Experts’ Guide to Buying a House in the Bahamas

The Bahamas offers an enticing blend of beauty, accessibility, and investment potential, making it a fantastic place to purchase real estate. With hassle-free immigration policies and tax-friendly regulations, it’s no wonder this tropical paradise appeals to vacationers, snowbirds, and investors alike.

Wherever you purchase property in The Bahamas, you will get great value and appreciation over the years. The demand is high, particularly in beachfront and resort areas, where buyers range from those seeking vacation or rental income to retirees basking in the tropical sun. 

Moreover, with easy access from major cities like Miami, Toronto, and London, The Bahamas has become a favoured destination for frequent travellers. 

Whether you're seeking a temporary retreat, planning a life-changing relocation, or eyeing a promising investment opportunity, the islands offer it all. So, consider all your options and consult a seasoned realtor before buying a house in The Bahamas.

Looking for top licensed real estate agents in The Bahamas? Meet our qualified and experienced team today

Is The Real Estate Market in The Bahamas Favourable for Buyers?

The real estate market in The Bahamas saw a surge in demand during COVID-19; from then on, it never looked back. As people realised they could do remote work from the sunny Bahamas, this paradise became a prime destination for digital nomads and executives who could take a single flight out of the country if they were needed on-site.

The Bahamas’ high-end luxury properties are particularly in demand. Despite being a relatively small nation with limited available land and properties, the property values are quite resilient.

For buying a house in The Bahamas, this unique market scenario offers both opportunities and challenges. On one hand, it's a favourable time to invest in a market that has proven its resilience. The high demand, especially in the luxury segment, signifies potential returns on investment. 

However, it’s best to engage a local real estate agent to get a good deal, as limited inventory and high interest from property buyers means competitive pricing.

Best Places to Buy Properties in The Bahamas

Although The Bahamas is a relatively small island country, it offers diverse options for homebuyers. Properties on or near the ocean are typically always in high demand and appreciate well over the years. Additionally, gated communities and developments are always sought for their secure nature and on-site amenities.

Expert Tip: Keep an eye on upcoming developments like Jack's Bay in Eleuthera. These emerging developments are expected to yield long-term gains as they continue to develop, offering attractive real estate investment opportunities.

Contact ERA Dupuch Real Estate Agency for promising real estate investment opportunities

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Location

Nassau/New Providence is The Bahamas' most densely populated island. It’s known for spectacular developments like Baha Mar and Albany and luxurious gated communities like Lyford Cay and Port New Providence

For expatriates, this area is a haven of lavish amenities and profitable investments. Many naturally gravitate towards real estate in Nassau/New Providence, but the soaring demand, limited inventory, and higher price tags have prompted both native Bahamians and expat investors to explore other islands. 

For locals, returning to their roots is appealing, where life is more serene and budget-friendly. Expats gravitate toward them for the promise of a peaceful, fulfilling island life, even though these islands may not offer mega-hotels, casinos, and hustle and bustle like Nassau.

Expert Tip:  Each Bahamian island has a unique appeal, so explore your options carefully. For instance, Nassau, the busy capital, is all about the luxury and charm of a big city. In contrast, peaceful islands like Treasure Cay or Cat Island are known for their tranquillity and budget-friendly options.

Here are a few factors to keep in mind when choosing a location for buying your new home in The Bahamas:

Accessibility:  How easy is it to get to? For example, do you want direct flight access, or are you okay with multiple stops to get to your island home?

Beach or no beach:  Is being on or near the beach important? It usually is, but beachfront properties are typically more expensive and high-maintenance, so you’ve got to decide if it’s a deal breaker for you or not.

Budget:  It’s crucial to set a budget, both for purchase and long-term fees, before you start house hunting. Check HOA fees and factor in the maintenance and insurance expenses, which tend to increase with proximity to the ocean. 

Restrictions:  Many islands and communities may restrict how you will use the property. For example, some small islands and many gated communities have a no-cars policy. Similarly, many communities do not allow short-term rentals. 

Amenities:  Make sure your chosen location has the amenities you desire. For example, if you play golf, you can choose communities with golf courses, or if you’re a boater, choose a marina or canal-based community for enjoying water sports.

Expert Tip:  Create a list of needs and another list of wants to understand which features are deal breakers and which amenities you can sacrifice to find a suitable house. Think about gated entry, pools and gyms within the complex, shops, healthcare, restaurants and schools in the neighbourhood.

Hot Neighbourhoods in Nassau

Here are a few famous neighbourhoods and communities on New Providence Island that you should consider:

Lyford Cay:  Located in the west of New Providence, Lyford Cay is a luxury gated community with a fantastic beach, golf course, club, marina and school. Wealthy locals, expats, and investors who want a grand, luxury home should look into Lyford Cay.

Albany:  Home of the ultra-wealthy, Albany is the world-famous resort community developed by the Tavistock Group, Tiger Woods and Ernie Els. Albany boasts a state-of-the-art marina, golf course and every amenity one could want. Those looking to enjoy a luxury lifestyle, living in a luxury condo or home, may not find a better option than Albany.

Old Fort Bay:  It’s a canal-based, family-friendly community on one of the best beaches in The Bahamas. This gated community is perfect for those looking for luxury homes in a charming island-style setting.

Sandyport:  Sandyport is another canal-based community, but with mid-size homes and townhouses. It’s extremely popular with locals and expats alike since it’s a family-friendly community and close to many amenities. Families and investors looking to capitalise on the high demand for Sandyport rentals should consider this community.

Port New Providence:  It’s a canal-based community east of New Providence. With its own private beach, Port New Providence is a favourite among locals, and expat interest is also increasing. In this gated community, you can find large homes on large lots and condos at Seapointe.

Delaporte It’s an oceanfront gated community at the end of the Cable Beach Strip. Delaporte attracts investors and homebuyers for its central location and smaller townhomes, a great choice for anyone wanting an affordable oceanfront property.

Goldwynn:  Goldwynn Phase 2, The Penthouses at Goldwynn, offer the ultimate beachfront living in Nassau. These luxury penthouse suites are the epitome of modern luxury, with sweeping panoramic ocean views and exclusive amenities!

Ocean Club Estates:  Ocean Club Estates is an exclusive luxury beachfront community on Paradise Island. It's known for its golf course and harbourfront homes and the fabulous Ocean Club Residences condos within its gates.

The Reef At Atlantis:  The Reef at Atlantis is a luxury condo hotel— owners can opt to stay in their unit (a maximum of 90 days) or have their unit generating income in the rental pool. The Reef At Atlantis is great for investors who want to enjoy all the amenities of Atlantis Resort and Casino. It’s an especially attractive option for those with children!

Palm Cay:  It’s one of the few communities allowing vacation rentals making it hugely popular with investors. Beachfront, marina-based Palm Cay has a full suite of amenities, making it the perfect choice for both investors and those wishing to reside full-time. Single-family homes and condos in multiple sizes and price points are available at Palm Cay.

Windsor Lakes:  It’s one of the newest communities in New Providence, located next door to Albany. Windsor Lakes offers affordable single and multifamily lots and home packages. This gated western community is perfect for locals and investors alike, whether they wish to buy real estate in The Bahamas to live or rent out for income. 

Understanding the Buying Process

Buying a home in The Bahamas is a dream come true for many, but navigating the purchase process with a clear understanding of the steps involved is crucial. So, let's go through the detailed process of purchasing real estate in The Bahamas and we at ERA Dupuch Real Estate agency, can make this process easier for you.

Step 1: Select an Agent

You may be tempted to do it alone, but we strongly suggest you engage a realtor when you begin house hunting in The Bahamas. With over 700 islands and diverse real estate options, your best bet to buying a suitable house in The Bahamas is through an agent. 

A good agent will get to know you and your needs and show you all suitable listings. Make sure the agent you select is proficient in technology, which is vital if you’re an overseas buyer or are interested in family islands since you may not want to hop islands frequently. 

At ERA Dupuch Real Estate Agency, our realtors are well-versed in real estate apps, online resources, and digital techniques, giving you a comprehensive view of available properties.

Expert Tip:  Work with only one agent, as mutual commitment will ensure your agent will do their very best to find the right property for you.

Hire our expert real estate agents for a smooth buying process

Step 2: Understand Costs

Before you begin house hunting, it's crucial to understand your financial condition. Our real estate agents will help you determine your budget and help you assess whether you'd need to save for the down payment or if you should consider financial assistance. 

Pre-qualification is a vital step that can save you time and heartache down the road. So, make sure you’re financially prepared before you begin house hunting. Don’t forget to factor in the costs you’ll incur while closing the sale:

Value-Added Tax (VAT):  As of July 2023, non-Bahamian buyers will pay 10% VAT on purchases over $100,000 and 2.5% on purchases below $100,000. Buyers are obligated to pay half of the VAT.

Real Property Tax:  Property owners pay an annual real property tax calculated based on the market value of their property. This tax is payable on a sliding scale based on the property value, usage, and ownership. Some exemptions are also applicable; for example, properties owned by Bahamians in the Family Islands are exempt from real property tax. 

Expert Tip:  Ask your real estate agent or attorney about the various property tax exemptions available. Chalk out a plan with them to maximise your tax benefits on buying a house in The Bahamas.

Legal Fees:  You will need to pay the buyer’s legal fees at 2.5% if you hire an attorney.

Expert Tip: It’s best to engage a Bahamian attorney to manage your purchase since their insurance will serve as title insurance for your property if any issue crops up later. 

Lastly, you can forgo title insurance, but shouldn’t skip the hurricane insurance. It's typically around 2% of the property value; the net amount depends on the proximity to the ocean, elevation, and other factors such as hurricane protection installations.

Learn costs associated with investment property in The Bahamas

Step 3: Legal Considerations

Non-Bahamians must consider the legal aspects of buying a property in The Bahamas. Generally, non-citizens can purchase real estate in this beautiful nation with the same rights as Bahamian citizens. Non-Bahamians will only need specific permits when buying

  • properties over 2 acres, 

  • rental properties,

  • or properties for commercial purposes. 

Regardless, expats should ensure property registration with the Foreign Investment Board. 

Anyone who owns a property in The Bahamas is eligible for permanent residency; however, those who invest $750,000 or more get speedy consideration.

Expert Tip:  Register your property with Exchange Control at the Central Bank of The Bahamas. This will ensure seamless remittance of sale proceeds outside The Bahamas when it’s time to sell your house.

Step 4: Choose the Type of Property

Your real estate agent will help you prepare the list of essential features a house should have. We help you save your valuable time by finding the properties that suit your requirements the best. Typically, the choice depends on your lifestyle, budget and other preferences.

For example, condos are great for singles or small families seeking convenience or luxury living for less (compared to beachfront houses). For maximum fun, peace, and tranquillity, beachfront houses are the best choice, but they’re usually pricey— breathtaking views definitely make them worth it!

Step 5: Tour Selected Properties

We only show our customers the most promising properties. Since touring properties is a pivotal part of buying a house, we offer our customers various options to inspect the properties they shortlist. 

During in-person property showings, you can walk through your potential new home or investment with our agent and ask all the questions you may have. If you can’t make it to an in-person visit, we also offer virtual tours for your convenience, which means you can efficiently tour properties in The Bahamas from any part of the world. 

ERA Dupuch Real Estate was one of the first brokerages to adopt virtual tour technology and pioneered electronic storage/signature platforms, giving you the advantage of technology-driven real estate experiences.

Expert Tip:  Note what you like and dislike about the house and how you feel about the property for each place you visit. This will help you compare them with your list of needs and wants and make a decision you feel comfortable with.

Step 6: Negotiate the Price and Close the Sale

Although the current real estate market in The Bahamas is favourable for sellers, the listing price of a property isn’t set in stone. 

Once you’ve found a house you wish to buy, we look at comparable properties in the area to determine a purchase offer. Then we negotiate on your behalf with the seller to get you the best deal. Once both parties agree, we remain by your side to support you through the closing process and beyond. 

It's not just the home price; agents help you navigate other vital aspects like closing costs and contingencies, ensuring you make a wise investment. 

For instance, in addition to the home price, you may need to negotiate repairs or renovations, closing dates, or even contingencies like the sale being dependent on financing. Trust our agents to steer these negotiations, ensuring you secure the most favourable terms.

Expert Tip: It’s not advisable to negotiate yourself. Real estate agents are adept at securing the best deal for you since they have a better grasp of the local market conditions and average home prices in the area. 

Financing and Mortgages for Buying a House in The Bahamas

Financing your Bahamian dream home can be straightforward, but knowing your available options is essential. First, assess your financing needs. For citizens and permanent residents, major banks offer mortgages with attractive terms, including up to 25 years and a minimal 5% down payment.

Expats, on the other hand, might need to navigate different waters. Bahamian financial institutions may require a heftier down payment, typically around 30%, and financing is provided in US dollars at international rates. 

Non-residents from only select countries can expect financing, and each application must meet specific underwriting criteria concerning income, net worth, and credit score. 

ERA Dupuch Real Estate Agency works with reliable financing institutions. Our agents can connect you with the best in business when it comes to mortgages and financing and utilise our network of colleagues in the banking industry to find the financial solution that works for you.

How much can applicants borrow?

Lenders will assess your income and ability to pay back to determine the amount you can borrow. Typically, applicants can borrow up to US $2 million from high street banks, with higher facilities from private banks and financial institutions.

How much are mortgage rates?

Mortgage rates and fees can be around 5% to 8% of the principal amount, and they can generally be amortised for up to 15 years.

With a diverse real estate market and favourable laws and immigration policies by the government of The Bahamas, it's no wonder the country is a magnet for vacationers, retirees, and savvy investors.

ERA Dupuch Real Estate stands as your steadfast guide, making your Bahamian real estate journey seamless. From choosing the right location, understanding costs to selecting the perfect property and negotiating the best deal, we've got you covered.

Take the first step towards buying a house in The Bahamas— contact us now, explore our listings, and let your island adventure begin.


Posted by Helen Dupuch on
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