Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the process of purchasing a property in the British Virgin Islands?
Step 1: Decision to buy in the BVI and finding the Property
Paradise Realty Limited can assist you in finding your slice of paradise in the sun! Let us be the first to congratulate you in considering our British Virgin Islands for your Caribbean home. Our friendly and professional team are ready to assist you in securing your slice.
Step 2: Seek a Lawyer
Seek professional guidance to aid you in this important process. Typically the law firms will charge the purchaser a fee between 1.5% and 2% of the purchase price. Paradise Realty Limited can make recommendations and provide you with neighborhood information so that you choose your perfect property location.
Step 3: Letter of Intent and Earnest Deposit
You will need to make an offer on the property accompanied by a 10% earnest deposit which will be held with Paradise Realty Limited.
Step 4: Purchase and Sale Agreement
Once the offer is accepted, a Sale and Purchase Agreement must be entered between you and the Seller. However, this agreement is contingent upon the purchaser obtaining a Non-Belonger Land Holding License.
Step 5: Non-Belonger Land Holding License
It is a requirement for overseas investors (including citizens of the United Kingdom) to obtain a Non-Belonger Land Holding License to purchase property in the British Virgin Islands. Therefore, your lawyer will need to help you apply for this license. In addition, the property must be advertised in the local newspaper for a period of four weeks as a way to give a local person a chance to purchase the property. Approval of the license may take three to nine months.
Step 6: Closing the Deal
Upon approval of the Non-Belonger Land Holding License, the completion and transfer of the property title is done within 30 days. Thereafter, it's time for you to enjoy your Slice of Paradise in the Sun! Paradise Realty Limited will ensure your move is pleasurable.
2. Can I get financing in the BVI?
Yes, provided that you are a qualified buyer, there are a few banks on the island of Tortola that we can recommend for mortgage financing. Typically, you can obtain financing of 80% of the purchase price or appraised value of the property, whichever is the lesser. The Sale and Purchase Agreement normally will provide 45 days, for you to obtain local financing if necessary.
3. Do I need to pay real estate taxes?
The current real estate taxes are as follows:
On the transfer of title to a property Stamp Duty at the rate of 12% of the contracted price or the appraised value, whichever is higher, is payable by any Foreign Purchaser. Belongers are required to pay a 4% Stamp Duty.
Annual land tax at the rate of $50 for sites up to 0.5 acre, $150.00 for sites between 0.5 and 1.00 and $50 for each additional acre or part thereof.
House Tax at the rate of 1.5% of the assess annual rental value, are levied. In practice, this means that for an average two or three bedroom house the annual house and land taxes will be less than $500.00.
4. What are the costs associated with buying property in the BVI?
Legal Fees: 1.5% and 2% of purchase price.
Non-Belonger Land Holding Liceense filing fee - $200 for each individual on the application or $500 for a company named on the application
Appraisal: The cost of appraisal varies but can be in the region of $700 for homes with value less than $1 million
Fee for grant of a Non Belonger Land Holding Licencs - $600 for each person or $1,000 for the company named in the license.
5. Can I let my property?
Yes, an overseas investor is free to let a property on a long-term or short-term holiday basis upon approval of a Trade License application. Paradise Realty Limited provides a professional, efficient and cost effective property management service.
6. Should I purchase a home oppose to building one in the BVI?
Buying a home is certainly less taxing than building one from scratch. However, either can be done, it's really up to your preference. There are excellent architects and contractors in the BVI that we can recommend should you decide to buy land and build. Building costs may vary between $250.00 and $300.00 per square foot. The advantage of building is that you only pay a 12% stamp duty on the land value instead of a home value.
7. How Do I Get to the BVI?
The Terrence B. Lettsome International Airport on Beef Island. There are no direct flights from the United States of America, Canada, Europe or South America. The customary route is to fly into San Juan, Puerto Rico, where you can get a direct flight on a smaller aircraft into Terrence B. Lettsome International Airport;
Antigua to Terrence B. Lettsome Internatonal Airport is also a popular way for most Europeans to get to the BVI by air.
Fly to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands and take a ferry from Charlotte Amalie or Red Hook to Road Town or West End.
All vessels entering the BVI territory are required to clear with BVI Customs and Immigration immediately upon arrival into the territory. Note the following locations for Ports of entry and Immigration:
Road Harbour, Tortola;
West End Harbour; Tortola;
Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda;
Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke; and
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas.
Please note that some countries may require a visa for entry.