Cigna International Health Insurance

Bahamas Expat Forum

Making the dream a reality

Post New Topic
STiG911
5/5/2020 11:59 EST

My wife and I have been planning a move to the Caribbean since we got married on Tobago and fell head over heels with the idea of living on a rock with endless summers.

We've visited a lot of islands in the Caribbean since then and got totally and utterly taken with Nassau when we first went to Sandals Royal Bahamian in 2012.
We got the bus into Downtown one day and ended up spending several hours with the excellent Jon Konstantakis from HG Christie looking at houses. That was it - we were sold.

We've been back three times since then (and are currently due to go back this September, but we'll have to see what Covid-19 says about that) and we've tried to do as much homework as possible to ensure we don't go in with rose-tinted glasses as sour the dream before we've even got started.

On two prior occasions, we've rented a car for the day and driven round to various locations on the island looking at what things really cost. Food wasn't much of a shock as we knew it be costly. DIY materials aren't too bad either until you get to the tools section - Yesus!

Anyway, there are two key areas where I'm needing more clarification.
1 - I was set on us living in the West side of the island, but for our budget, I've found some really super houses in areas like Yamacraw, Camperdown and Eastwood Estates. Any honest, no BS feedback on these areas? Much as most people would be all 'gated community' we'd much prefer to become part of whatever local community we relocate to.

2 - Work. My aim is to retain my UK job and work from home once we move. My employer does actually have an office in Nassau, but I'm well aware that I'd need a local role to be based there, and the rules on Work Permits look a right minefield and I don't want it to affect my / our residency status as a result. I guess my question is - is this OK? I did ask the Bahamas Consulate in London but haven't had an answer yet.

Excuse my brain dump! Thanks in advance for replies :-)

Post a Reply

0abuse

Robbai
5/14/2020 19:06 EST

Hello,

Well you already know how expensive it can be to live here. Yes you will find cheaper housing in Yamacraw, Camperdown and the communities out east. It is a real thing that crime is higher in the East and "over the hill" area then it is in the West. Recently crimes have moved more to the West and South West and we hope this will not be a continuing trend but their are many more break-ins in the West and even brutal rape cases happening in the South West communities such as Coral Harbor. Please do keep this in mind when you are selecting the community to live in.

Another real issue is property values and re-sale values. COVID19 situation aside which no one really knows how this will affect the real estate prices, the values of properties in the West have been rising. Properties in the East are more affordable but the values are decreasing and it is likely that you will sale a purchased property for less then you purchased it for. This was the case of a friend of mine who lost nearly $250,000 on his house when selling it 7 years later.

Work permits are quite difficult and complicated here. Best to ask your employer to look in to this for you as they would have to sponsor you for it anyway. I would not be suggesting to work locally without a permit. They will retract your residency and send you back to the UK.

Post a Reply

1abuse

expat health insurance from CIGNA

Choosing an expat health insurance provider is an important decision. Get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA. With Cigna Global Health Options, you can create an international health insurance plan that's perfectly tailored for the needs of you and your family.

Get a Quote

MrsQ
5/15/2020 11:16 EST

I will echo what the previous poster said about areas like Yamacraw. You and your wife would be safest in a gated community. My husband and I live out west in Sandyport, which is a very nice gated community with 24-hour security. Even still, there have been reports of a few attempted break-ins here and in other gated communities on the island. We currently pay $3500 per month for a 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo that overlooks a canal. This amount is on the low end of rents out in the west. You could easily spend $5000 or more for rent here. Another thing that is important to remember when searching for a home here is that you will need a property with a generator, not only because of hurricanes but also because power outages are fairly common here. Your employer would have to sponsor you for a work permit if you plan to work a traditional job on the island. I don't know if your wife plans on working here, but keep in mind that foreign worker permits can be quite costly and difficult for employers to obtain. As a result, Bahamian companies don't tend to hire foreigners unless their skills are highly specialized and not easily found within the Bahamian population. Hope this helps.

Post a Reply

0abuse

breija
5/16/2020 18:17 EST

Hi Stig,

Hoping to shed some light on things here for you – I hear that you have looked at houses, and that you really think you might like to move here. First, it is important to know that buying a house here is not “easy” as an Expat. There is never a clear closing date! Things will happen when they happen! Closing costs are quite high – on top of your purchase price, there is stamp tax (typically 10% shared between buyer and seller), VAT (12% of purchase price); Legal fees (up to 3% of purchase price) plus 12% VAT on the legal fees. When selling, you have all these fees again, plus the realtors fees (up to 6%), plus 12% VAT on the Realtor’s fees. This is really important for people buying to know, because at the end of the day, if you do not stay long term, buying is not always going to save you much, unless you are able to purchase with cash, thus not needs to have a mortgage and pay interest. I definitely have a sense that you are thinking you might want to purchase rather than rent, and that would also enable you to have at least an annual residency permit.

As for a generator – it depends on your needs. Some who do not have a generator are fine with it, and others are not. We do not have one, and it can be a nuisance sometimes, but for the most part, when there are only 2 adults, you can figure it out. We have been here 14 years and have never had one.

Yes, things here are more expensive – everything that you can buy in the stores must come here by boat or air. Therefore, more expensive. Plus, we have duties and VAT on everything coming in. That said, many people, if they are resourceful, will shop online in the US and be able to get things a bit less expensively – but not consistently.

Where to live – first, it is important to note that living east will mean that you are much further from every day amenities – grocery, gyms, coffee shops, etc. The eastern part of the island is more residential, and you cannot easily walk to any of these amenities. Traffic out east (Camperdown, Yamacraw) is much more congested. Eastwood Estates – very close to the prison, psych hospital, and social services neighbourhood – you would need to determine whether you are comfortable with that. If you want to be in non-gated communities, there are other options worth considering.

Work – here, work permits are expensive and held strictly to. If you are working online for a company not based in the Bahamas, technically, you still need to have a work permit, because you are providing the services from here. If you are working from a Bahamian office, then that is a given that you would need a work permit. That said, perhaps your employer would be interested in setting you up as a local employee, and perhaps they would be willing to work with you to get a work permit. It can get complicated, but it can be navigated! If you feel that this is where you want to be, you can make it work!

Feel free to PM me with any more specific questions!

Post a Reply

1abuse

STiG911
5/18/2020 12:02 EST

Thanks for your replies, everyone.

To provide a bit more info, we'd be buying outright, not renting, although we may need to rent short term while the buying process - clearly running on this 'Island time' I hear so much about! - runs it's course.
I am trying to stay focused on the West side of the island, and much as Sandyport and the surrounding area would be our ideal, it's outside our budget. We've seen a couple of gorgeous houses in Westridge recently, and they're also right at the top end of our budget, so i guess we have to hope that some owners are happy to barter back and forth a bit.

I'm well aware that crime can be an issue in certain areas, so we're aware of the need to be vigilant when out and about as well as mindful of security when at home.

I'd be interested in what other areas are worth considering. I was already looking outside our ideal to see what we could get for the money, but it's quite easy to tell from some house listings that the area might not be a good one to settle in (and who's taking the listing pictures ?! some of them are terrible! lol)

I'm working on buttering up my employer insofar as being able to move and keep my job, and I know very well how much of a minefield / impossibility it can be for non-locals to get a job if they try.
My wife would like to work as well at some stage, and while she's currently self-employed as a (very successful) Wedding Photographer, it seems clear that moving that business with us might not be as easy as saying it is.

Anyway - like I say, thanks again. I look forward to more replies! I'll DM some of you if needs be.

Have a great day.
STiG

Post a Reply

0abuse

Expatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Bahamas.

International Moving Companies

Moving to Bahamas? Get a moving quote.


Mail Forwarding to Bahamas

Mail Forwarding to Bahamas.


Expat Tax

Expat Tax Preparation, Expat Tax Professionals

Join Today (free)

Join Expat Exchange to meet expats in your area or get advice before your move. It's FREE and takes 1 minute!

Cigna Expat Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Bahamas from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
Get a Quote

Culture-Shock-in-NassauAn Expat Talks about Culture Shock & Living in Nassau, Bahamas

An expat in the Bahamas says that learning to throw away schedules and live on island time in one of the most challenging aspects of living in the Bahamas. But, he also explains how the laid back lifestyle and less stressful work environment is one of the most rewarding aspects... you have more time to listen to and be present for your children.

An expat in the Bahamas says that learning to throw away schedules and live on island time in one of the most challenging aspects of living in the Bahamas. But, he also explains how the laid back lif...

Living-in-New-ProvidenceAn Expat Discusses Living in New Providence, Bahamas

An expat on New Providence, an island that is home to the capital city of Nassau, offers advice on moving to the Bahamas and what it's like to live there. Finances, life as an expat, locals and more are covered in this report.

An expat on New Providence, an island that is home to the capital city of Nassau, offers advice on moving to the Bahamas and what it's like to live there. Finances, life as an expat, locals and more ...

10-Tips-for-Living-in-The-Bahamas10 Tips for Living in The Bahamas

From duties on household goods to bringing your dog, expats in the Bahamas offer advice for expats and people moving to the Bahamas.

From duties on household goods to bringing your dog, expats in the Bahamas offer advice for expats and people moving to the Bahamas....

5-Tips-for-Living-in-Nassau-in-the-Bahamas5 Tips for Living in Nassau in the Bahamas

Expats who choose to live in the Bahamas can explore a Caribbean paradise. Find out what it means to call Nassau, on the island of New Providence, your home.

Expats who choose to live in the Bahamas can explore a Caribbean paradise. Find out what it means to call Nassau, on the island of New Providence, your home....

5-Tips-for-Living-in-Freeport-in-the-Bahamas5 Tips for Living in Freeport in the Bahamas

Expats in the Bahamas live in the Caribbean but are very close to the U.S. Find out what it means to call Freeport, on the island of Grand Bahamas, your home. Some of it is island paradise, while other parts of the experience are clearly not.

Expats in the Bahamas live in the Caribbean but are very close to the U.S. Find out what it means to call Freeport, on the island of Grand Bahamas, your home. Some of it is island paradise, while ot...

15-Expats-Talk-about-What-Its-Like-Living-in-the-Bahamas15 Expats Talk about What It's Like Living in the Bahamas

Expats in the Bahamas describe what it's like living on an island nation. Cultural adjustment, life in the Bahamas, where to live, meeting people and more is described by people with experience living there.
Expats in the Bahamas describe what it's like living on an island nation. Cultural adjustment, life in the Bahamas, where to live, meeting people and more is described by people with experience livin...

Copyright 1997-2020 Burlingame Interactive, Inc.

Privacy Policy Legal