In The Bahamas most property is sold Freehold with a few exceptions being leasehold properties. The leasehold properties are generally “Crown Lands” (Government owned) properties that are leased for agricultural or development purposes. The Bahamian Government does not generally sell its property. It is required that a local attorney be involved in Bahamian real estate transactions. The attorney will ensure that the documents of title are properly prepared and in order and most importantly, will give an Opinion on the title to the property. This Opinion is considered to be the same as title insurance as the lawyer is liable should the purchaser find that there is a defect in the title. Local lawyers carry indemnity insurance.
There are companies in The Bahamas offering title insurance. The risk premium generally runs between .20% - .27% of the property value.
It is possible to purchase Bahamian real estate in the name of a company. Companies incorporated outside of The Bahamas will have to be registered as a Foreign Company under the Companies Act 1992 (approximate cost $1,500).
If financing is required, it is highly recommended that you pre-qualify for a loan before viewing potential properties. This will enable you to consider properties in the correct price range, saving you time and frustration… and you might find out that you can afford more than you imagined! Pre-qualifying also helps you to negotiate with confidence.
For qualified borrowers, financing of up to 95% is available to Bahamians from a multitude of banks, insurance companies and other institutions.
Local financing is available for non-Bahamians in US$ at international rates. The down payment required is generally on the order of 35-40% of the appraised value of the property or contract price, whichever is lower. Consideration may be given for alternate terms on a case-by-case basis.
Several local institutions currently offer US Dollar mortgage financing at internationally competitive interest rates.
There is NO income tax, capital gains tax or inheritance tax in The Bahamas. There is no sales tax other than the Stamp Tax paid on the conveyance of real property.