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The Bahamas Investor

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Property transactions
Property transactions

We demystify the fees involved with international real estate sales and what it takes for a foreign investor to buy property in The Bahamas.

Investor Resources
January 16, 2013
January 16, 2013

Reprinted from the 2011 edition of the Bahamas Handbook

In New Providence, real estate agents charge a 10% commission on the sale of undeveloped property; 6% on developed property, whether residential or commercial; and 10% for Out Island property, whether land, home or commercial.

Stamp duty on property conveyances and transfers is as follows:
Up to & including Stamp duty
$0-$20,000 4%
$20,000.01-$50,000 6%
$50,000.01-$100,000 8%
$100,000.01-$250,000 10%
Over $250,000 12%

In property sales, the vendor and purchaser each pay half the stamp duty unless otherwise agreed.

Sellers generally pay commission, stamp duty and legal fees. Sometimes property owners list a net sales figure, in which case the agent adds those charges to the price quoted to prospective buyers. Stamp duty on mortgages is payable at a rate of 1% on the amount borrowed.

The Bahamas Bar Assoc follows a minimum scale fee for conveyancy and mortgage transactions at 2.5% of the sale price plus out-of-pocket expenses.

International Persons Landholding Act, 1993
Amended in 2007, The International Persons Landholding Act, 1993, made it easier for non-Bahamians and companies under their control to own property.
1. A non-Bahamian or permanent resident who purchases or acquires an interest in a property to be used by him as an owner-occupied property, or for construction of premises to be used as an owner-occupied property, must apply to the secretary to the Investments Board (IB) to register the purchase. Application for Certificate of Registration Form I must be filed with the Bahamas Investment Authority (BIA), Office of the Prime Minister. Documents to accompany the completed form include signed and dated conveyance; evidence of payment of stamp duty; evidence of payment of real property tax paid up to Dec 31 of previous year; and original receipt from the Public Treasury evidencing proof of payment of the requisite fee of $250.
2. Upon receipt of the above, the acquisition is registered and a certificate of registration issued.
3. A permit to acquire property is required if the property is undeveloped land and the purchaser would become the owner of two or more contiguous acres. A permit is also required if the non-Bahamian intends to acquire land or an interest therein by way of freehold or leasehold, when the acquisition is not in accordance with item 1.
4. Non-Bahamians who own homes in The Bahamas may apply for an annual homeowner’s residence card that entitles the owner, spouse and dependent children to enter and remain in The Bahamas for the duration of the validity of the card (one year). This facilitates entry–it does not confer resident status in The Bahamas.

All applications for permits, Form 3, are to be submitted to BIA for consideration by the IB. If approved, a letter is issued and payment of the requisite fee of $500 is paid at the Public Treasury and the original receipt returned to BIA. The permit is then issued by the Secretary to the Board. Certificate of registration or permit (with acquisition documents) must be recorded in the Registrar General’s Dept.

Fee schedule
Certification of Registration $250
Permit $500
Annual homeowner’s residence card $250

Essential information on the government of The Bahamas' immigration policy, adapted from the Bahamas Handbook.

The Bahamas leads the field in the region for investment fund administration, primarily due to key funds industry legislation that sets the jurisdiction ahead of its rivals.

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