Property in Barbados

Let’s start with an overview of the island for people who are interested in property near a beach, supermarket, and filling or charging stations. First thing to bear in mind is that the beaches on the East and South Coasts have been plagued by Sargassum since 2015 – not great for swimming – or for that matter flying fish which are unable to jump through the seaweed. Also there have been sewage issues on the South Coast and some beaches were closed last year. A new sewage outlet has since been built reaching some way out to sea.

This leaves the West Coast in a favourable position, as there is usually no seaweed to speak of, and sewage is through septic tanks or wells. There are some good beaches on the West Coast, and the most modern supermarket on the island is Massy in Holetown. So location on the West Coast is best, but a word of advice – the presenters on overseas property programmes like “A Place in The Sun” do the not know what they are talking about .

People with property for sale may put a “for sale by owner” sign up, but most likely use an agent whose commission is around 5% of the selling price plus 17.5% VAT, so about 5.875% in all. The reason I mention this is that a lot of additional fixed costs also fall on the seller – transfer tax 2.5%, stamp duty 1%, land surveyors fees if necessary. Then there are also the legal fees paid by both parties – which are on a fixed sliding scale and not cheap. Buyers just pay legal fees – I suppose you could have a survey or inspection done if you want to pay additional fees – there may be a termite warranty if the place was regularly treated – and if there are signs of ground movement like cracking it is best not to buy.

The land is mostly unregistered, which means that you get a pile of deeds to keep – suggest you photograph everything and keep the originals in a safe deposit box. There is a Land Registry, but progress towards registration of all land has been painfully slow – no surprise as the fixed lawyers fees for registered land are much cheaper.

Earlier I mentioned TV presenters – I think they must collect a few properties to show from an agent who stands to get the full commission on the sale without splitting. Also these programmes like to encourage participants to put in offers just below the asking price – in Barbados the right price to pay might be 60 to 70% of the asking price for a house,maybe less !

So bearing in mind selling expenses, it is sensible to try to be right first time when buying in Barbados

When I have a bit of time I will also talk about bringing stuff – cars, appliances, etc. to Barbados.


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