Tips for Buying Propery in Nassau, Bahamas
An expat in the Bahamas offers in-depth advice about the real estate market in the Bahamas. Covers he most popular areas for expats like Sandyport, Old Fort Bay and Lyford Caye. Also, housing costs, the steps in buying property, closing costs and more.
Popular Areas in Nassau, Bahamas for Expats
Sandyport, Old Fort Bay, Lyford Cay, Albany, Love Beach area, Charlotteville, Balmoral
and Sea Breeze.
Searching for a Property in Nassau, Bahamas
Thre are a lot of real estate companies here. Some of the better ones I have dealt with are:
Adam Duncombe of ERA Dupuch Real Estate
Marilyn Ayearst-Hartley of Bahamas Islands Realty
Gavin Christie of C.A. Christie Real Estate
Claire Thackray of Mccarroll Real Estate
Of course that is not to say the rest are all no good but I have come across some shady ones and so prefer to stick with the ones I know are honest and helpful.
If you are looking to rent, you probably better off just asking around. Everyone knows people with homes for rent to expats and you will get a better deal not going through a real estate agent, just make sure you have a qualified person look over the lease agreement. If you want to build, speak directly with the builders, ask around to get the names of good ones. If you plan on building in a gated community the association can normally help you with finding a good builder as they don't want poorly developed homes in their community.
What Your Budget Will Buy You in Nassau, Bahamas
Large homes are very expensive in Nassau. If you go out east you can find large homes for much cheaper but be aware the crime level is higher there and this is one of the reasons many expats choose to live more west. Prices are higher in gated communities such as Albany, Lyford, Old Fort Bay and Sandyport but this comes with security guards, boat docks, canals, property maintenance etc. A large home in these communities will be over a million dollars and can get much higher from there. You can find smaller homes in the gated communities for the $700,000 to one million range. If your budget is lower you can look for a condo in these communities for around $500,000 more or less. If you want even cheaper I suggest looking outside these communities in areas like Coral Harbour and South Ocean where you can find much better deals and the risk is not as high as out east. If you are living alone you can also often find small apartments both in and out of the communities that are more reasonably priced.
Before You Buy a Property in Nassau, Bahamas
Above all I suggest renting when you first arrive and take the time to learn the island and make contacts before buying into anything. You will discover that some areas are much more desirable than others. The maintenance cost can also be drastically different depending on where you are located, remember that Nassau is subject to hurricanes and hurricane insurance is quite expensive.
Most real estate agents work with lawyers and can recommend good ones. Having a lawyer is nearly mandatory and I would not suggest purchasing a place without one. Again, ask around first and make sure you have a good one. If you cannot find one on your own I suggest contacting Sandy Lightbourne but their are also many other goods ones available.
Costs Involved in Buying a Property
Property taxes are not outrageously high. However their are some high closing costs that a good real estate agent will explain to you. These vary depending on the value of your home and your citizenship. Large homes are taxed at a higher rate when owned by foreigners. The VAT tax was also recently raised which increased the cost of buying and maintaining a home in the Bahamas.
Foreign Property Ownership
Not really, not at the personal property level.
5 Best Places to Buy Real Estate in Nassau, Bahamas
Old Fort Bay: For those who have the finances. This is a an upper scale growing community which promises good return on your investment in the foreseeable future.
Sandyport: A more affordable alternative which is very popular with the expats such as the embassy workers. Values do not get as high as in Old Fort Bay so you may not make as much money on the sale in the future but its a safe bet.
Charlotteville: Another more affordable community that is popular with expats and rental properties.
Cunningham Estates: It's an emerging market right on a beautiful long lake which should gain in value over the next few years.
South Ocean: This is a lower priced neighborhood in the west. If you do not have the finances for the established communities but you have the time to sit on a property until the neighborhood develops this might be for you. As more people are moving out west these areas will become more built up, just don't expect to sale it rapidly.
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Steps in Buying Property in Nassau, Bahamas
Buying a property here in the Bahamas is very similar to most western countries. Find the property you wish to make an offer on and get pre-approved for a bank loan in the range you are looking for, submit the offer through a real estate agent or directly, hire a property lawyer when the offer has been accepted, complete the paperwork and registration process through the lawyer and/or real estate agent. It will help if you have a work permit, already have the finances for the property or are pre-approved for a local loan.