Barbados Property Guides Useful Tips in Today's Market.

A Helpful Tip for Marketing Your Property

Whether or not you live in Barbados, if you are renting or selling your property, we believe that one of the best ways to market and advertise your property is with full color photographs.     

 Did you know?

  • Only 10% of house purchasers can visualize a home's potential.
  • Most home buyers cannot look past unattractive, disorganized or mismatched furnishings.
  • People change their homes to improve their lifestyle. Your property needs to sell the idea of offering a better lifestyle than the one they already have.
  • People prefer to buy property that does not create work for them.
  • The longer a property is on the market, the lower the eventual selling price.
  • Surveys have shown that properties that are ‘staged’ for sale, sell 75% faster, for an average of 10% more.

After many years of experience, we have found that there are a few minor things you can do to maximize your property’s visual appeal in print media and websites.  Photographs tend to make rooms appear smaller.  If a room contains lots of furniture and/or personal effects, the images can look cluttered instead of warm and homey.  With this in mind, here are a few useful suggestions that will help us photograph and show your property to its absolute best advantage.

  • Less is Best - removing excess furniture will help rooms appear larger.
  • Putting away as many nic-nacs and personal effects as possible, leaving tables, sideboards and counters tidy and clear, can make rooms appear larger.
  •  Store all clothing items away in drawers and wardrobes.
  •  Have all those last minutes bits of washing-up put away so the kitchen counter-top is totally clear.
  • Paint and/or repair any obvious areas requiring attention.
  • Clean light switches and ceiling fan blades.Mow the lawns and trim garden shrubs.

Properties new to the market receive the most interest from potential buyers.  Remember that when selling a home, to get a quick sale at or close to full asking price, the property needs to show in an appealing and enticing manner.  Potential buyers need to be able to emotionally connect to the home.  For use in websites and media print, photographs which make rooms look bigger and brighter encourages buyers to visit and view that property.  Buyers who visit and view a property they believe will improve their lifestyle often buy it -- the stronger the connection, the more likely a good offer is on its way.

 

 

Staging can be a valuable tool!  Let one of our professional and friendly staff work with you on how best to show your rental or sales property to maximize the interest it will receive and to improve your chances for a quick sale at a price that you desire.  Call or visit Ron Karp Realty Ltd. today to discuss your Real Estate needs.

 

BEAVA & MLS

One issue of primary concern to all homeowners trying to sell their home is, “How do I make sure my property is seen by the maximum number of people?” Of equal importance probably should be, “How do I make sure the maximum number of people who are motivated or likely to buy my home see my property?”

The answers to both questions lie with the real estate professionals you entrust to sell your home and the extensive network of listings they use to access properties throughout Barbados. The real estate professionals are your realtors and the network is called the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®).  Realtors are experts, trained and licensed in the field of real estate, who help people buy and sell homes.  The professional association of realtors in Barbados is the Barbados Estate Agent and Valuers Association (BEAVA)*.  The future of realtors in Barbados will be to meet the criteria to become members of BEAVA which operates the MLS® system. 

Realtors are experts in determining what a potential buyer wants in a home — and a large part of the realtor’s job lies in finding properties that meet a buyer’s needs.  Using the MLS®, a realtor can search the database for homes that suit budgets, location preferences and family requirements, and quickly put together a short list of suitable homes. This means that when the time comes to view homes in earnest, buyers know exactly which homes they want to see, what their options are and what types of properties the market has to offer. What’s good for the buyer is also good for the seller. 

So, when you have made the decision to sell, make sure you ask your realtor about an MLS® listing. It could be that your realtor will already know a number of potential buyers, but listing your home on MLS® will ensure wide exposure of your home to a broad range of interested people.

 ______________________

*As the professional organization of realtors in Barbados, BEAVA recognizes those agents who have met the qualifications to be a member of BEAVA.  Once members, these agents are bound by the duties imposed by its Code of Ethics. While BEAVA has implemented a system of monitoring and policing the industry to increase public confidence and to ensure the integrity of its members, it is the duty of the real estate agent or valuer that he/she is well informed of current market listings and conditions in order to advise his/her client on the best properties to view that would meet their criteria, or the fair market price to list their property.

 

Buying a Home - A Guide to Getting Started with Buying your First Home

 A Guide to Getting Started With Buying your First Home

Are you tired of throwing away money on rent and figure that it's time to get into a home of your own?  If it's your first time of buying, you've probably got questions.  You might be a little nervous that you'll mess up, and it's normal to feel that way.  You will find that being an informed individual about the home buying process is empowering to you.  Lucky for you that you came to the right place!  Let's get started buying your first home!

Before Buying a Home, Get your Finances in Order!  Line up your financing, set aside a down payment and study loan programs available.  By doing your homework, you will know exactly how much you can pay and what it will cost you.

Determine a Down Payment!  The more you put down, the lower your monthly mortgage payment.

Get a Preapproval Letter!  Showing the seller you are already pre-approved for a loan gives you an edge during offer negotiations.  This will save you a lot of time and heartache down the road.

Pick a Real Estate Agent to help with buying a home! With so much information available online, you might wonder why you need an agent at all.  But markets vary from one another, and a good agent can guide you by giving you information based on experience and market knowledge.  Why Hire an Agent?  An agent with experience can help you to choose the right home at the right price. 

With over 34 years experience in the Barbados Real Estate Industry, Ron Karp Realty has an intimate knowledge of the Barbados property market.  Let Ron Karp Realty Ltd. and their experienced agents help make your buying process a smooth experience!

Buying a Home with Good Resale Value

Consider Resale Value When Buying a Home

The time to think about selling your home is the day you buy a home.  If you buy a home with good resale value, it should be fairly easy to sell if and when that time comes.  But some home buyers never consider resale value when they buy; they focus solely on whether the home suits their needs at the time of purchase.

Number One Rule of Home Resale Value.  Location.  You hear the phrase in triplicate – location, location, location!  If you choose a home in a desirable location, odds are that the location will remain in favor which will always attract a larger pool of buyers.  Alternatively, if the location is less than desirable, it’s possible that your future sales price may be less than the homes around it thus attracting less interest from buyers.  Be careful to choose the correction location.    

Basic Indicators of a Home with Good Resale Value.  Foremost, define the type of buyer who would purchase such a home.  Then think about the type of home that kind of buyer would need.  How does your home compare?  Here are some indicators of a good resale value home:

· More than 2 bedrooms.  If almost every home in the neighborhood has only 2 bedrooms, owning a home with fewer than 3 bedrooms is most likely not a drawback.  Many couples need a guest bedroom and/or office, if not an office for each occupant.  A home with 3 bedrooms or more can be a better choice to ensure future resale value.

·  More than one bathroom.   Buyers will still buy a one-bath home but they may expect to pay less for it.  Given a choice between a two-bath home and a one-bath home, first time home buyers will almost always opt for the two-bath home.  And, it’s not enough to simply have two or more baths – a home without a master bath could have a lower resale value.

· Family space.   A family space is any space in which a group of people can congregate.  Whether to entertain friends or to host an event, buyers want a room that is spacious and informal.  The days of formal living rooms and parlors are over – every space has a specific purpose or purposes.

· Storage space.  People collect a lot of stuff!  We have got to store it somewhere!  Built-in cupboards and/or walk-in closets are almost essential.  Homes with small closets or no storage space could be harder to sell.

· Garage.  Unless you live in an area that can rely on mostly public transportation, you need a place to park your car, preferably 2 parking spots.  If it’s a covered, enclosed area all the better.

· Good flow, layout.  Most home buyers prefer natural light and open spaces, with an easy flow.  Many families with young children do not want the master suite separated from the other bedrooms.

· Updates, remodeled.  Simple, do-it-yourself home improvements can greatly enhance a home’s resale value.  The two best rooms to remodel are the kitchen and the baths.  In our tropical paradise, many buyers prefer air conditioning, at least in the bedrooms.  Some lenders may make “energy efficient” mortgage loans which may provide for such updates upon purchase.   

With over 30 years experience in the Barbados Real Estate industry, Ron Karp Realty Ltd. has an intimate knowledge of the Barbados property market.  Contact us today and let our experience and local knowledge work for you.

Choosing a Property Management Service

A Property Management Service is designed to take away the stress and hard work involved in owning a property in which you don’t live.  Whether the property is empty, a personal holiday home, long term tenanted or caters to holiday lettings and whether you live overseas or in Barbados, your property is a valuable asset which needs to be taken care of if it is to retain its value and appreciate, rather than depreciate. A Property Management Service will do just that --  take the same care for your property as you would do yourself if you had the time.   

After you have decided you would like to use the services of a property manager, choosing one is the next most important decision you will have to make, for they will be responsible for looking after your investment. Property Management is a highly skilled and challenging profession.  A good property manager must have an intimate knowledge of the local real estate industry, an understanding of building, electrical and plumbing workings, as well as strong interpersonal skills for liaising between the property owner, tenants and service personnel.  They should be dedicated and resourceful individuals who know their region well, with an extensive list of reliable, skilled personnel to call upon. 

Your property manager should be able to offer a range of services which can include: property inspections, compiling inventories, collecting rental fees, paying bills and taxes, organizing repairs and maintenance, coordinating garden and pool contractors, preparing tenant notices, providing detailed reports, depositing revenue into owner’s bank account, and even arranging refurbishments of a property, if needed.  Property Management companies should be able to tailor a service to suit each client and their needs.

Finally, choose a property manager who offers practical advice and an emphasis on personal service. 

Since 1986, Ron Karp Realty has established itself as dedicated professionals offering personal service paying close attention to our clients’ needs and responding efficiently.  Our Property Management department was established to offer complete peace of mind to our owners that their property will be looked after and maintained in top condition.  Contact us today and let our experience and knowledge of the Barbados property market work for you.   

Choosing a Real Estate Company


Why use an agent?  As a seller, you can find your own buyer but the question is, would an agent help you to achieve a better price?  Much depends on the real estate market!

 

In a hot seller’s market, almost anybody can stick a sign in the yard and attract offers. That’s because buyers are falling all over themselves to buy property.  In a buyer’s market, there are fewer buyers, thus making an agent’s services worth more.  (More buyers purchase homes through a real estate agent.  If you don’t hire an agent, you could be losing exposure to a large percentage of the buying population!)

 

Smart consumers interview potential real estate agents before deciding on whom to hire.  Just as you are sizing up the potential company for a good fit, remember that the real estate agent will likely be interviewing you as well.  You wouldn’t work with just any agent off the street and good agents are just as selective about their clients.

 

Finding a good real estate agent/broker is essential to enjoying a painless real estate transaction. The saying is "20% of the agents do 80% of the business," and it is true. The question is how can you find a good real estate agent?  The best agent for you doesn't necessarily work at the largest brokerage, close the most transactions or make the most money. The best agent for you is an experienced professional who will listen to you, conduct themselves in an ethical manner and knows your market. You should find an agent with whom you feel comfortable and in whom you can trust.

 

If you are thinking of buying a Barbados property, Ron Karp Realty Ltd. offers 30 plus years of experience in the Barbados Real Estate industry. Whether you are interested in buying, selling, constructing, long-term rental, short-term holiday rental or having your current Barbados property managed, we offer a complete range of real estate services. Our goal is to ensure every client receives a professional, efficient, discreet and friendly response to their real estate needs!  Contact us at Ron Karp Realty Ltd. today!  We will work for you.

Determining Your Home's Worth

Whether you live in Barbados or not, the single most important factor to consider when selling a house is the current value. How much is your property worth?  You don't want to overprice the house because you will lose the freshness of the home's appeal after the first few weeks of showings. On the other hand, don't worry about pricing it too low because homes priced below market value often may receive multiple offers, which will then drive up the price to market. Pricing is all about supply and demand. It is part art and part science, and no two agents price property the same way.

But We Want More Money

When the average seller sits down with a real estate agent, it's easy to get caught up in the excitement of choosing a sales price. Let’s face it -- more money means more financial opportunities for the property owner. It may mean the seller can afford to buy a more expensive home, or to help pay for their child's college education, or to take that greatly overdue vacation. Unfortunately, uninformed sellers often choose the listing agent who suggests the highest list price, which may not necessarily be the correct price and could prove costly in the long run. 

Establishing Value 

It may not matter how much money you think your home is worth. The person whose opinion matters is the buyer who makes an offer.  Pricing homes involves comparing similar properties, making adjustments for the differences among them, tracking market movements and taking stock of present inventory, all in an attempt to come up with a range of value which is an educated opinion.   This method is the same way an appraiser values a home.   And no two appraisals are ever exactly the same; however, they should be generally close to each other.   In other words, there is no hard and fast price tag to slap on your home. It is only an educated guess and the market will dictate the price.

With over 30 years experience in the Barbados Real Estate industry, Ron Karp Realty Ltd. has an intimate knowledge of the Barbados property market.  Contact us today and let our experience and local knowledge work for you.

 

Estimated Costs for Conveyance Transaction

Estimated Costs for Conveyance Transaction

Disclaimer: These are Statutory Fees according to the Legal Profession (Remuneration for Non-Contentious Business) Rules 1997 and these fees are charged on the basis of the time spent by the Attorney and the responsibility undertaken, which prescribe minimum attorney’s fees for non-contentious matters. These fees represent a sliding scale and we would advise that you consult your Legal Representative to get a quotation of the estimated fees as required.


 1) Agreement for the Sale and Purchase of Land

  Vendor
  For building estates- $250
  Other agreements- $400

  Purchaser  

  For building estates- $300
  Other agreements- $600

2)  Sale and Purchase of Land

For preparing and completing conveyance of unregistered land (excluding conveyances under the Tenantries Freehold Purchase Act)

Vendor

Up to $25000                                                                                $750

On the next $75000                                                                         2%

On the next $100 000                                                                   1.5%

On the next $300 000                                                                  1.25%

Thereafter                                                                                         1%      

Registered land two-thirds of the scale above

Purchaser

Up to $25 000                                                                               $1000

On the next $75 000                                                                       2.5%

On the next $100 000                                                                     1.5%

On the next $300 000                                                                    1.25%

Thereafter                                                                                           1%

Registered Land one-third of the scale above

 

VAT @ 17.5% is to be added to the total.

Holiday or Vacation Rental Service

Whether the property is your personal holiday home or an investment that caters specifically to holiday lettings and whether you live overseas or in Barbados, your property is a valuable asset which needs to be promoted to its full potential.  Our Holiday  or Vacation Rental Service will do just that. 

Using our experience and knowledge of the Barbados real estate industry and overseas market potential, our Holiday or Vacation Rental Services may include many of the same services provided by our Property Management Service, but could also include additional services which are not limited to the following:

  •   Inspect, evaluate and make recommendations to improve the property and/or its operational efficiency, if needed;
  •  Inventory all fixtures, fittings, furniture and furnishings;
  • Market, advertise and promote the property using internet display with strategic advertisements and through close relationships with other regional holiday-letting businesses;
  • Receive and manage reservations for the property;
  • Meet and greet guests at the property and be their local point of contact during their stay;
  • Arrange concierge services for guests as required; 
  • Collect rental fees and VAT where applicable;
  • Perform regular inspections of the property; and
  • Prepare and provide regular detailed service statements 

 Our Holiday or Vacation Rental Service and Property Management Service can either be combined or contracted separately.   

 

Since 1986, the Ron Karp Realty Ltd. team has established itself as dedicated professionals with attention to detail.  Our goal is to give complete peace of mind to our owners that their Barbados property is being promoted to its full potential.  

 

Mortgages

Welcome to Barbados!

Barbados offers a superb climate, a relaxed way of life, economic and social stability, reliable infrastructure and excellent investment opportunities.  Buying property in Barbados can be a rewarding undertaking.  The availability of Barbados mortgages for non-residents can simplify the process and help you realize your dream. 

 

Barbados Mortgages

Non-residents and companies are eligible to receive mortgages in Barbados from the local banking sector to finance the purchase of Barbados Real Estate.  Being able to source a mortgage locally eliminates a great deal of the complexity involved in buying international real estate away from home and opens up investment possibilities.

Information for Non-Residents on Barbados Mortgages

Non-residents have additional considerations to take into account when applying for a mortgage in Barbados and the banking institutions may be different from what they are accustomed to working with at home.

Being traditionally more conservative, the Barbados mortgage institutions are more adverse to risk than other international institutions.  This generally has protected the local institutions from the high default rates seen abroad, however, it may mean that various financial options and incentives with which they are familiar may not be available. 

Non-resident mortgages are only available in foreign denominated currencies and will need to be approved by the Central Bank of Barbados, which is generally a very straightforward process.

Mortgage applicants must also procure a valuation report by one of the lender’s approved consultants.  In addition, an attorney is required to complete the purchase process.

Generally, mortgage repayment terms are between 15 to 25 years and will vary with the lender.   Additionally, mortgages are only available for 70% Loan to Value (LTV) for non-resident buyers.

Status and Documentation Requirements

Here is a general guide indicating the status and documentation required when applying for a Barbados non-resident mortgage:

•    Applicants must be individuals or single asset property holding companies
•    Applicants must be able to service the loan independently of the rental income generated, if any, from the property
•    Information on income, expenses, assets and liabilities including bank statements and information on existing mortgages, as well as evidence of funds available for down payment
•    A credit report from a recognized credit bureau
•    Passport or photo ID

•    A construction estimate if you plan to build, as well as approved construction plans.  The estimate should show a breakdown of the stages of the construction and the costs of each stage

•    An agreement for sale (if you are buying a property, this would be a letter from the person selling the property)

•    An appraisal of the property.  This will be needed whether you are buying or building a home, but check with your financial institution to determine whether this is needed before or after you are approved for financing.

The above list is not exhaustive and is only intended to act as a guide.  The individual lenders will have differing requirements.

 

Hiring a Barbados Mortgage Broker

As not every local bank offers mortgages to non-residents, to save yourself time and trouble, you might consider hiring a mortgage broker. 

 

A Barbados mortgage broker can serve as a buyer’s greatest asset when it comes to finding the mortgage best suited to their needs.  The biggest advantages of hiring a broker include the realization of cost savings by finding the most suitable mortgage, as well as saving the client much frustration.

A good mortgage broker should offer the following services:

•    Perform an assessment of the client’s requirements
•    Source  the most suitable options available
•    Assist in the selection of the best option after further discussion with the client
•    Package all required mortgage documentation and present it to the bank
•    Secure an Offer Letter within a reasonable time frame
•    Liaise with all parties to move the process forward expeditiously
•    Offer the client additional guidance and access to quality contacts for property management, tax advice, legal considerations, valuation, investment and sales

A mortgage broker will generally charge a fee of 1% which is only due if the mortgage is secured for the client.  While this can vary from broker-to-broker, the leading brokers will generally follow this rule.  This fee is relatively small when compared to the considerable savings from securing the right mortgage.

As with any international undertaking in a foreign country, it is best to have a reputable industry insider on your side to look out for your best interests and make any transaction as seamless as possible.

 

With over 30 years experience in the Barbados Real Estate industry, Ron Karp Realty Ltd. has an intimate knowledge of the Barbados property market.  Contact us today and let our experience and local knowledge work for you.

Moving to Barbados - Immigration Guide

Immigration Regulations

All visitors to Barbados require a valid passport. Citizens of some countries also require visas.

 
Duration of Visit

Visitors coming to Barbados should provide proof of adequate means of support during their stay.

 
Extension of Stay

Visitors wishing to extend their stay should make an application to the Immigration Department on the prescribed form which is available at the Department.

The following items should be submitted with the application:

  • one passport size photograph
  • a valid passport or travel document
  • a valid airline ticket
  • evidence of means of support
  • application fee of BBD$100.00 (US$50.00)

Visitors are not permitted to engage in any occupation or to accept any employment during the period of their stay.


Permanent Residence
 

Persons who wish to take up permanent residence in Barbados must provide tangible evidence that they are not likely to become a charge on the nation. Applications should be made to the Immigration Department.

 
Long Term Residence

If you are considering moving to Barbados for a couple of years or even just a few months, there are several accommodation options available. Explore our website to find the perfect property for you and your family.

Students

Persons who wish to pursue a course of study in Barbados should apply for a student visa before entering the island. Applications for student visas should be made on the prescribed form to the Immigration Department

Work Permits

All non-nationals desirous of working in Barbados are required to register with immigration prior to commencing employment.

The types of permits available to non nationals are:

Pets

The following guidelines must be followed when importing any animal into Barbados:

  • An import permit must be obtained from the Chief Veterinary Officer before the importation of all animals, reptiles and birds.
  • A Veterinary Officer must examine the animal before it is allowed to leave the customs area.
  • Dogs and cats must be free of any communicable disease. These animals may be imported by permit directly from the USA, UK, Ireland, Jamaica, St. Kitts-Nevis, Antigua, St. Lucia and St. Vincent. Cats and dogs originating from all other countries must undergo 6 months quarantine after which time an import permit can be secured.
  • For further inquiries, contact Veterinary Services at Tel: (246) 427-5073 or Fax: (246) 420-8444.

For additional information:

Chief Immigration Officer Immigration Department
Careenage House,
The Wharf,
Bridgetown, Barbados
Tel: 246-426-1011
Fax: 246-434-4100
E-mail:
Imm-dept@caribsurf.com

Multiple Listing Service

There are three major kinds of property listings; open listings, exclusive listings and multiple listings. 

Open Listings  

Open listings are listings in which homeowners list their property openly with many agents.  There are no guidelines as to how many agents can represent an open listing.  Open listings are often attractive to homeowners as they are able to have numerous agents working on selling their home simultaneously.  Unfortunately, this method usually does not result in fast and successful home selling as agents become de-motivated from the high competition amongst themselves.  There is little financial security for the work that is put into “selling” the listing.

Exclusive Listings 

Exclusive listings are often thought of as an attractive listing method by agents, as the homeowner agrees to give only one agent the rights to sell their home.  With exclusive listings, agents are confident that they are the only individual who will get the commission from the home sale and, therefore, are highly motivated.  Unfortunately, homeowners are discouraged to sign their property as an exclusive listing due to the potential significant decrease of market exposure. 

Multiple Listings

The multiple listing was developed to encompass the benefits of both the open and exclusive listing.  The multiple listing requires that a homeowner lists with only one agent, guaranteeing that agent rights to the commission of the home sale if it is sold before the listing expiration.  However, unlike an exclusive listing, the multiple listing ensures vast market exposure as every agent has the right to sell that home and share in the commission.  A multiple listing service provides that there is both a listing agent and a selling agent and that these two agents share the commission.  The listing agent represents the homeowner and is responsible for drawing attention to their listing, while a selling agent represents buyers and is responsible to meet their buyer’s needs.

In order for Multiple Listings to be successful, an exchange of information among agents to ensure that listings are getting full market exposure needs to be established. BEAVA, the association of professional real estate agents, is establishing such a service.

The Multiple Listing Service (or MLS®) provides a means of advanced data sharing where all association members can quickly access information about MLS® listings.  This system is very successful as homeowners know that to get full market exposure they need to list their property on the MLS®.  Using the Multiple Listing Service entitles agents to secure compensation, homeowners to extensive market exposure, and prospective buyers to a comprehensive and detailed list of properties for sale.  

Property Tax

 Land Tax

Under the Barbados Land Tax Act, taxes are payable by property owners on the real estate that they own on an annual basis. The land tax year runs from April to March. Rates vary between nil and 0.75% of the value of the property, depending on the value, with a maximum land tax payable of US$30,000. The seller will have prepaid the land taxes before completion of any sale of property and a buyer will be responsible for the months between completion and March of the following year. The taxes to be applied are as follows:

      1)  Unimproved commercial or residential land is taxed at 0.60% of the site value.

      2)  Improved value on residential land:

              -  Up to US$95,000 (exempt)

             - On the excess of the improved value greater than US$95,000 but not exceeding US$250,000                          (0.1%)

             - On the excess of the improved value greater than US$250,000 but not exceeding US$625,000                       (0.45%)

              - On the excess of the improved value greater than US$625,000 (0.75%)

      3) Improved Value on all other property (0.5%)

·    Pensioners who occupy their own homes will pay residential rates but on 50% of the amount by which the improved value exceeds US$75,000.

·   Land tax is capped at US$30,000 where a dwelling house is used exclusively as a residence by the person who owns the land on which the dwelling house is erected. However, it must be noted that this cap is no longer supported by legislation but this concession continues to be applied in practice by the Barbados Land Tax Department.

·    With respect to commercial, industrial, hotel and villa properties, the applicable rate of land tax is 0.65% on the improved value of the property. A rebate of 50% is granted to hotels and 25% to villas, on production of a certificate from the Barbados Tourism Authority. 

Municipal Solid Waste Tax

The Municipal Solid Waste Tax Act 2014 (“the Act”) was recently implemented to all property owners in Barbados. According to the Act, there shall be charged and levied on the site value of ‘improved lands,’ a tax to be known as a “municipal solid waste tax”. Improved Land refers to the land where there is an improved value. The tax shall be levied at such rate as may be specified by the Minister by order.

Effect of Tax

The Tax will be charged on the site value of all improved land at a rate of 0.3% effective from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015. The Tax payable for this year will be payable on the site value as reflected on the 2014-2015 Land Tax Bill.

When to pay the Tax?

The tax is payable to the Commissioner in two (2) installments:

1)  The 1st installment shall be paid on or before June  30th in each year for which the tax is payable.  This was however extended to July 28, 2014.

2)  The 2nd installment shall be paid on or before December 31st in each year for which the tax is payable.

It must be noted that this installment is payable irrespective of whether the land tax demand notice had been issued by the Commissioner. If you have not received the Land Tax demand notice, you may contact the Revenue Authority at 430-3101 to confirm the site value of the improved land.

Remission or Refund of Tax

If the Minister is satisfied on grounds of undue hardship or for any other reason that it would be just and equitable to do so, he may remit or refund the whole or any part of the tax imposed under the Act, including any penalties thereon, paid by any person.

Penalties

Where a person fails to pay the tax due or payable under this Act, that person shall in addition to the tax, pay to the Commissioner, a penalty equal to 5% of the amount which was unpaid. An interest rate of 1% per month shall be paid on any unpaid tax or penalty imposed from the prescribed payment date until the date of actual payment.

Exemptions

There has been a 100% remittance granted to the following persons:

1)   Pensioners who own properties with improved values of US$95,000 or less.

2)   Entities which fall under the International and Regional Agreements.

There has been a 50% remittance granted to the following persons:

1)  Owners of land being used for agricultural purposes that have been verified by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management.  

Purchasing Barbados Property Consideration Guide

Looking to invest in Barbados real estate?  There are several options available and several local companies available to assist you through the various stages of the process.  Let us use our experience and local knowledge to assist you.  

Whether you are currently living in Barbados, or looking to invest from overseas, there are several things to consider when buying or selling your property. This Guide will help answer some of the many questions you may have. For additional information, please feel free to contact us directly.

To start, here are a few guidelines for non-Barbadian buyers of Barbados real estate:

  • Land and property are available without restrictions to non-nationals.
  • A non-Barbadian buyer must first receive permission from the Central Bank of Barbados. This step is merely a formality.
  • Vendors are liable for the property transfer tax which is charged at the rate as outlined in the table below.
  • Financing is available locally for non-Barbadians, however, various regulations apply. (See, Residence and Exchange, below.)
  • You must retain the services of an Attorney-at-Law on the island to represent your interests.(See, Retaining Legal Advice, below.)

The remainder of this Guide outlines other considerations to be considered in deciding to invest in Barbados Real Estate. It also gives a very simple outline of the process of buying real estate in Barbados.

Legal Considerations

The Barbados legal system is derived from English common law statutes.

Retaining Legal Advice

Any person intending to buy or sell real estate in Barbados must retain the services of an Attorney-at-Law on the island to represent their interests. The Agreement for Sale, the Deed of Conveyance and the Deed of Transfer must all be prepared by an Attorney-at-Law. The peculiarities of Barbados' Conveyancing Laws, the absence of any scheme of insurance, and the predominance of unregistered title to land are factors that may render real estate transactions in Barbados potentially risky for the unfamiliar purchaser.

The Agreement for Sale

Once you have found the appropriate property, and the negotiations are complete, the starting point of the sales transaction is the Agreement for Sale, which is usually prepared by the Attorney-at-Law acting for the Vendor.  At the time of signing, the Purchaser signs the Agreement in duplicate and pays a deposit-typically 10% of the purchase price. The Agreement, together with the deposit, is then delivered to the vendor's Attorney-at-law. The Vendor will then execute the Agreement and a copy of the duly executed agreement is then delivered to the Purchaser's Attorney-at-Law.

Investigation of Title

After the Agreement is signed, the Purchaser's Attorney-at-Law conducts a search against the title to the property to ensure that the Vendor holds a good legal title to the property and there are no encumbrances such as mortgages or charges of liens affecting the property. Encumbrances may also take the form of unpaid judgments, outstanding water bills, and unpaid land taxes.

Completion of the Sale and Purchase

Once the investigation of title is completed, the Vendor's Attorney-at-Law prepares the instrument used to convey the title to the Purchaser. Upon closing, the Vendor's Attorney-at-Law will normally exchange that instrument, along with prior deeds, for the balance of the purchase money.

Closing Costs

The Vendor of the property will be liable to pay the Stamp Duty and Property Transfer Tax. Legal fees are usually 1.5% to 2% of the purchase price of the property plus applicable VAT.

Taxation Considerations


Land Tax

Land Tax, or Property Tax, is payable annually and is computed as follows: (for the 2011-12 Tax Year)

 

There is a ceiling of US $30,000  where the dwelling house is used exclusively as a residence by the person who owns the land on which the dwelling house is erected. For additional information, please see Barbados Land Tax info.

Property Transfer Tax

Effective April 1st 2007, the land tax rate is 2.5%, payable by the vendor upon the sale of the property. Where the transaction is land only, the property tax is paid on the full amount. However, if the transaction includes a dwelling house, the first BBD$150,000.00 is exempt from the tax, effective April 1, 2008. For additional information, please see Barbados Land Registry.

Stamp Duty

This is payable by the vendor at the rate of 1% on the gross consideration.

Personal Tax vs Corporate Tax

The property owner can hold the real estate investment personally or they may set-up a holding company to do so. In either case, so long as the owner and/or the holding company are non-residents for Barbados tax purposes, there will be a withholding tax at a rate of 25% on the gross rental income earned from the property.

It is possible to obtain permission from the local tax authorities to file a Barbados tax return which would include the gross rental income less the related expenses. In such a case, if the property is owned personally, the applicable tax rate is 15% on the net rental income. The rate also applies if a company owns and rents the residential property.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

Where the property is rented on a short term basis and income exceeds BBD$5,000 monthly or BBD$60,000 per annum, the owner will be required to register for VAT and charge VAT accordingly. In Barbados, VAT is imposed on the supply of a dwelling house that is rented to persons for use as a vacation or holiday home at the rate of 7.5%.

The owner may also claim VAT that is charged by suppliers on the maintenance of the property etc. against the VAT charges on the tenants. However, long term rentals are exempt from VAT.

Other Considerations

There is no Capital Gains Tax in Barbados; nor is there any Estate, Inheritance or Gift Tax. The title may be taken in a person's name or a company may be set up to own the property. In case of ownership by a company, if it is incorporated outside of Barbados, it must be registered in Barbados.

Property Management Fees

This cost can vary depending on the needs of the client. The property management companies on the island are excellent and the services are customized to suit every property owner's needs.

Deposits

Contract deposits are usually 10% of the purchase price. A refundable reservation deposit is required if the Buyer is purchasing at the pre-construction phase. Stage payments are then made in accordance with the sale agreement schedule.

Bank Accounts

A non-national may open a bank account with the proper identification and bank and professional references. Anti-money laundering legislature requires non-nationals to provide evidence of Source of Funds.

Agency Fees

The unofficial commission rate for real estate agents is 5% of the sale price plus applicable VAT.

Residence and Exchange Controls

Non-residents are required to apply to the Exchange Control Authority for permission to bring in and register their foreign currency for the purchase of property in Barbados. This is to facilitate the future repatriation of funds. Failure to do so could prevent or delay such repatriation. In the statement made by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance on March 14th 2007, it was proposed where there was sale of a property by a non-resident to another non-resident and there is no foreign exchange loss, the proceeds of the sale can be repatriated without restrictions.

 

 

Things to Consider When Applying for a Mortgage

No matter what institution you finally decide to use, there are some basic things to consider and documents required before you take that first step through a lending institutions front door.

Using a Mortgage “Budget Planner” can assist you to determine the amount you can comfortably afford to borrow towards your purchase of property.  Some of the items for consideration are:

Income

Your monthly salary/wages (after tax):

Your spouse/partner's monthly salary/wages (after tax):
Other monthly income (rent from other property etc.):

Expenses

Rent/Mortgage repayments:
Property Taxes (pro-rated monthly):
Utility Bills (electricity, water, telephone, etc.):
Car Maintenance Expenses (gas, tune up, etc.):
Car Insurance/Car Licence Fees/Vehicle Taxes (pro-rated monthly):
Life Insurance/Pension/Endowment payments:
Property & Contents Insurance payments:
Food Bill:
Clothing Expenses:
Education (School Fees, Books, etc.):
Medical/Dental (Visits & Prescriptions):
Entertainment Expenses:
Membership Fees/Subscriptions:
Other expenses (Holidays, gifts, etc.):
Monthly repayments on existing loans:
Monthly Hire Purchase/Credit Card Repayments:

Totals

Total Income:

Total Expenses:
Monthly Disposable Income:

(Total Income – Total Expenses = Monthly Disposable Income)

When applying for a mortgage, it will certainly save time if you have the following documents available, where applicable:

1. National Identity Card or passport, for identification.

2. Telephone, water or electricity bill to confirm your residential address.

3. A letter from your employer verifying employment (to include length of employment) and your most recent salary slip.

4. Copies of recent bank statements (up to 6 months) or a bank reference letter from your banker if you are a new customer.

5. An agreement for sale (if you are buying a property, this would be a letter from the person selling the property).

6. A construction estimate if you plan to build, as well as approved construction plans.  The estimate should show a breakdown of the stages of the construction and the costs of each stage.

7. An appraisal of the property.  This will be needed whether you are buying or building a home, but check with your financial institution to determine whether this is needed before or after you are approved for financing.

With over 30 years experience in the Barbados Real Estate industry, Ron Karp Realty Ltd. has an intimate knowledge of the Barbados property market.  Contact us today and let our experience and local knowledge work for you.  

Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Hire A Real Estate Agent


With so much information readily available online, people sometimes ask themselves, "Why should we hire a real estate agent?"  They wonder, and rightfully so, if they couldn't buy or sell a home through the Internet or through regular marketing and advertising mediums without representation, without a real estate agent.   Some do OK; many do not. If you've wondered the same thing, here are 10 reasons why you might want to consider hiring a professional real estate agent.

1. Education & Experience

If you hire a real estate professional who does, you don't need to know everything about buying and selling real estate!  It has been said that when you hire people who are smarter than you are, it proves you are smarter than they are. The trick is to find the right person.  As they all cost the same for the most part, why not hire a person with more relevant education and experience than you? 

2. Agents act as Buffers

Agents take the tedium out of your property showings and visits.  If you're a buyer of new homes, your agent will stand between you and the developer’s agents, preventing them from hounding you to see their properties.  If you're a seller, your agent will filter all those phone calls that lead to nowhere from people who masquerade as buyers but have no real intention of buying.  Agents try to induce serious buyers to immediately write an offer.

3. Neighborhood Knowledge

Agents either possess intimate knowledge or they know where to find the latest industry word-on-the-street about your neighborhood. They can identify comparable sales and present these facts to you.  In addition, they can point you in the direction of where you can find more data to assist with making an informed decision.    

4. Price Guidance

Contrary to what some people believe, agents do not select prices for sellers or buyers. However, an agent will help guide their clients to make the right choices for themselves.  If a listing is at 5%, for example, an agent has a 5% vested interest in the sale, but the client has a 95% interest.  Based on market supply, demand and the conditions, the agent may suggest a negotiation strategy.

5. Market Conditions Information

Real estate agents can disclose market conditions, which will govern your selling or buying process. Many factors determine how you will proceed. Data such as the average per square foot cost of similar homes, median and average sales prices, and average days on the market, among other criteria, will have a huge bearing on what you ultimately decide to do.

6. Professional Networking

Real estate agents network with other professionals, many of whom provide services that you will need to buy or sell.   Due to legal liability, many agents will hesitate to recommend a certain individual or company over another, but they do know which vendors have a reputation for efficiency, competency and competitive pricing. However, agents can give you a list of references with whom they have worked and provide background information to help you make a wise selection decision.

7. Negotiation Skills & Confidentiality

Unlike most sellers and buyers, top producing agents negotiate well because they can remove themselves from the emotional aspects of the transaction.  And, because they are skilled -- it's part of their job description. Good agents are not messengers just delivering buyer's offers to sellers and vice versa.  They are professionals who are trained to present their client's case in the best light and agree to hold client information confidential from competing interests.

8. Handling Volumes of Paperwork

Plot plans, photographs, Town & Country Planning Permission, covenants, Residential Development documents, Condominium Association By-laws and related documents – these are all samples of documents needed to be on hand in order to answer relevant questions pertaining to a property. 

9. Answer Questions After Closing

Even the smoothest transactions that close without complications can come back to haunt one or both parties involved. For example, taxing authorities that collect property tax assessments, document stamps or transfer tax can fall months behind and mix up invoices. But, one call to your agent can straighten out the confusion. Many questions can pop up that were overlooked in the excitement of closing. Good agents stand by ready to assist. Worthy and honest agents don't leave you in the dust to fend for yourself.

10. Develop Relationships for Future Business

The basis for an agent's success and continued career in real estate is referrals.  Few agents would survive if their livelihood was dependent on consistently drumming up new business. Agents have a strong incentive to make sure that clients are happy and satisfied.  It also means that an agent who stays in the business will be there for you when you need to hire an agent again. Many agents will periodically mail updates and/or newsletters to you to keep you informed and to stay in touch.

With over 30 years experience in the Barbados Real Estate Industry, Ron Karp Realty Ltd. has an intimate knowledge of the local property market. Contact Ron Karp Realty Ltd. today and let one of our professional, friendly sales associates assist you with your current real estate needs!

 

What is MLS?

What is MLS®? – The Multiple Listing Service® is best described as a co-operative marketing system to ensure maximum exposure of properties for sale.  Fundamentally, it is a central registry of properties used by realtors to match buyers with properties for sale.  MLS® is a sophisticated computer database of properties indexed by price, location, type of home, number of bedrooms, amenities and so forth.  Most homes sold in the United States and Canada are sold via the MLS® systems operated by real estate associations across both countries.

The Advantages For Consumers – The major benefit of MLS® to consumers is that it allows the realtor to use his or her skills to full advantage.

 

The main obstacle for any seller is to find qualified, motivated buyers and the only way to overcome this is to match your home with the requirements of as many potential buyers as possible. The MLS® system cuts through the complexities, exposes your property to the people most likely to purchase it and makes sure you won’t waste your time showing your home to those who are not truly interested.

 

Multiple Listing Service

BEAVA and MLS

Which Real Estate Market is Best?

  

Hot, Cold or Neutral Markets 

How do you decide when to purchase or sell?  When most people decide to sell or buy a home, very few stop to take the temperature of the marketplace or wonder if the market is conducive to what they want to achieve.  That's because most folks tend to think of their home as a place to live and not as an investment. 

Buyer's Real Estate Markets

If you are considering purchasing a home, a buyer's market is the best financial market in which to buy.  Why?  Because there are more homes available for sale than buyers to purchase them.   Buyers have more homes to choose from, which increases the odds that they will find the right home at the right price.   

In a cold real estate market, serious sellers are often willing to negotiate. This means you can probably buy a home for less than list price. 

Signs of a Buyer’s Market

  • Inventory is high as compared to previous months / years.
  • More than six months of inventory is on the market.
  • Comparable sale prices are higher than active listing prices.
  • Fewer buyers are purchasing, resulting in lower closed sale numbers.
  • Median sales prices are declining.
  • Real estate ads are getting bigger.

For Sale signs are staying up longer, resulting in longer days on the market as properties take longer to sell.

Seller's Real Estate Markets

If you are a home owner who wants to sell a house, a seller's real estate market is the best financial market in which to sell.  Why?  Because there are more buyers than houses available to buy.

In a hot real estate market, serious buyers are often willing to pay more than list price. This means you can probably sell your home quickly and quite possibly for more than you ask for it.  If your market is sizzling hot, you might be able to demand that buyers waive appraisals and inspections, although it's always a good idea to let a buyer have a home inspection. 

Signs of a Seller’s Market

  • Inventory is very low as compared to previous months / years.
  • Less than six months of inventory is on the market.
  • Comparable sale prices are lower than active listing prices.
  • More buyers are purchasing, resulting in higher closed sale numbers.
  • Median sales prices are increasing.
  • Real estate ads are getting smaller.

For Sale signs are up for a few days before a pending or sold sign is attached.

Neutral Real Estate Markets

Neutral real estate markets are balanced. Typically, interest rates are affordable and the number of buyers and sellers in the marketplace are equalized.  The scales don't tip in either direction, meaning the market is normal without experiencing volatile swings.

Signs of a Neutral Market

  • Inventory is normal as compared to previous normal months / years.
  • Three to six months of inventory is on the market.
  • Comparable sale prices are close to active listing prices.
  • Sales numbers have stabilized.
  • Median sales prices are flattened.
  • Real estate advertising remains uniform.

For sale signs are replaced with pending or sold signs within 30 to 45 days.

Still not sure what the current conditions are telling you?  Then this is the time that you should contact Ron Karp Realty Ltd. and let one of our knowledgeable agents meet with you to answer your real estate questions.  With over 30 years experience in the Barbados Real Estate Industry, Ron Karp Realty Ltd. has an intimate knowledge of the local property market.  Let our local knowledge work for you!

Call one of our real estate agents today at +1.246.436.7440 or Email us at karpreal@karpreal.com

Whatever your Real Estate needs may be, whether it be Barbados Properties for Sale or Barbados Properties for Rent, Ron Karp Realty Ltd. is dedicated to offering a professional service with a personal touch.
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