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Bahamas Expat Forum

Relocating to Bahamas

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MrsThompson
2/18/2020 08:23 EST

Hi Guys, so I currently live in London with my husband and 3 children. I teach English in high school and really want to relocate to the Bahamas as we long for a better quality of life, with more family time. I know it’s an expensive country but how expensive would it be if we owned a property instead of renting? Are there a lot of activities for kids there? Would it be easy for me to hire help e.g. a nanny for my kids? Freeport or Nassau? This is what we’re struggling with too. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

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breija
2/18/2020 12:56 EST

Excellent questions! When you talk about wanting a better quality of life, what are you looking for, other than more family time? There are soccer, baseball, and swim clubs here that a lot of both local and expat children are part of. Hiring a nanny here would mean hiring a nanny from away and getting a work permit for them. Same thing for a housekeeper or live in. Lots of people do that here.

If you are thinking about owning, that definitely can make a difference. That said, if you still have a mortgage, it may wipe out some of that difference. Know as well that buying and selling here has a lot of closing costs. As a buyer, typically you would pay 5% of the price in stamp tax, 12% of the price in VAT, and 3% in legal fees. As a seller at the other end, you would typically pay 5% of the price in stamp tax, 3% in legal fees, and up to 6% in realtor fees. That said, legal and realtor fees can clearly be negotiated. So, for some people, the costs of buying now and then selling later outweigh the benefits of owning. That said, if you do not need a mortgage, then the benefits will outweigh the costs.

All this said, as an owner you would also be responsible for all maintenance, and that can become costly. As well, you would want to be sure that you purchase not just what you can afford, but something in a safe area for yourselves and your children. There are a number of gated communities where children can hop on their bikes and go to their friends’ – Treasure Cove, Palm Cay, Port New Providence, Charlotteville, Nautica, Harbour Mews, Sandyport, Old Fort, and Lyford Cay are the primary ones. Palm Cay, Port New Providence, Sandyport, Old Fort, and Lyford Cay are all on canal systems so also more expensive for what you get.

As for how expensive things are here – everything comes in by either boat or air, so everything is more expensive. We have 12% VAT on almost all goods and services, and import duties up to 45% on the majority of goods coming in. So, aside from housing, the cost of living can be high just looking at grocery costs.

Given that you teach English in high school, there are likely job opportunities for you here. There are a number of IB (International Baccalaureate) schools here, as well as other private schools where you would likely be eligible to work with a work permit.

Nassau vs Freeport? I cannot speak to that. They are completely different ways of living, and Freeport has fewer amenities, as the population there is only about 50,000 on the island of Grand Bahama (Freeport), and about 250,000 on the island of New Providence. (Nassau). So, it would really depend upon what you need/want.

Feel free to PM me with any other questions.

Cheers!

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Bahamasbroker
4/12/2020 06:58 EST

Hi

Wondering if your thoughts have changed since the virus has become more widespread.

I live in Freeport, which is also a great city for investment/families. Our infrastructure is pretty good and in the city of Freeport we have no property taxes. Activities for kids are available from beaches to sports and even arts and crafts.

Yes having a nanny is also available. The other respondent was accurate in the fees associated with owning, of course renting is an option should you choose that route initially.

If Freeport sounds like a place you want inquiries about, let me know and stay safe

Tony

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