailed building plans are required at this point, although it is wise to get an architect/builder involved to see what could be constructed on the land before filing.)

How Long Does It Take to Purchase Property in the BVI?

Approvals are currently running 6 to 8 months from the acceptance of a sales offer. Once you receive your Non-Belonger Licence approval, you would normally close the purchase within about 30 days.

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